Improving thermal comfort of earthen dwellings in sub-Saharan Africa with passive design
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Earthen architecture historically has been widely used for wall construction around the world, particularly in developing countries. Most of the earthen dwellings in Burkina Faso are built traditionally with adobe walls. This construction technique is low-cost but it is easily eroded by water and often lacks satisfactory thermal comfort. In this work an alternative low-cost earthen construction system, the earthbag technique is presented and combined with passive design measures to assess the improvements in thermal comfort. Inspired in a real domeshape earthbag dwelling constructed in a Medical Training Center in Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso), free-floating building energy simulations were performed for both the traditional adobe Burkinabe dwelling and the earthbag dwelling using EnergyPlus. Besides free-floating direct temperature results, two indicators of annual comfort were used, namely the hours of discomfort and the discomfort degree days. ASHRAE Standard 55 Adaptive Comfort model was used to assess comfort conditions. Results show that the combination of night ventilation and roof solar protection in the high-inertia earthbag building leads to an almost total elimination of thermal discomfort during the year (only 209 h not meeting adaptive comfort and 3.1 ºC-days of discomfort). The same combination of passive measures in the traditional Burkinabe dwelling improves significantly thermal comfort when compared to the base case, but it is not as effective in providing comfort, with more than 3000 h and 200 degree-days of annual discomfort.
Is part ofJournal of Building Engineering, 2019, núm. 24
European research projects
Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as cc-by-nc-nd (c) Rincón et al., 2019
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