bioclimatic housing innovative designs for warm climates pdf
This is an extremely timely book as we grapple with the growing challenge of
staying cool in our buildings in a rapidly warming world. Alarm bells are now
ringing as the pace of climate change escalates and temperatures create
records on a daily basis around the world. 2005 was the hottest year in
Australia since records began in 1910.
Record temperatures swept across parts of South Asia, Southern Europe, North Africa and the south-western US, and long-term droughts are devastating the Horn of Africa, north-western US
and many parts of Australia. In 2005, these droughts also led to severe food shortages in a number of regions around the world.
Reports of such devastation seldom touch us deeply as designers. What
does make an impact is when these facts are translated into design criteria for
our buildings. When we hear of extreme temperatures experienced in cities
around the world – 55°C recorded in Kuwait city in 2005; 54°C in Karachi and
Basra; 52°C in Islamabad – we start to think about how we would keep people
cool indoors in such climates.
In the much cooler climates of Europe, in two weeks during July 2003,
temperatures soared to over a mere 40°C and over 35,000 people died there
of heat-related causes. These were largely the vulnerable elderly, in traditional
buildings that were no longer able to provide adequate cooling for their
occupants. Mankind can adapt to an extraordinary range of temperatures as a
species if we are given the time to do so; but the speed of these rises in
temperature is the real killing factor.
Global warming is now known to be speeding up. In 2005, global
temperatures were 0.75°C above the 1950 to 1980 average, and some sources
are now predicting that by 2026 this may increase to 2°C hotter than this
average. The only way in which we can cope with this level of climate change
is to adapt rapidly to living in a warmer world, and fundamental to this
adaptation in the built environment is the adoption of more effective, and
widely used, methods for passively cooling buildings.
Not only is the rising cost of energy a problem, perhaps least to those who could not afford air conditioning anyway, but the fact that the energy used to run these systems is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. We now have no option but to adapt the actual fabric of our buildings to withstand higher temperatures – hence, the importance of this book for all involved in the built environment.