WIT Press

Economic feasibility of passive strategies for energy efficient envelopes of mass-built housing in hot-dry climate


Free (open access)


Volume 6 (2021), Issue 2



Page Range

129 - 142

Paper DOI



WIT Press


K. D. Reyes-Barajas, R. A. Romero-Moreno, A. Luna-León, D. Olvera-García, C. Sotelo-Salas & G. Bojórquez-Morales


The building and construction industry represents 36% of the world’s final energy use and 39% of carbon emissions, while the residential sector is responsible for 22% of total energy consumption and 17% of carbon emissions. Therefore, energy consumption reduction measures are required by this sector, without affecting the living conditions of its occupants. In Baja California, Mexico, the more commonly used construction systems in mass-built housing are concrete block walls and cast in place insulated reinforced concrete roof deck. These systems negatively affect comfort conditions, especially in hot summer periods, and therefore increase energy consumption, particularly in areas with an hot-dry climate, such as Mexicali, Baja California. The objective of this article is to determine the cost-benefit of two passive design strategies applied in the housing envelope, which are thermal insulation and ventilated facade. A commercial model of mass-built housing was taken as a benchmark case. Building energy simulations were carried out with the Design Builder® program, whereby the performance of the house was evaluated without passive design strategies (benchmark case) and with applied strate- gies, that is, variations in thickness and position of the materials that make up the layers of the walls and roof. Additionally, the net present value (NPV) criterion was used to obtain the costs and benefits of the design strategies. The results show the differences in cooling demand, indoor operative temperature, and the total costs, in Mexican pesos, of the application of the strategies; the results show that there are significant energy savings, which contribute to reducing carbon emissions to the environment and provide economic savings for the user.


economic feasibility, energy efficient envelope, hot-dry climate, mass-built housing, passive strategies.