Urbanization, technological advancements, and lifestyle changes result in varying use of energy consumption throughout a building's life cycle. Building materials play a significant role in determining the energy efficiency of a structure, making it crucial to assess its energy consumption. The goal of the study is to investigate the relationship between building materials and energy efficiency and to assess their impact on interior cooling in Nigerian residential buildings, to provide insights and recommendations for optimizing energy performance and enhancing thermal comfort. The study relied on literature reviews, a case study, simulation and energy performance analysis of a typical three-bedroom apartment in three main distinct climatic zones of Nigeria to investigate the impact of building materials on energy efficiency and indoor cooling. The psychometric chart emphasised the importance of sun shading, dehumidification, and cooling (with potential humidification) for achieving thermal comfort while the advanced simulation capabilities of the DesignBuilder software provided valuable insights revealing that in Maiduguri, Minna and Lagos, the use of insulations on the building fabric and shaders resulted in a remarkable 37.9%, 33.4%, 27.6% reduction in the annual cooling load, and leading to a decrease of 4549 kWh, 4122 kWh, 3280 kWh, electricity consumption annually respectively. The study findings emphasize the importance of selecting energy-efficient building materials and implementing effective design strategies to enhance thermal comfort and reduce energy consumption. By implementing the recommended strategies, substantial energy savings can be achieved, resulting in reduced electricity consumption, cost savings, improved comfort and contributing to the advancement of sustainable building practices in Nigeria and beyond.