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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The Influence of Courtyards Thermal Comfort Study in Bogotá, Colombia
by Pinzon Latorre, Andres Augusto, Ph.D., Illinois Institute of Technology, 2017, 247; 10681398
Abstract (Summary)

In the last twenty years, there has been a decrease in the quality of social housing projects in Bogotá, in part because private developers have replaced the Colombian government as the main agent. Degradation of social housing has been associated with related sickness of residents due to cold thermal conditions, particularly in children and seniors. In this context, business profitability has played against healthy indoor environments.

A common misconception of building in Bogotá’s mild climate (tropical) is that indoor thermal comfort is not a problem. It is based on the fact that outdoor conditions are relatively constant throughout the year without strong seasons, which in theory make acceptable conditions for thermal comfort of building occupants. Moreover, since residential buildings in Bogotá are naturally ventilated and no have space conditioning, thermal adaptation is expected to be more important.

Previous investigations on thermal comfort in the city have focused on the interaction between the local climate and a particular building configuration, but most have not explored occupants’ perceptions of comfort nor have they investigated how urban form and architectural features such as communal courtyards may influence thermal comfort.

This dissertation aims to better understand occupant perceptions of thermal comfort within the context of environmental conditions, personal adaptability, and urban form in Bogotá. The hypothesis is that an urban fabric that enhances solar access will improve the potential of a building to deliver a satisfactory thermal comfort to its occupants and energy savings in electric lighting. To test this hypothesis, courtyard buildings are explored as a way to connect people with the daily rhythms on their environments and reinterpret these spaces in the scenario of a larger and a denser city.

A multidisciplinary approach is used to address these enquiries, and through a field study thermal comfort is investigated in Bogotá. This methodology integrates knowledge from architecture, psychometrics, and statistics. The field study is performed on two residential projects that represent different urban configurations: the first project is organized in lineal blocks and the second project is organized around a central courtyard.

In total, 75 apartments participate in the study: 37 in the first project and 38 in the second project. Data are collected from them through environmental logging and surveying of residents. Information about temperature, relative humidity, radiant temperature, and light intensity is obtained through monitoring, while information about: thermal sensation, thermal preference, clothing value, and physical activity is obtained through surveys.

Statistical correlations, estimations, comparative tests, and summary statistics are used to analyze the data. These comparisons allow for an investigation of the influence of environmental conditions on occupants’ thermal sensations, the margins of acceptability of residents in multifamily housing, the influence of building features on thermal comfort of real environments, and the influence of courtyards as a solution for problems of comfort and energy consumption.

Key findings include: (1) outdoor climatic conditions (in addition to indoor climatic conditions) were associated with the thermal sensation of residents, suggesting that the indoor and outdoor climates are more connected across the building envelope boundary in these types of buildings that in environmentally controlled buildings; (2) the range of thermal adaptability of residences in these buildings was larger than in environmentally controlled buildings, suggesting that personal choice factors (e.g., choosing to wear more clothing to keep warm) are used to regulate comfort sensations in the absence of more advanced environmental control; and (3) the presence of a large central courtyard increases levels of comfort and also appeared to reduce electricity consumption for lighting.

The comparison suggests that the courtyard typology in multi-family residential buildings can be used to improve thermal comfort in social housing in this climate. Overall, this study offers a key insight into the complex interactions between climate, urban form, architectural design, and human behavior in governing human thermal comfort.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Land, Peter
Commitee: Herman, Matthew, Sabatino, Michelangelo, Stephens, Brent
School: Illinois Institute of Technology
Department: Architecture
School Location: United States -- Illinois
Source: DAI-A 79/08(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Architectural engineering, Latin American Studies, Architecture, Urban planning
Keywords: Bogotá, Colombia, Courtyards, Housing, Indoor climate, Thermal comfort
Publication Number: 10681398
ISBN: 978-0-355-75352-3
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