Vernacular Approach Passive Design Strategy to Achieve an Optimum Cooling Effect in Belum Rainforest

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Vernacular approach passive design strategy to achieve an optimum cooling effect in Belum Rainforest


The purpose of doing a study of vernacular approach passive design strategy to achieve an optimum cooling effect in Belum Rainforest is to understand how the past architecture styles can gives us an indication of effective passive design strategies to improve the standard of living within a home by providing a structure that is more energy efficient and comfortable. In assisting the validation of research, literature reviews based on the vernacular architecture passive design were conducted to enhance the process. First of all, the orientation on the site is very important to approach a good passive design onto the building. From the case study at Belum Rainforest Resort, the buildings are orientated in a very systematic arrangement. Buildings are placed repetitive with a consistent distance to allow sufficiency wind flows into the building. Apart from this, shaded the outdoor area with planting and provide the shading on the building to lower the ground temperature. Besides, planting design can function as funnel cooling breezes and filter the strong winds. The building layout, for example the window design, orientation of the opening and shading, roof venting, raise the building in stilts, provided the evaporative cooling system and the materials used on a building is important because those design strategies would influence the ventilation and achieve optimum cooling effect inside the building. In conclusion, a standard passive design is one that uses non-energized design features to make the building climate responsive. It is important to note that the optimum result can not usually be achieved by using just one strategy because the strategies would work best when an integrated approach is used.

1.0 Overview of Belum Rainforest Resort

The Belum Rainforest Resort is located in the midst of tropical paradise, Pulau Banding, Perak. Belum Rainforest is one of Malaysia's premier ecotourism holiday destinations. It is a nature lovers getaway destination where can being close to the nature because it was surrounded by a beautiful lake view and jungle. It accomplishes the environment with stunning views, adventure, relaxation and serenity. Belum Rainforest Resort provide an opportunity for the nature lovers to experience the beauty and mystery of the vast jungle, observe the beauty of the flora and fauna and be intoxicated in the nature beauty scenery that can be found rarely in somewhere else. Belum Rainforest Resort make up the rural landscape become more interesting and attractive with the vernacular architecture building which is the old wing vernacular resort (phase 1), Kampung House and the new wing modernism resort (phase 2). Vernacular architecture approach passive design in their decoration, choice of materials used and their size and form to achieve an optimum cooling effect in the building.

In this paper will study about how vernacular approach of passive design strategy to achieve an optimum cooling effect in Belum Rainforest Building.

  1. What is the requirement for Vernacular architecture to approach passive design?
  2. How does the orientation of the building influence the ventilation and cooling effect inside the building.
  3. How does the vernacular approach passive design strategy influence the ventilation to achieve optimum cooling effect in the building?
  4. How do the materials help to achieve the cooling effect in the building?
  5. What is the similarity and differences of passive design in the old wing resort (phase 1) and new wing resort (phase 2) in Belum Rainforest Resort?

2.0 Requirement for Vernacular architecture to approach passive design

Natural and passive methods approaching on a building is essential to make an indoor environment comfortable with maintaining a low temperature range in a building. An optimum design house is not only designed base on their occupants for various practical demands but yet for a comfortable indoor environment. In vernacular architecture, it simplest form of addressing human needs is successfully achieve a sustainable building with those natural and passive methods and yet it also embracing the regionalism and cultural building traditions, providing the structure more energy efficient.

In traditional way, a vernacular architecture building was been built with the natural resources around the site and have to make sure that those materials application would giving a good responsive to the climate to make the indoor environment comfortable. Besides that, orientation of the building is considerable to make the building takes the advantages of climatic features such as sun and cooling breezes. Orientation of the building is the basic application for a sustainable and passive design decides the building layouts, window design, shading and etc.

3.0 Building Orientation influence the ventilation and cooling effect inside the building

Orientation of the building, on of the basic passive design strategic should be consider on the site because it is very important to reducing the energy consumption and providing the building environment comfortable. A good orientation of a building can help to reduce the building heat gain and provided a good ventilation and cooling effect onto the building. Because of the sun rises on the east and sets in the west, all the buildings in Belum Rainforest Resort was orientated their long façade to the North and South direction and short façade to the east and west direction with a very systematic arrangement for example every single of the Kampung House and the phase 2 resort are facing their entrance and living room on the North direction and having an enclosed façade on the west to prevent the building maximum exposure to the sunlight. There will be a long roof shading on the east and west façade of the building while the north and the south façade will be decorated with short rood shading. Most of the opening would be placed on the north and south direction due to the passive design strategic to prevent the building most of the time was been exposed to the sunlight and also it can help to reduce the heat gain of the building. In others way, the buildings are placed repetitive with a consistent distance to allow sufficiency wind flows into the building. To achieve high natural ventilation inside the building, opening should face on the strong wind direction. For example, more opening was been placed on the North East direction due to most of the time there have strong natural winds blows towards.

Due to the topography of Belum Rainforest Resort which is an island surrounded by the rainforest, the surrounding mountain was reclaimed as the higher topography compare to the lower topography which is the location of Belum Rainforest Resort. Thus, the higher topography helps to block the sun irradiate to the lower topography when the sunset. In regardless of the site contrast, the mountain was acted as a shading to benefit the Belum Rainforest.

4.0 Vernacular approach passive design strategy influence the ventilation to achieve optimum cooling effect in the building.

Based on this topic, the method of vernacular approach passive design strategy influence the ventilation to achieve optimum cooling effect in the building of Belum Rainforest Resort would be discussed. There are some of the vernacular design strategy could be applied on the building to cooling down the building such as the evaporative cooling system, gable roof venting, roof stack ventilation, vast opening, building raise in stilts and the overhang for the shading.

4,1 Evaporative cooling system

To achieve a comfortable environment, evaporative cooling system is one of the ways to make the surrounding environment cooler with the evaporated water vapor in the surrounding air. For example, in Belum Rainforest Resort, we can found there is pond and swimming pool been decorated in the courtyard outside the resort. As the water evaporated, approximately 2500 J of heat energy is consumed. It wet the surrounding building and the water extract the heat from its surrounding area to make the surrounding cooler. Evaporative cooling system is suitable to proceed outside the building instead of inside the building especially is our country which is a very hot and humid to avoid the elevating of inside building humidity.

4.2 Stack Ventilation and Roof Ventilator

Stack ventilation normally will be happening in the vernacular architecture house with the function of ventilate the interior and trapped the hot air underneath the roof and then reduce the heat gain inside the building. The air movement normally is from the high density area of air to a less density of air. The ventilator roof joints or the Malay funnels shaped roof at each gable end allowed the hot air rises with buoyancy inside the building and is infiltrated out thus the temperature inside the building could be lower down and achieve a cooling effect inside the building.

On the other hand, roof vent also could be found in the vernacular architecture house. Due to the Phase 1 Resort in Belum Rainforest Resort is design base on the vernacular architecture style, the rectangular gable roof vent hole was been founded near to the peak of the roof. The passive gable roof vent function effective as the natural air can flow in and out to the building.

4.3 Opening

Vast fenestration is very essential for a building. It plays an important role for wind circulation from outside to inside of the building. To achieve a good passive design building, the orientation of the opening is very important. Vast fenestration should be layout on the north and south façade of the building to prevent most of the interior surface area of the building been exposed to the sunlight. In Belum Rainforest, most of the north and south building façade are designed with operable vast fenestration such as the opening of restaurant in Phase 1 resort and the Kampung house. Those operable opening helps to reduce the energy consumption in the building and brings the natural ventilation into the building. There is also some kind of inoperable fenestration from the Phase 1 Resort at Belum Rainforest Resort. The inoperable bamboo fenestration design act as a shading on the building façade and in the same time it is also an opening with could allowed the ventilation flow into the building.

4.4 Stilt Building

Stilts building are the building which is raised up by piling over the soil to the building ground floor. It is one of the characteristic of vernacular architecture style. Primarily, stilts house is used to prevent house been flooded by water and prevent the wild animal such as rat or snack to climb up to the building. In addition, stilt building also present well itself in passive cooling design with the method of wind flows under the building ground floor. The good ventilation system enable the hot been exchange with the cold air and thus it keep the building ground floor cooler all of the time. By the same token, because the soil under the building all of the time was been shaded and less exposed to sunlight, it keep the ground floor with low temperature and make the building environment less with heat gain.

The bar & kitchen which connected with the Phase 1 Resort and the Kampung House in Belum Rainforest Resort was been designed with stilt. Those building are full fill the requirement of vernacular architecture passive design style not only with the application of aesthetic traditional design but also with their passive design strategic for example lower down the temperature of the ground floor building to achieve an optimum cooling effect into the building.

4.5 Overhang Roof

Overhang roof is the most simple and most obvious technologies for saving energy to keeping the building surrounding cool in the summer. Overhang Roof is part of roof that extends beyond the walls. It functions as a roof shading to protect the façade of the building been maximum expose to the solar radiation. Larger overhang roof will be occurred in the east and west building façade while the north and south façade decorated with smaller overhang due to the position of the sun rise and sun set.

4.6 Shading by tree and Vegetation

Planting a lot of trees on our surrounding area is the most beneficial because planting can make our environment beauty and nicer, provided shading to our environment which can reduce the amount of sunlight penetrating into our building, improve the surrounding air quality which can help to filter the harmful air and provide oxygen to make our surrounding fresh. In Belum Rainforest, trees was been planted in the surrounding of the building. The plantation make the surrounding looks very aesthetic and full of poetic feeling when walking through under the trees. Most importantly, those plantation plays an important role to protect the building been highly exposed to the sunlight. It acts as a shading of the building to lower the temperature of the building and the ground temperature and also can be used to filter the cooling breezes and strong winds.

  1. Sustainable materials helps to achieve the cooling effect in the building

Selection of environmental friendly construction materials is one of the essential design strategies in order to build a sustainable building, addition to achieve a standard cooling effect in a building. Green building materials have lightened the footprint of any construction project as they have lower energy consumption compare to others non-sustainable materials. Green building materials include bamboo, wood, rocks or stones and sand which can be found naturally on earth, and also the use of recycled materials, for instance, bottles, bricks, steel and the like. These green and harmless building materials are non-toxic, reusable, and able to regenerate and have a highly durable. Bamboos, wood, which are both the existing materials on the Belum Rainforest Resort are been used as a wall, shading or barrier. The reason why bamboo and wood been chosen to use for the building material because the energy embedded in their transportation can be minimize and extracted and manufactured locally the building materials to the building site.

In Belum Rainforest Resort, bamboo is been used as a wall, barrier and shading. The arrangement of the bamboo as a barrier or shading giving a high efficiency allowed the outside ventilation smoothly flow into the building and by the same time the sunlight can slightly penetrating into the building. for example, in the old wing resort, every single window from the resort is been shaded with row of bamboo. It brings the advantages to the building which the energy consumption on the building could be reduced. In addition, bamboo is one of the building materials which is low heat absorbent. To make the building more sustainable and feeling comfortable with a low temperature, all the ceiling of the building are been decorated with bamboo. The decoration of bamboo as a building materials is sustainable, high efficiency and also very aesthetics.

Moreover, wood also act as one of the sustainable building materials on the site. Using wood as building materials can easily reduce the heat gain inside the building because of the thinnest of light color of the materials. For instance, the Kampung House in Belum Rainforest Resort have a very high thermal efficiency because the building was built with wood wall, wood flooring and roof. Therefore, this sustainable materials make a very high cooling effect in the building.

What is the similarity and differences of passive design in the old wing resort (phase 1) and new wing resort (phase 2) in Belum Rainforest Resort?

The old wing resort which is phase 1 in Belum Rainforest Resort is design base on vernacular architecture style while the new wing resort which is Phase 2 is more modernism architecture style. In comparative both resort which is phase 1 and phase 2, the passive design strategic of phase 1 building would be more efficiency then the phase 2 building. First of all, the differences of both phase is the building materials. The envelope building in phase 1 most of all is built with wood and bamboo while the envelope building in phase 2 is all built with concrete and ramp earth. Old wing resort do well perform in passive design compare to the new wing resort base on the differences of their building opening. In the old building, there is more opening. There are row of bamboo act as a window shading in every single resort room. The decoration make the façade looks aesthetic and also lower down the energy consumption of the building because of the window shading which can allowed a good ventilation flow into the building and slightly penetration of sunlight into the building. For the new wing, there is less outside ventilation can be flow inside the building because of the enclosed concrete wall and less fenestration. Other than that, the temperature of old wing building would be more cooler than the new wing building. The reason is the old wing building was surrounded with a lot of vegetation plantation compare to the new wing resort which is lacking of vegetation on the surrounding.

As a conclusion, Belum Rainforest Resort has fully adopted vernacular approach as a passive design strategy to achieve ideal cooling effects for the comfort of the occupants in the building. Natural cooling approach gives advantages to human and also our surrounding environment.

Orientation of building, vegetation as shading device, uses of natural building materials, more openings facing north and south direction, elevate the building, circulation of air flow and the blending of building with topography were taken into considerations when the architect is designing and constructing the Belum Rainforest Resort. The installation of these passive cooling devices in Belum Rainforest Resort are not only helps to preserve the site to the minimum damaging level, it also helps to improve our surrounding air quality as deforestation is not needed, trees absorbs carbon dioxide and release oxygen to help to clean the air. These passive cooling methods also helps to save more energy as they have replaced those mechanical cooling devices which consume large amount of energy. Thus, lesser emission of greenhouse gasses. Greenhouse effects can be prevented as no harmful gasses are being released, earth surface temperature can be maintained, and human health will be improved.

Last but not least, passive cooling approaches are required for every architects when planning, designing and constructing a building in order to create a cleaner and uncontaminated atmosphere for our future.