House Shape And Orientation – Tropical Patterns

HOUSE SHAPE AND ORIENTATION – Tropical Patterns

LONG, NARROW HOUSES ARE BETTER TO ENCOURAGE AIR FLOW ACROSS HOUSE
Air movement is essential for keeping cool in the tropics. Wide houses with complicated room layout restricts air flow. Long thin houses with opposing windows encourages airflow across the house, keeping the occupants cooler.

LONG AXIS OF HOUSE GOES EAST TO WEST TO REDUCE SOLAR GAIN
As the searing tropical sun goes from east to west it heats east facing walls in the morning and west facing walls after midday. If these walls are long house sides, then the house will become overheated. Better to have the sun running over the ridge of the house and only hitting the smaller ends in the morning and late evening.

ORIENT HOUSE FOR PREDOMINANT WINDS
While the first design principle is to orient your house east to west to reduce solar gain, the second principle is to take into account the need for the predominant winds to blow through the house to cool the occupants.

BUILD HIGH SET HOUSES TO CATCH BREEZE UP HIGH AND FLOW BREEZE UNDERNEATH TO FURTHER COOL
Ground objects slow breezes. Better to build up high to catch higher air movement. High set houses also lose heat quicker than houses on the ground.

FOR ON GROUND HOUSES ENSURE GROUND SLAB IS WELL SHADED
On ground slabs can act to absorb heat from occupants and act to lower temperatures as long as links mass walls and slab sides are shaded to reduce heat input.

BE SURE HOUSE LOCATION ON BLOCK TAKES INTO ACCOUNT SHADING REQUIREMENTS FOR EAVES AND VEGETATION
Lining your house up with the road is often not the best option for best cooling. Consider east west orientation and room for shading trees for east and west ends and living area to the equator side.