Designing energy efficient and comfortable buildings requires harmonizing the complex interactions of architecture, construction and building service engineering. The building envelope has a particular importance, since it integrates many functions and has direct influence on indoor climate. Focusing on satisfaction of the user means that the indoor climate is a key for a holistic design approach. Only a satisfied user will not intervene with the designed energy concept or the indoor climate control; dissatisfaction results in multiple system interventions which may cause waste of energy and sometimes even damage to building envelope components. Satisfaction with the indoor environment also increases working productivity or enables effective recreation of residents. The paper deals with international research activities in the field of climate specific building design. Various comfort and energy monitoring surveys of office buildings as well as residential buildings provide substantial information about the occupants' behavior and their needs during specific situations under different outdoor climates. This information allows summarizing basic climate dependent design principles which architects should keep in mind during the early stages of the design process. It also helps to develop strategies aiming at reducing building energy demand and at the same time consider comfort aspects. The second part of this paper demonstrates application of the climate dependent design principles in a housing project in Dubai
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