Off-campus UMass Amherst users: To download campus access dissertations, please use the following link to log into our proxy server with your UMass Amherst user name and password.

Non-UMass Amherst users: Please talk to your librarian about requesting this dissertation through interlibrary loan.

Dissertations that have an embargo placed on them will not be available to anyone until the embargo expires.


Access Type

Open Access Thesis

Document Type


Degree Program

Environmental Conservation

Degree Type

Master of Science (M.S.)

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded



Anthropogenic activities are responsible for the impact of global climate change because of burning fossil fuels releasing harmful gases into the environment. As a result, the global temperature has risen about 1.18 °C since 1880, causing the global sea level to rise by 178 mm over the past century. This is a threat to countries that are closer to the ocean, especially the low-lying countries such as the Maldives. It is predicted if the sea level keeps rising, most of these islands could be below sea level by 2030.

The Maldives has a tropical climate requiring cooling to achieve thermal comfort. Electricity is used to provide cooling which is generated by burning fossil fuels. Due to the need for more buildings and the effects of global warming, the demand for cooling has increased, ultimately increasing the emissions.

Therefore, this paper investigated the methods to minimize the building cooling demand by creating a building model of a school in Feydhoo, Addu City, Maldives using DesignBuilder software. Also, to analyze the potential of using solar technology in providing cooling for the building, a clean energy source reducing emissions. The base model of the building showed that annual electricity consumption for cooling would be about 200.14 MWh. Based on the base model, multiple building models were created to understand the best option that can lower the cooling demand of the building. The results showed that having a super-insulated timber construction could be a better option by using improved double-glazed low-E windows and an improved cooling system with a COP of 3.2. This lowered the cooling energy demand to about 103.71 MWh.

Based on these results, a solar thermal cooling system was simulated using Polysun software which shows that solar thermal collectors were not able to provide the required cooling to run the chiller system. Hence, another option was explored where DesignBuilder software was used to model a solar PV array system to provide cooling for the building. But by using a better air conditioning system (VRF system coupled with a DOAS) to provide fresh conditioned air into the building, improving the indoor air quality. The results showed that the new PV array system was able to provide the electricity required not for cooling but for other electrical requirements (total of 163.31 MWh). It also resulted in a surplus of 1 MWh of electricity exported to the utility grid, achieving a net-positive energy building.


First Advisor

Benjamin S. Weil

Second Advisor

Ho-Sung Kim

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.