Adaption of a tropical passive house as holistic approach


  • Karl Wagner



building resilience and adaptability, energy efficient building materials, climate change, thermal comfort, testing of passive houses


Several attempts have been made in tropical countries to conduct green mock-up research on which parameters can better withstand the heat and humidity: Walls, windows, roofs, and even shadings have been tested in mainly so-called contrived experiments. The challenge of a tropical "holistic" Passive building is to bring ALL those relevant parameters into play in different seasonal and weather situations whilst expelling the interference of the hot outside air. In principle, this is happening anyway for most commercial buildings and Passive Houses in all other hemispheres alike, but it is not common for tropical residential building strategies. The author refers back to a database of 250 days from a suburban area in Malaysia. Data out of 4 typically hot months in the year 2017 in detail with 3 adjacent real mini-residential Passive and 1 "red" House(s) with the same positioning for ambient temperature and the most vulnerable part of the building envelope which is the window were cross-examined. The well insulated, basically almost airtight and optimum shaded building with ventilation performed cooler in almost all cases during the rainy season and the increasing number of transition periods. Without aircon and due to the lack of a moisture barrier it remained humid, but with no harm for occupants and the building envelope. The Passive holistic design will work best i.e. energy efficiently in a combination of a) nighttime active usage of green cooling (i.e. cross ventilation or water-based cooling ceilings). During b) daytime, among other related modules looked in, cooling is based upon passive envelope features PLUS shading. For various reasons, compared to buildings in the colder hemisphere (such as tropical thin building envelope and no triple glazing required), the payback of the Tropical Mass Residential Passive House comparing OPEX and CAPEX is reasonable with 5-6 years.