Courtyard as a Passive Cooling Strategy in Buildings

Markus Bulus, Malsiah Hamid, Yaik Wah Lim


One of the most significant current discussions in the built environment, architectural practice, theory, and procedures is “Passive Design”. It is becoming very difficult to ignore the issues of passive architectural design strategies in buildings. Recent studies emphasized the need for passive architectural design strategies and the application of the courtyard as a passive design strategy for cooling in buildings. Also, that the courtyard is very suitable in almost all building typologies in all the climatic zones due to its passive tendencies for cooling. Its cooling potentials can be achieved only when design requirements are not ignored. The courtyard has social, cultural, religious, and environmental benefits. Despite its abundant advantages, research effort towards courtyard design requirements is very scarce. Therefore, the main objective of this study is to investigate the design of central courtyard as a passive cooling strategy for improving indoor thermal comfort in Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) Buildings. Courtyard design requirement such as the courtyard configurations, orientation, and natural features in courtyard buildings in UTM were investigated. Besides the design variants, courtyard usage in such buildings was also examined. The methodology of this study involved the developing of a checklist based on literature for the field survey. Forty-six (46) courtyards in thirty-two (32) buildings in UTM were surveyed, and the statistical description method was used to interpret and analyzed the data. The Results of this quantitative study shows that UTM central courtyards buildings were designed based on a cautious consideration to orientation and configurations to enhance their effective passive cooling potentials, however, only two courtyards had water pools. The study concluded that courtyards in UTM buildings are creatively designed but future experimental studies to appraise their thermal performances is required, and future simulation studies can predict a better design requirement for optimum performance. Therefore, further simulation studies are recommended.


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