Optimizing Passive Strategies for Energy Demand Reduction in Cold Climate Residential Buildings: A Case Study in Tabriz, Iran





Cold climates, Energy demand, EnergyPlus, Passive strategy, Thermal insulation


The fast growth of the population is leading to an ever-increasing trend in energy consumption these days. In this regard, the construction industry is among the biggest consumers. Considering that most buildings are residential, energy optimization is essential, especially during the initial design phase. A practical way of building design with less energy demand is passive design methods. The importance of this issue is more visible in residential buildings in cold climates, which have the greatest temperature fluctuations. This study aims to investigate the energy demand of different passive strategies applied to a residential building in the cold climate of Tabriz, Iran and to select the most efficient design factor. The methodology is a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods. As the first step, considering the theoretical framework of the research, passive systems and the factors affecting building envelope thermal performance are determined. In the next step, EnergyPlus is used to analyze the application of the passive systems in the baseline model. All states are simulated separately in terms of the amount of heating and cooling energy demand and the results are presented in compareable graphs. In the third step, the strategy that has the greatest impact on reducing energy demand in cold-climate buildings is identified, and the most efficient alternative is presented through the analysis of different scenarios compared to the baseline model. This research reveals that heat loss through the envelope accounts for most of the energy demand, and thermal insulation plays an important role in reducing that loss. Also, different scenarios (materials, thickness and location) of thermal insulation were investigated. It shows that the optimal mode of thermal insulation in residential buildings in cold climates is to use polyurethane insulation with a thickness of 7 cm in the outer part of the building wall.


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Author Biographies

Mahya Ghouchani, Technical and Vocational University

Mahya GHOUCHANI is an architect engineering, researcher, inventor, and university lecturer.  She is inventor and passionate about creativity and innovation. Moreover, she is an INV member of the International Federation of Inventors’ Associations – IFIA. In 2013, she received her master’s degree in architectural engineering from Shahrood University, Iran, and since then has been working as an architectural designer and supervisor. In addition, she has written two books entitled "Principles of mosque design" and "Introduction to Architectural Design" in Persian.

Horre Todeh Kharman, University of Tehran

Horreh TODEH KHARMAN is a PhD candidate in Loughborough University in the UK. She studied Architecture at Tehran University for her bachelor's and master's degrees. She pursued higher education due to her interest in building physics and thermal preferences.


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How to Cite

Ghouchani, M., & Todeh Kharman, H. (2024). Optimizing Passive Strategies for Energy Demand Reduction in Cold Climate Residential Buildings: A Case Study in Tabriz, Iran . ICONARP International Journal of Architecture and Planning, 12(1), 211–233. https://doi.org/10.15320/ICONARP.2024.282