Passive cooling house tips for tropical climates

Here’s a very handy fact sheet made by the Australian government, that “examines ways to design and modify homes to achieve summer comfort through passive cooling”. It lists the following climate-specific design principles we should take note of in coming up with our Nuvali home designs:

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In high humid (tropical) climates:

  • High humidity levels limit the body’s ability to lose heat by evaporation of perspiration.
  • Sleeping comfort is a significant issue – especially during periods of high humidity.
  • Design eaves and shading to permanently exclude solar access to rooms. [See: 4.4 Shading]
  • Consider shading the whole building with a fly roof. [See: 4.4 Shading]
  • Maximise shaded external wall areas and exposure to (and funneling of) cooling breezes through the building.
  • Use single room depths where possible with maximum shaded openings to enhance cross ventilation and heat removal.
  • Design unobstructed cross ventilation paths.
  • Provide hot air ventilation at ceiling level for all rooms with spinnaways, shaded opening clerestorey windows or ridge vents.
  • Shade outdoor areas around the house with planting and shade structures to lower ground temperatures.
  • Use insulation solutions that minimise heat gain during the day and maximise heat loss at night. Advanced reflective insulation systems and reflective air spaces can be effective.
    [See: 4.8 Insulation Installation]
  • Choose windows with maximum opening areas (louvres or casement) and avoid fixed glass panels.
  • Include ceiling fans to create air movement during still periods.
  • Consider using whole of house fans with smart switching to draw cooler outside air into the house at night when there is no breeze.
  • Use low thermal mass construction generally. (Note: high mass construction can be beneficial in innovative, well considered design solutions).
  • Use planting design to funnel cooling breezes and filter strong winds. (Appropriate in all cooling climates).

Read more on  Found on Sustainable Living Philippines (which is also a good page to bookmark).

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