Aecom designs ambitious eco villa for Qatar


Aecom has unveiled plans for an ambitious eco project in Qatar, involving the construction of a super energy-efficient house and a conventional villa as a point of comparison.

The project ‘Qatar Case Study Passivhaus Project’ involves collaboration between Kahramaa, Qatar Green Building Council (QGBC), Barwa Real Estate (BRE).

With architectural and engineering services provided by Aecom, the broad intention is create a building standard for Qatar that is truly energy efficient and economically viable.


As the conventional villa serves as a tangible point of comparison, and the basis for a number of targets for the eco-villa. These include a 50% reduction in annual operational energy consumption, and a reduction in annual water consumption by 50%, as well as halving annual operational CO2 emissions.

In addition, it needs to accomplish the above performance criteria for no more than 15-20% of the capital cost of the conventional villa.

The two villas are as similar as possible in terms of size and design but the Passivhaus villa is being constructed to acknowledge standards recognised and eventually to be certified by the Passivhaus Institute.

The Passivhaus concept originated in Germany and has been adopted across Europe. While the basic principles of designing and building a Passivhaus remain the same across the world, the details have been tailored to suit the specific climatic conditions of the Qatar region.

Extensive energy modelling studies have been carried out to understand the impacts of this form of construction to clearly define the reduction in energy consumption of this type of building.

Two demonstration villas are currently being constructed on a vacant site close to a newly built kindergarten within Barwa City in Doha.

The conventional villa is being constructed to an established BRE specification that is likely to be the equivalent of a GSAS one star rating in terms of energy/CO2 consumption/emissions.

Both villas are being constructed using materials that have minimal environmental impact and where possible materials and products that are manufactured, either within Qatar or the GCC region are being used.

It is also anticipated that a range of low carbon technologies will be also be deployed within the Passivhaus and their performance tested throughout the experimental occupancy period.

The design of the villas is approximately 200m2 and based on the existing three bedroom apartment designed for the Barwa City project, and are planned to be occupied by two similar families, each with at least one child for at least one year.

Prior to inhabitation, the two houses will go through a period of commissioning, calibration and monitoring without inhabitation that will extend into the cooling season with at least one month with high humidity i.e. from July onwards.  Thereafter, the two selected families will inhabit the houses.

It is intended that the occupants will inhabit the houses with no prior training of how to minimise energy and water consumption and with no prior education about the environmental principles that underlie the development of the experiment.

After a period of monitoring to establish regular base energy and water consumption patterns, an intense educational and operational training package will be delivered to both families and thereafter the changes in their behaviour will be monitored.

The families will also be provided with feedback and targets and it is anticipated that efficacy of various incentives will be tested.

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