What Makes Your Room Hot And Uncomfortable

21.09.2016

This article details what makes our rooms hot and uncomfortable and how we could solve the problem by simply understanding the causes. The solutions proposed are passive design based solutions, alternate mechanisms like air conditioning and building materials that serve as a solution.

The way our homes are built and the temperature of the outside environment could determine how hot or comfortable the temperature inside the room is. This could uplift or completely spoilt the comfort that we enjoy in our room.

To understand the subject, we need to understand some basic terms and features of building materials.

Thermal Mass Index is one of the terms.

The thermal mass of a material, otherwise known as its heat capacity plays an important part in creating a comfortable and an efficient built environment. It is a measure of how much heat a material can hold.

The rate of heat absorption and heat release depends on the ratio of the surface area exposed to the volume.

The reason that we need to understand this is because building materials like concrete have a high thermal mass index. These results in the case where concrete tends to absorb and retain the incident heat on it. In the case of India, a lot of our homes today have a ceiling slab made of concrete.

Effectively all parts of the building envelope contributes to the ingress of heat and the rise in the heat retention. The products that are most common components of the envelope are essentially, brick or block walls, glass, timber etc.

It is therefore crucial to include materials that passively help in reducing the heat retention.

 

Preventive measures:

Interventions during the design development stage

This could be through a systematic pre-planned designing. For example, one could design homes with adequate ventilation. Also there could be space planning done in a manner that is cognizant of the orientation of the sun. In India, the west and south faces experience the wrath of the sun for the longest time of the day. It is ideal that these faces of the building have adequate protection in the form of intelligent colour and location choices by providing for services and ducting in this area, etc. These faces could also be treated with limited window and door openings so as to minimize the excessive heating that might be created. One can also use ingenious designs such as designing with water and interior plants.

Keeping your house cool can also be achieved through passive attempts such as sensible choice of building materials that lead to greener construction.

Corrective Measures using Building materials:

Performance Glass for example can be used for all openings that reduces the probability of a greenhouse effect. There are also ways in which we could use light colored paints that could reflect most of the incident heat.

A more long term solution could be to use insulating materials such as gypsum plaster boards, on the walls, in the form of dry lining. Gypsum plaster boards as false ceiling, apart from rendering a beautiful home through amazing ceiling designs, acts as an important contributor to the managing of indoor air temperature.

These cooler rooms are the result of an air gap that is created between the ceiling slab and the false ceiling. This temperature decrease is also bolstered by other advantages such as an improved acoustic performance and the possibility of managing the service likes better and in a more aesthetic manner. Designer ceilings are also able to accommodate for ambient lighting solutions.

The most common way however, is to use artificial cooling through air conditioning. Air conditioning however is energy intensive process and will definitely not come cheap.

It is in this context that we should consider the use of a combination of solutions that ranges from effective building design, use of the right building material and energy efficient air-conditioning solutions.

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