AbstractThis work presents a field investigation and numerical simulation for studying the heat transmission through the walls of two specially designed test rooms exposed to the hot and arid summer climate of the coastal region of eastern Saudi Arabia. The walls of the reference room were constructed of typical hollow-core concrete blocks, while the walls of the second room were made of concrete blocks incorporating expanded polystyrene (EPS) panels. Both test rooms were equipped with thermocouples, heat flux meters, temperature/relative humidity sensors, and power meters that provided continuous measurements during the test period. Infrared scanning and U-value measurements were also performed, and a weather station installed at the site provided the meteorological data. The results of these measurements revealed that the walls made of the concrete blocks incorporating EPS panels have a heat flow resistance about 255% higher than that of the walls built of typical hollow-core concrete blocks. Similarly, the thermal transmittance was lower by about 65%. Accordingly, the second room displayed a reduction of 29% in energy consumption for providing the same level of thermal comfort during the summer months as compared with that in the reference room. Both test rooms were simulated using DesignBuilder software, and the simulation results were validated with the field monitoring data. In addition, parametric studies were subsequently carried out to evaluate the effectiveness of other insulation materials. It was found that the application of the reflective coating and insulating plaster over EPS concrete blocks could further improve the reduction of energy consumption to about 47%.

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