The Impact of Overhangs and Side-fins on Building Thermal Comfort, Visual Comfort and Energy Consumption in the Tropics

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The British University in Dubai (BUiD)
The rapid booming in the field of building construction during the last few decades created many challenges for this issue in the research zone in terms of its negative effects on the environment due to large amounts of carbon dioxide emissions resulting from the excessive energy use by the building systems. In the tropics because of the hot and humid weather, the continuous need for mechanical ventilation is a necessity, which makes the problem even harder. Consequently, the world’s focus now to a sustainable building approach in terms of health and environment as well as reducing the building life cycle costs, which is majorly influenced by its energy consumption. Meanwhile, passive techniques started to show up as affordable solutions that could cut off the building cost significantly, such as; building orientation, building materials and shading elements. Therefore, the motivation behind performing this research is to orient the need of countries with tropical climates to adopting passive techniques and basic shading elements in specific thorough linking its relationship to thermal comfort, visual comfort and energy consumption. The research was conducted on an office building sample which represents common office types by means of IES-VE computer simulation software. Overhangs and side-fins with various depths were assessed in different building orientations through summer and winter seasons. Afterwards, quantitative and qualitative outputs were analyzed to know the implication of each case’s performance on balancing between reducing operational costs, and occupants’ thermal and visual comfort. The results ensured that shading devices could provide a reduction from 13% to 55% of solar gains, leading to a significant reduction in the percentage of people dissatisfied. In addition, a significant reduction in illuminance levels up to 9.3% and lower rates of discomfort glare were detected. Meanwhile, energy consumption experienced an obvious savings of up to 27.5%. Thus, the significance of this study is adding valuable information that provide architects with support for their design decisions, as well as helping mechanical engineers to predict their cooling loads. Meanwhile, governmental authorities could refer to the study when adjusting local building guidelines and regulations.
passive design, shading devices, overhangs, side-fins, energy consumption, thermal comfort, visual comfort, sustainable buildings