Journal Article

Use of traditional passive strategies to reduce the energy use and carbon emissions in modern dwellings

S. Srivastav and P.J. Jones

in International Journal of Low-Carbon Technologies

Volume 4, issue 3, pages 141-149
Published in print September 2009 | ISSN: 1748-1317
Published online July 2009 | e-ISSN: 1748-1325 | DOI:
Use of traditional passive strategies to reduce the energy use and carbon emissions in modern dwellings

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In India, traditional values as well as the timeless way of building compact residential environments is now threatened by new and foreign influences from the Occident. These influences are incompatible with the climate of the country and traditional culture of its people. [Schoenauer N. 6000 Years of Housing. W.W. Norton, New York, 2000]

In the context of the worldwide concern for global warming and a need for reduced carbon emissions, increased energy efficiency, reduced waste and need for alternative sources of energy; this paper reviews passive design strategies that were used in the traditional buildings across India and assess their potential in modern design. This study offers a classification of vernacular environmental design traditions across the subcontinent based on the Koppen–Grieger climatic regions and a detailed study of thermal comfort in traditional and modern dwellings, in two of the eight regions, using environmental performance modelling. The results show that traditional passive techniques provide a high degree of comfort for a longer part of the day while potentially minimizing energy use. Some problems were identified in adopting the passive strategies to the present context. For example, there are limitations in the use of traditional building materials, such as, earth, but suitable alternatives with similar properties can be readily adapted to the same effect.

Keywords: passive design; tropical; vernacular; India; thermal comfort

Journal Article.  5668 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Energy Technology ; Environmental Sustainability

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