AREE - Aqaba Residence Energy Efficiency

The complete Experience

Prepared by Joud Khasawneh, Reviewed and Edited by Florentine Visser and Mohammad al-Asad, 2010

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The content of this report was developed with the help of the project architect and manager Florentine Visser.


The Aqaba Residence Energy Efficiency (AREE) project is an environmentally-friendly pilot project built in Aqaba's 9th District. This project encourages better design and construction practices that promote passive and active energy efficiency, water efficiency, and environmentally friendly construction materials and techniques. One of the main purposes of the project is to demonstrate the cost effectiveness of energy efficient design, construction techniques, and installations for a typical residential building, particularly in a hot, dry climate. 

The building is developed by the Emtairah Consulting Corporation Amman, Jordan, and was designed by Florentine Visser, a Dutch architect and consultant for sustainable designs, who specializes in hot climate areas. The design was based on one of the winning entries from the Aqaba Housing Competition,1 a design competition organized in 2004 by the Center for the Study of the Built Environment (CSBE).The engineering design is by Mohammad Abu-Afefeh in Aqaba. Construction began in early 2007 and was completed in June 2008. The cooling system was installed in May 2009.

The AREE building was selected by the EU-funded MED ENEC 2 project as one of 10 Pilot Projects that aim at promoting energy efficiency in buildings in the Mediterranean region.

The building accommodates 420 m² of residential space. The building focuses on reducing electricity costs for cooling, reducing water consumption, and reducing the environmental impact of construction materials where possible.This was achieved through careful consideration of the following aspects of the building construction process:

 1. Thoughtful design: The architectural design carefully considered issues of orientation, floor plan layout, architectural detailing, and the use of architectural features and landscaping to best utilize the natural forces of sun and wind to achieve passive heating and cooling, shading, and natural ventilation, as well as to minimize water consumption.

2. Building technology, construction techniques, and materials: Improved construction detailing and the use of insulation in walls and roofs help create a well-insulated building envelop and minimize the energy demands for indoor climate comfort. Energy costs related to the manufacture and transportation of building materials were also taken into account during the selection of those materials.

3. Electro-mechanical systems: the building applied technologies that range from the low-tech to the contemporary state of the art, and that optimize the use of renewable energy and water resources. These include the installation of an experimental solar powered cooling system, and the installation of a graywater recycling system. The installation of electricity generating photovoltaic panels was also considered. In addition, modern technologies that minimize energy and water consumption were used, as with energy efficient lighting fixtures and water saving fittings.

4. Building use – the behavioral aspect: The building occupants play an important role in achieving energy and water saving. This includes the operation of shading devices for windows and doors to block the hot sun, the operation of opening to achieve natural and night ventilation, the use of outdoor spaces, and setting indoor temperature controls. All these can provide a positive contribution to achieving energy savings. 

This report presents, in detail, the design considerations, construction techniques, and systems utilized in this building. The report will also share some of the challenges and lessons learned during the execution of the building. After its completion, the building was monitored for over a year to assess its energy performance, and a monitoring report was prepared. A summary of this monitoring report is provided at the end of this essay.

Click here to download full version of this report. (PDF format, file size 3.33 MB)


1 For additional information on the Aqaba Housing Competition, visit the Aqaba Housing Competition Announcment page on this website.

2 For additional information on the MED ENEC Project, see,