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THERMAL COMFORT IN HOT AND HUMID CLIMATE

Summary by Shah Amir Ezham bin Ismail 0911625

In this particular writing of summary is only focusing on the issues of thermal comfort in hot and humid climate with the discussion of method of assessment the comfort level, the approaches to achieve thermal comfort in this particular climate, some findings together with the conclusion. Introduction Thermal comfort is a term which is used to describe the optimum comfort level of human in a space or outdoor whereby the body is able to function well without feeling any uncomfortable. It is somehow differs according to climate. Unfortunately, this crucial aspect of living is frequently neglected by architects nowadays, whereby the design of buildings was much focus on the aesthetical value rather than the quality of the spaces inside. As the consequence, a lot of after-thought thinking and approaches were applied to solve the uncomfortable feeling and quality of the spaces. As a Muslim architect, the quality of the spaces, the function including the comfort level of the space must be the main consideration to design a space. Aesthetical value comes later due to its function is just to please the eyes. Issues The issues started when many factors of gaining thermal comfort were neglected such as building orientation, building materials and spatial organization. Type of activity in a space including the total number of the users is also some of the great roles which should be considered in achieving thermal comfort but seems to be neglected as well. Although some of the issues are the results from architectural factors, it cant be denied that the climatic change (in this case, the increasing of the temperature due to global warming) also affects the level of thermal comfort. The other issue which is also directly connected to this topic is the solution to achieve thermal comfort, which some prefer to use mechanical approaches only but some prefer to manipulate passive design together with minor helps of the mechanical means. Finding Many researches were done to evaluate and to discuss the most relevant ideas in approaching thermal comfort especially in hot and humid climate such as Malaysia. One of the examples is the thermal comfort evaluation done by the Department of Mechanical Engineering of Universiti Tenaga Nasional Malaysia. The method used to evaluate the level of thermal comfort in their study at Aminuddin Baki

Secondary School is by using survey form. The school area is surrounded by heavy vegetations and big trees. From the result, they came into conclusion that neutral temperature (not hot and not cold in case of Sekolah Aminuddin Baki, the min temperature is 27.6c) is majorly accepted and with the existing approach of passive design (heavy vegetation at surrounding), a slight mechanical means to cool down the termperature such as ceiling fan is enough to satisfy the users. On the second example, a research was done in urban space by the Department of Architecture and Environmental Design, International Islamic University of Malaysia, where the plazas surrounded by tall buildings at Kuala Lumpur were chosen as the designated area for the experiment. As expected, the shadow of the adjacent building, together with the orientation plays great role in reducing excess heat from the surrounding. The conclusion made was the most favorable orientation is the combined diagonal position of Northwest-Southeast and Northeast-Southwest while the most favorable geometry is the plaza underneath a building. Discussion From the empirical experimental proves which has been discussed earlier, it is proven that although in a hot and humid climate, thermal comfort still can be achieved with a very minimal mechanical approach. It also proves that by neglecting passive design elements will somehow create uncomfortable feelings, and will lead to the usage of many mechanical means in order to achieve thermal comfort, although the cost of applying them can be cut down by considering passive design elements at the first place. On the other hand, the usage of mechanical approach such as air conditioning can affect the environment and the moreover, it provides unhealthy air for the users. Although some building has neglected passive design elements, but it still can be improved a bit, for instance, by having more shading device for every opening that is exposed to direct sunlight, planting more vegetations, and by adding a bit of mechanical means such as suction fan to suck heat from the building and to gain cool wind from the outside. Conclusion Thermal comfort must be one of the main considerations in planning and designing.

Furthermore, passive design is the best approach of achieving thermal comfort. In the other hand, mechanical means can be used to gain thermal comfort, but minimal use of it is the best way. Quality space is the space which provides healthy and comfortable ambiance, without neglecting its function and aesthetical value.