The deep hot hyperarid valley between Israel and Jordan presents unique design and construction challenges in terms of energy conservation and thermal comfort. Winters are relatively mild, summers are extremely hot during the day and at night the air temperature remains above 25°C. Such conditions present real challenges in this sparsely populated yet rapidly developing region. Such development depends on the ability to provide acceptable indoor environments at a low energy investment. Potential solutions were investigated through a parametric analysis including physical and operational elements aiming at establishing benchmarks for free running and low energy buildings under extreme conditions. First, building performance was simulated for a limited number of parameters. Additional operational and physical parameters were introduced and results compared. The data were analyzed to determine the best performing options for building assemblies.
Results of permutations investigated confirmed that simulated conventional building systems did not allow for free running operation and that mechanical systems for both heating and cooling were needed. This research concluded that it is imperative to extensively insulate building envelopes in order for them to be free running in the winter. Buildings need extensive shading in the transition seasons to allow for free running operation and avoid overheating. Buildings with complete shade, high efficiency window systems and levels of insulation above and beyond those currently employed when simulated with summer climate conditions had significantly lower energy consumption requirements for mechanical cooling than other building designs. The research showed that energy efficiency in this region is a function of particular combination of extensive insulation, full shade, high performance windows, air tight buildings and seasonal operation of window shutters utilized together.