Biobased building system for rural tropics made from Oil Palm Trunk

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Abstract

The study is motivated by the abandonment of vernacular architecture in rural tropics, which has led to greater energy demand due to the higher embodied energy of construction materials and increased use of air conditioning. This research examines how and to what extent bioclimatic strategies in vernacular architecture of dwellings in a tropical monsoon climate can improve thermal comfort. A mixed-methods approach is used, including a qualitative analysis of three vernacular case-study examples and a quantitative simulation of the thermal performance of the three vernacular dwelling compared to a non-vernacular dwelling. Results show that bioclimatic strategies in vernacular architecture are highly dictated by the dominant characteristics of the climate, with a focus on solar shading, natural ventilation, and discharge of rainwater. The simulation results indicate that the non-vernacular building performs poorly in managing heat gain, with thermal comfort only reached in 56.7%, 56.3%, and 53.9% of the simulated instances. The vernacular building performs better than the non-building scenario in most cases, with the exception of Kerala. The study also found that the hourly and monthly plot of operative temperature and relative humidity of the three scenarios do not show any diurnal or seasonal differences from the effects concluded in the psychrometric charts. This is attributed to the tropical monsoon climate, which does not have distinct seasons or diurnal differences in temperature and can be considered quite constant. The research highlights the importance of considering the unique characteristics of a specific climate when