The application of the 'fabric first' approach to improve thermal comfort and energy efficiency in affordable housing in Southern Brazil

Camboim Salatino Tubelo, Renata (2016) The application of the 'fabric first' approach to improve thermal comfort and energy efficiency in affordable housing in Southern Brazil. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

[img] PDF (Thesis - as examined) - Repository staff only - Requires a PDF viewer such as GSview, Xpdf or Adobe Acrobat Reader
Download (20MB)


In 2009 the Brazilian government committed to support the construction of nearly 24 million new dwellings by 2022 through its housing programme Minha Casa, Minha Vida (My House, My Life). The initiative aims to tackle the housing shortfall of 5.546 million residential units and the 10.948 million units that are considered inadequate dwellings with poor living conditions. The potential economic, social and environmental impact of such large initiative is vast and consequently it is essential that the new dwellings are planned, designed and built to meet high levels of energy efficiency and thermal comfort.

The ‘Fabric First’ is widely recognised as a design approach with great potential to deliver energy efficient and comfortable housing in a variety of different climates. Its principles have already been successfully incorporated in many buildings across European countries and elsewhere. Despite its success, research to date shows that the application of this approach has not been explored yet in the Brazilian context.

In this work, ways of improving the thermal comfort and performance of Brazilian mass housing in three cities in southern Brazil (Curitiba, São Paulo and Porto Alegre) through the Fabric First principles were explored. The research was developed through sensitivity analyses of key envelope parameters and case studies. The sensitivity analysis was carried out in order to identify the best performance and the most cost-effective building envelope combination, using a simplified affordable Brazilian housing typology model that had its properties varied. A case study based on a generic representative model and a real optimised case study of typical 1-floor 2-bedroom mass housing typology were evaluated through computational thermal simulations and monitored data. The results of the sensitivity analyses were then used to inform the case studies performance analyses, developed in parallel to a cost analysis.

Key findings from this study revealed that typical Brazilian building envelopes underperformed by up to 65% compared to super-insulated envelopes in terms of thermal comfort. In the real case studied this could represent up to 75% less thermal comfort. However, the additional costs of a super-insulated envelope showed to be 56-66% higher than the typical Brazilian envelope, with a payback period nearing the lifespan of the houses. In addition, it has been shown that relatively small improvements in the current building envelope could impact the upfront costs by only 6-12% but result in comfort improvement of about 45% against typical levels. These small improvements appear to be more suited to the cultural and economic Brazilian context and therefore are recommended as the best way forward.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Taranto Rodrigues, Lucelia
Gillott, Mark
Keywords: thermal comfort, energy effiency, fabric first, brazil, housing, dwellings, affordable
Subjects: T Technology > TH Building construction > TH7005 Heating and ventilation. Air conditioning
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Engineering
Item ID: 33388
Depositing User: Camboim Salatino Tubelo, Renata
Date Deposited: 20 Jul 2016 15:12
Last Modified: 14 Sep 2016 11:23

Actions (Archive Staff Only)

Edit View Edit View