PhD success for Mai Khalfan

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Mai Khalfan

Many congratulations to Mai Khalfan for being awarded her PhD in June 2017. Mai’s thesis was entitled ‘An assessment of the Passivhaus standard for a hot and arid climate: a case study in Qatar’ and her research represented the first study of a house built to the Passivhaus standard in the Gulf region.

Passivhaus is a well-established European energy efficient standard, and its success has attracted the attention of architects and engineers from around the world. Qatar built the first Passivhaus project in the Middle East, and the objective of Mai’s PhD study was to test the environmental performance of the Passivhaus Standard in a hot and arid climate. The performances of a standard villa and the Qatar Passivhaus villa were analyzed using the IES building performance simulation tool. Annual hourly monitored temperature and energy data from the two villas were also analyzed and compared to the predicted performance. The findings indicated a consistent and more uniform level of comfort in the Passivhaus model compared to the standard base model. Additionally, the cooling energy requirements to achieve comfort in the Passivhaus villa could frequently be met by the villa’s own on-site renewable energy photovoltaic system. Initial findings suggest that the Passivhaus standard is potentially viable in a hot and arid climate.

Mai’s paper at the 2016 International Conference on Sustainable Built Environment in Dubai (Khalfan M and Sharples S Thermal comfort analysis for the first Passivhaus in Qatar) was the winner of the Best Paper in Conference award.