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Assessing impact of material transition and thermal comfort models on embodied and operational energy in vernacular dwellings (India)

Praseeda, KI and Mani, Monto and Reddy, Venkatarama BV (2014) Assessing impact of material transition and thermal comfort models on embodied and operational energy in vernacular dwellings (India). In: 4th International Conference on Advances in Energy Research (ICAER), DEC 10-12, 2013, Mumbai, INDIA, pp. 342-351.

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/ 10.1016/j.egypro.2014.07.277


Vernacular dwellings are well-suited climate-responsive designs that adopt local materials and skills to support comfortable indoor environments in response to local climatic conditions. These naturally-ventilated passive dwellings have enabled civilizations to sustain even in extreme climatic conditions. The design and physiological resilience of the inhabitants have coevolved to be attuned to local climatic and environmental conditions. Such adaptations have perplexed modern theories in human thermal-comfort that have evolved in the era of electricity and air-conditioned buildings. Vernacular local building elements like rubble walls and mud roofs are given way to burnt brick walls and reinforced cement concrete tin roofs. Over 60% of Indian population is rural, and implications of such transitions on thermal comfort and energy in buildings are crucial to understand. Types of energy use associated with a buildings life cycle include its embodied energy, operational and maintenance energy, demolition and disposal energy. Embodied Energy (EE) represents total energy consumption for construction of building, i.e., embodied energy of building materials, material transportation energy and building construction energy. Embodied energy of building materials forms major contribution to embodied energy in buildings. Operational energy (OE) in buildings mainly contributed by space conditioning and lighting requirements, depends on the climatic conditions of the region and comfort requirements of the building occupants. Less energy intensive natural materials are used for traditional buildings and the EE of traditional buildings is low. Transition in use of materials causes significant impact on embodied energy of vernacular dwellings. Use of manufactured, energy intensive materials like brick, cement, steel, glass etc. contributes to high embodied energy in these dwellings. This paper studies the increase in EE of the dwelling attributed to change in wall materials. Climatic location significantly influences operational energy in dwellings. Buildings located in regions experiencing extreme climatic conditions would require more operational energy to satisfy the heating and cooling energy demands throughout the year. Traditional buildings adopt passive techniques or non-mechanical methods for space conditioning to overcome the vagaries of extreme climatic variations and hence less operational energy. This study assesses operational energy in traditional dwelling with regard to change in wall material and climatic location. OE in the dwellings has been assessed for hot-dry, warm humid and moderate climatic zones. Choice of thermal comfort models is yet another factor which greatly influences operational energy assessment in buildings. The paper adopts two popular thermal-comfort models, viz., ASHRAE comfort standards and TSI by Sharma and Ali to investigate thermal comfort aspects and impact of these comfort models on OE assessment in traditional dwellings. A naturally ventilated vernacular dwelling in Sugganahalli, a village close to Bangalore (India), set in warm - humid climate is considered for present investigations on impact of transition in building materials, change in climatic location and choice of thermal comfort models on energy in buildings. The study includes a rigorous real time monitoring of the thermal performance of the dwelling. Dynamic simulation models validated by measured data have also been adopted to determine the impact of the transition from vernacular to modern material-configurations. Results of the study and appraisal for appropriate thermal comfort standards for computing operational energy has been presented and discussed in this paper. (c) 2014 K.I. Praseeda. Published by Elsevier Ltd.

Item Type: Conference Proceedings
Series.: Energy Procedia
Additional Information: Copyright for this article belongs to the ELSEVIER SCIENCE BV, SARA BURGERHARTSTRAAT 25, PO BOX 211, 1000 AE AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS
Department/Centre: Division of Mechanical Sciences > Civil Engineering
Date Deposited: 18 Jan 2015 06:44
Last Modified: 18 Jan 2015 06:44
URI: http://eprints.iisc.ac.in/id/eprint/50695

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