Alternative materials for desert buildings: A comparative life cycle energy analysis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


This study examines the potential life-cycle energy savings that may be achieved by combining an innovative alternative building material and a bioclimatic approach to building design under the distinctive environmental conditions of a desert region. A residential building in the Negev region of Israel is used as a model for the assessment. Designed with a number of climatically-responsive design strategies and conventional concrete-based materials, the building was energy-independent in terms of summer cooling and had only modest requirements for winter heating. As a second step to the assessment, the integration of an alternative building material based on industrial waste and local raw materials in the building's walls was considered through thermal simulation. The alternative materials are produced through a process developed to make productive utilization of fly-ash from oil shale and coal combustion. Material properties were analyzed using laboratory specimens, and it was established that high-quality building components could be produced using the developed technological procedure with standard manufacturing equipment. The consumption of both embodied and operational energy was analyzed over the building's useful life span, and this life-cycle analysis showed the clear advantage of integrating alternative materials in a building under environmental conditions in a desert environment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)144-155
Number of pages12
JournalBuilding Research and Information
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2007


  • Alternative materials
  • Climatic design
  • Desert
  • Embodied energy
  • Energy efficiency
  • Life cycle analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction


Dive into the research topics of 'Alternative materials for desert buildings: A comparative life cycle energy analysis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this