Environmental Building Design

Residential Building with Environmental Based Design Principles

The building sector is a major sector which is concerned with high electrical energy saving principles and efficiency based design helps the thermal comfort of the structures. The building elements must be designed in a way that reduces the applied energy emissions of carbon dioxide and other harmful gases in residential construction as 90 % of carbon dioxide emissions are from the building. The energy features and design is dependent on the density, location, and orientation of the structure. the architects and building designers shall consider energy-saving principles while initiating the architectural and structural design.

Passive Design Features

Windows sizes

The openings are to design with high importance in consideration of daylight, cross ventilation, and views. The window provided shall be large and operable completely with inlets of similar size walls and proper cross ventilation shall be provided. There is always conflict considered between the daylight and solar penetration of windows. The optimum window-to-wall ratio suitable shall be 0.24 and shading devices with four orientations shall be checked for large windows and a new method for improving the thermal comfort shall also be considered.

The windows shall be located along a diagonal direction opposite to one another and a windward window near the corner and provision of better window arrangements can help in proper air transfer and exchange of energy and harmful gases inside.

The horizontal louvers and sunshade elements in the window deflects the wind flow in an upward direction which reduces the air movement and a horizontal slot between horizontal louver and wall could reduce the upward deflection of air and ensure appropriate downward flow.

The louvered windows help in facilitating unrestricted air movement and louvered materials and wooden boards helps in airflow and interior partitions. Such doors help in desirable security and offer unrestricted openness and are used for traditional build.

Wing wall outside window and wall projects like fins helps in direct wind flow into the particular areas and fins same to be more effective for direct and relative air movement.

Shading devices

The shading devices shall be categorized as interior shading elements, exterior window shading elements, solar material with glazing transmittance. The tinted glass could reduce the solar transmission to a higher extend and heat absorbed is a discomfort to the occupants in interior spaces and glazing materials shall be clear and tinted according to transmittance properties and heat-absorbing and reflecting shall be considered. The drapes and curtains shall be used for cooling and reducing the loads. The shading device may be provided with some of the considerations for passive design features which include that the length of the wing wall and overhang shall be separated by 1.5 m and if the shading is provided longer the average cooling load is reduced and savings of approximately 5 % could be observed.

Natural ventilation

Ventilation is considered with the relative movement of air. The main functions of ventilators include the satisfaction of fresh air needs to occupant and increase in evaporative rate and control of heat loss and interior building cooling by air exchange. The temperature difference between outdoors and indoor units must be studied with consideration of mass of air and its expansion concerning density and pressure difference between inward flow and opening flow windblown against the building and the compressed air creates a pressure zone and pressure difference between points of the building envelope is used to calculate the probability of ventilation in the building.

Energy efficiency

It is necessary to determine the energy savings in buildings are necessary for many factors. Energy efficiency is related to different aspects like planning and building envelope aspects. The planning aspects involve analysis of the construction site, recognizing the form of the building and orientation of the structure, landscaping, and room orientation. While dealing with the building envelope the major factors include design and determination of external wall, thermal insulation properties. Installation of building elements like roof and window etc.

Wind breaks

The analysis of the building site may be done such that the topical climates and breezes are considered for the design with the relative air movement. High-density housing construction does not leave scope for windbreaks. The shade from existing trees and buildings shall also be considered such that the building which is designed in high landscape areas can result in urban heat island.

Building form

In buildings with a large surface which considers the requirements of ventilation and heat emission shall be considered either open, outward built on silts. The compact shape of the building is effectively suggested to determine the requirements for air conditioning and ventilation purposes which results in a reduction of heat transfer in buildings. The compactness in building design helps in utilizing the open space.

Building orientation

The longer axis of the building shall lie along the east-west direction. While examining the efficiency of the residents some passive climate control methods were suggested for choosing the best orientation of the building. Considering the tropical climatic features it was determined that the long axis of the building should lie along an east-west direction which could reduce the heat loads in residential building up to 12 % if the steps are properly followed.

Room orientation and arrangement

It shall be determined that considering the time within a day house can be made more energy-efficient if it's planned by installing the solar orientation elements and considering wind direction .and effects.(Shaviv et.al,2001).


The plantation of trees and vegetations can help in high energy saving, reduced air, and noise pollution and temperate modifications. . if proper planning measures are included the energy can be saved up to 50% with the help of proper planning and with the aid of window overhangs and blocking afternoon sun and heat accordingly. Tree planting can help in a high amount of energy savings.

Renewable Energy Resources

Building envelope – external wall

The main function of the building design in a tropical climate is to reduce the heat gain to higher extends by providing the openings and reducing the internal temperature in buildings by providing the walls which could be done by protecting the designed roof and extend beyond the wall with eaves. The annual cooling effects are directly related to solar acceptance and solar energy passes into the material. Cooling principles may be designed such that the light color and external wall finishes are also considered. Facade construction helps in determining the effectiveness of private passive control methods in residential construction.

Thermal insulation

The thermal insulation techniques help in effective energy savings and conserving the heat and coolness in buildings. This reduces heat conduct and transfer in buildings. Thermal insulation has very small efficiency during warm and humid zones and their ambient temperature inside and outside the building is the same in relation to the flow of air.

Building materials

Burnt clay bricks can be used in tropical climate due to its good thermal properties and resistance to heat. Timber and wood material also has good thermal resistance and regulates humidity to a great extend. Bamboo mattings, leaves, and grass materials help in proper ventilation of the building system (Bar.et.al,2009).


The roof is an important element in the design as it conserves energy as it receives solar radiation and shading is not that easy. If residential buildings are to considered then the roof may be constructed with 150 mm thick reinforced slabs with proper weathering course of thickness 75-100 and provided with brick or lime mortar and a major portion of electricity can be saved by implementation of proper roofing techniques. The warm humid regions shall have pitched roofs to drain off water during heavy rains and the roof shall be considered with overhangs to protect the openings and walls from radiation and high thermal reflectivity. If parapet walls are to be constructed along the roof they shall not be provided solid and should not indicate the high profile. The aluminum polyurethane insulation system with good optimal orientation considerations reduces the temperature with cement-based roofs and the roof insulation system reduces the thermal load and fluctuations up to 70 % and the applicability of green roofs may be investigated properly to determine the methods in improving the urban environment and green roofs with the implementation of waterproofing membranes and layers of drainage and filtration with substrate layers and plants are checked (Stone,2018). The applicability of the secondary roofing system shall also be considered in a residential building as these are desirable for associated costs.

References for The Cooling Efficiency of Urban Landscape Strategies

Shashua Bar L, Pearlmutter D, Erell E (2009) The cooling efficiency of urban landscape strategies in a hot dry climate. Landscape Urban Planning Journal, Volume 92(3–4),pp.179–186.

Shaviv E, Yezioro A, Capeluto IG (2001) Thermal mass and night ventilation as passive cooling

design strategy. Renewable Energy Journal, Volume 24(3),pp.445–452.

Stone NJ (2018) Windows and environmental cues on performance and mood. Environmental Behavioural Journal,Volumen 30(3),pp.306–321.

Tabet Aoul K, Shelley G (1993) An investigation on the effect of access to windows on visual

comfort and productivity. In: Proceedings of 3rd European conference on architecture,

Florence, Italy, 17–21 May, pp 157–160

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