Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Thermal Performance of Single-Storey Air-welled Terraced House in Malaysia: A Field Measurement Approach

Version 1 : Received: 9 September 2020 / Approved: 10 September 2020 / Online: 10 September 2020 (04:46:23 CEST)

A peer-reviewed article of this Preprint also exists.

Journal reference: MDPI Sustainability 2021, 13
DOI: 10.3390/su13010201


The provision requirement of 10% openings of the total floor area stated in the Uniform Building by Law 1984 Malaysia has been practiced by designers for building plan submission approval. However, the effectiveness of thermal performance in landed residential buildings, despite the imposition by the by-law, has never been empirically measured and proven. Although terraced houses in Malaysia have dominated 40.9% of the total property transaction in 2019, such mass production with typical designs hardly provides its occupants with thermal comfort due to the static outdoor air condition and lack of external windows, where the conventional ventilation technique does not work well, even for houses with an air well system. Consequently, the occupants need to rely on mechanical cooling, which is a high energy-consuming component contributing to outdoor heat dissipation and therefore urban heat island effect. Thus, encouraging more effective natural ventilation to eliminate excessive heat from the indoor environment is critical. Since most of the research focuses on simulation modelling lacking sufficient empirical validation, this paper drawing on field measurement investigates natural ventilation performance in terraced housing with an air well system. More importantly, the key concern as to what extent the current air well system serving as a ventilator is effective to provide better thermal performance in the single storey terraced house is to be addressed. By adopting an existing single storey air welled terrace house, the existing indoor environmental conditions and thermal performance were monitored and measured using scientific equipment, namely HOBO U12 air temperature and air humidity, the HOBO U12 anemometer and the Delta Ohm HD32.3 Wet Bulb Globe Temperature meter for a six-month duration. The findings show that the air temperature of the air well ranged from 27.48°C to 30.92°C, while the mean relative humidity were from 72.67% to 79.25%. The mean air temperature for a test room (single sided ventilation room) ranged from 28.04°C to 30.92°C with a relative humidity of 70.16% to 76%. These empirical findings are of importance, offering novel policy insights and suggestions to potentially revising the existing building code standard and by laws; since the minimum provision of 10% openings has been revealed to be less effective to provide a desired thermal performance and comfort, mandatory compliance with, and the necessity for, the bylaw requirement should be revisited and further studied.


air shaft; air well; solar chimney; field measurement; natural ventilation; tropical climate; terrace house; passive cooling design


ENGINEERING, Energy & Fuel Technology

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