GRM 2010 GRM 2011

Abstract Details

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Title of Paper:
Designing New Prototypes for Energy-Efficient Houses in Oman. Two Case Studies.
Paper Proposal Text :
project eco house: GUtech Eco House Team: Nikolaus Knebel, Aurel von Richthofen, Martin Werminghausen and GUtech students
project social housing: Nikolaus Knebel, Wilfried Hofmann

Oman is a very young society with about half the population under the age of 21. Providing adequate and affordable housing for this future generation is becoming a central challenge for the country.

The current policy of distributing one plot of 600sqm to every citizen older than 23 (21) years creates a strong social cohesion between government and people. However, it also leads to a settlement pattern of low-density suburbs with freestanding villas. This is obviously the most energy-consuming pattern for cities and houses especially in a harsh climate like in Oman. This discrepancy between climate and building practices can only be kept up with high subsidies for electricity and fuel. But even despite these subsidies the utility costs are still a major factor in the private household budget. Lower income families often cannot even afford to pay their electricity bills. So, other than in many countries, in Oman, it is not so much the question of access to the housing market and the availability of housing loans and grants, but rather the running costs that determine affordability.

The only way out of this dilemma is a change in the design of buildings. Two case studies for energy efficient houses will be presented and discussed: first, a design entry for the 'Oman Eco Friendly House Competition' developed by a team from the German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech) (Knebel, Richthofen, Werminghausen and GUtech students), and second, a design study for a new prototype for social housing in Oman developed by Nikolaus Knebel (GUtech) & Wilfried Hofmann (bauplus partners). The two projects will show how on different levels of budgets, energy efficiency can be achieved through passive and active design features.