Energy efficiency of houses and best practice urban design in the Top End

Project: HDR ProjectPhD

Project Details

Description

Energy efficiency of houses in cities in the tropical savanna climate zone (Aw) presents challenges for urban design. An urban environment designed to provide access to prevailing breezes for buildings has the potential to improve thermal comfort in tropical houses and reduce the energy for cooling. In recent years, many countries, including Australia, have introduced more stringent requirements for energy efficiency of houses. A review of existing design practices for housing and subdivisions in the hot and humid tropics of Australia identified several research issues and gaps: inadequacy of the current residential energy rating methodology as a tool for assessing tropical housing performance; lack of research on the thermal performance of modern houses operating in dual mode (natural ventilation and cooling); and a lack of research on the thermal comfort of occupants in modern houses built under recent energy efficiency regulations in anticipation of an increasing frequency of hot days.
This research aims to investigate pathways for optimal provision of thermal comfort and sustainability of residential housing in the hot and humid tropics based on an inter-relationship between the climatic conditions, urban design, building design, energy consumption and occupant’s behaviour. The scope of this thesis are existing design practices for housing and subdivisions in the hot and humid tropics with reference to two suburbs in the city of Darwin in Australia’s Northern Territory. Muirhead, low-medium density suburb with smaller lots compared to low density Lyons, is designed to provide access to prevailing breezes for each dwelling through the orientation of streets, blocks, lot design and building setbacks. Results of this study will fill the gaps left by previous studies and make a significant contribution to the knowledge of post-occupancy performance of modern tropical houses and design process of future tropical urban developments.
StatusActive
Effective start/end date30/08/14 → …