Investigating design solutions for high-rise social housing in Kuala Lumpur with reference to thermal comfort and indoor air quality

Rights statement
Awarding institution
  • University of Strathclyde
Date of award
  • 2020
Thesis identifier
  • T15572
Person Identifier (Local)
  • 201662367
Qualification Level
Qualification Name
Department, School or Faculty
  • An extensive programme of construction of high-rise social housing is being carried out in Kuala Lumpur which does not address in full the issues of thermal comfort and indoor air quality. This situation impacts human's health and comfort, and it becomes even more critical considering the climate change. As a hot-humid country, Malaysia experiences uniformly high temperature and humidity as well as low wind speeds. Approximately 75% of the time in the year air temperature and humidity lie outside the thermal comfort zone established by ASHRAE and CIBSE. As household incomes rise, residents resort to retro-fitting wall mounted split, air conditioning units to provide indoor comfort, a strategy that is neither cost nor carbon effective. The indoor and outdoor air quality conditions also surpass the World Health Organization (WHO) limits and there are insufficient local regulations on indoor comfort. Therefore, this research addresses the four main issues identified during the fieldwork: high temperature, high humidity, air pollution and low air movement with a proper and possible solution. Following a previous outline proposal of an 'Airhouse' Concept, several systems have been tested. The combination of 'Dynamic Hybrid Air Permeable Ceiling' (DHAPC) and 'Dynamic Hybrid Chilled Beam Ceiling' (DHCBC) could produce better indoor thermal comfort and air quality in the housing units, reducing the air temperature, humidity, airborne particle and gases as well as constantly providing an adequate airflow rate. This integrated system has been tested through physical and computer models and is based on a combination of dynamic insulation, hybrid ventilation and chilled beam techniques which reduces the ambient air temperature and humidity by up to 20%. The DHAPC alone could efficiently filter particulate matters (PM10 and PM2.5) circa 90% from the incoming air intake. If this outcome can be delivered in practice, it would represent an overall saving of circa 66% in power consumption and carbon emission for cooling purposes. The system could be incorporated in the 'Airhouse' Concept, for efficiently providing thermal comfort and healthy indoor air quality in high-rise residential buildings in Kuala Lumpur and perhaps in other tropical countries. However, this is only one of the possible systems and the research should encourage further studies.
Advisor / supervisor
  • Gonzalez-Longo, Cristina
  • Howieson, Stirling
Resource Type
Date Created
  • 2020
Former identifier
  • 9912900393402996