MED-ENEC - Energy Efficiency in the Construction Sector in the Mediterranean


External cooperation programmes - European Commission

Pilot Project Algeria

Rural low-energy house in Algiers with 80 m² floor space, 3 bedrooms, 1 kitchen, 1 bathroom and lavatories, all on ground level. Energy efficiency measures include the use of local building materials and solar energy.


Centre National d''études et Recherches Intégrées du Bâtiment (CNERIB)


Centre de Développement des Energies Renouvelables (CDER)



PP Algeria


The main purpose of this project is to build a pilot residential 80 m² rural house suitable for replication within the framework of Algeria''s rural housing program (450.000 rural houses) from 2005-2009 and beyond in the rural areas all over the country in order to keep rural populations in place and to encourage their return from urban areas.

The energy concept is based on an optimal insulation of the envelope, the use of the solar energy and of earth stabilized bricks.

The objective is to reduce energy consumption during the entire lifetime of the house including the construction phase. Therefore, local materials were selected to build the house in order to reduce energy consumption as well for the production and transport of the materials.


The pilot project allows reducing energy consumption by more than 50% compared to a conventional building. However, with a more than 40% higher investment cost and due to heavily subsidized energy in Algeria, the pay back time is with more than 60 years not economically feasible. Only when taking into account typical energy prices for the region the project becomes an economically viable solution.


Main technical features of the Pilot Project

The energy concept to be followed in this project is based on an integrated approach, taking into account all the thermal transfers between the environment and the house considered as a whole. The environmental impact will be lowered by taking the following measures:

Basic measures with high / moderate cost efficiency:

  • optimal orientation
  • thermal insulation of the envelope
  • use of earth stabilised bricks (adobe)
  • double glazed windows
  • use of natural light
  • summer shading
  • natural ventilation in summer
  • solar thermal with gas back-up boiler for domestic hot water

Additional measures

  • solar thermal system supports also heating

Main results of the Pilot Project

The Pilot Project allows reducing the energy consumption by 56%, compared to a conventional building.

A specific feature of the pilot project is the use of local building materials, e.g. adobe bricks (compressed earth with a low content of cement). This reduces costs of the building as well as energy consumption for the production and transport of the materials. In addition, the bricks have good insulation and bio-climatic properties.

Due to the very low energy prices in Algeria, the pay-back of the pilot project is not attractive (68 years). Even when taking into consideration reduced costs through learning and scale effects in a large building program and by selecting only the most cost-efficient technologies, the project is still not feasible. (re. graph 1)

Graph 1:


However, when realizing the "replicable solution", there are significant benefits for the country in form of higher energy export potential or reduced need for building new power plants. Considering these benefits, the rural low-income buildings become a profitable investment for the state. (re. graph 2)

Graph 2:


Supporting material

Algeria PP in progress, click here for an overview.

Download the article (English version) on algerian PP published on EURO MED Info Centre here.

Download the article (French version) on algerian PP published on EURO MED Info Centre here.

Download PP Poster Algeria here.

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