Improving the thermal performance and resilience of Myanmar housing in a changing climate

Zune, May (2021) Improving the thermal performance and resilience of Myanmar housing in a changing climate. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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Despite the long-term climate risk index for the period 1990-2018, there is a dearth of research and understanding of the vulnerability of homes to overheating in Myanmar. This thesis adopted a “case study research method with multiple cases” and addressed concerns about climate change impacts on Myanmar housing, particularly for the thermal performance of detached houses, which comprise the primary housing type in Myanmar. In order to fill the research gap in Myanmar Sustainable Development Plan and the Myanmar Building Code, four objectives were structured for the scope of this thesis: (1) lessons learnt from Myanmar vernacular architecture; (2) an investigation of the impacts of climate change and overheating risks in Myanmar housing; (3) an investigation of the impacts of the Passivhaus’ fabric-first approach on the Myanmar contexts; and (4) a review of barriers, challenges, and limitations of adopting the Passivhaus’ fabric-first approach in Myanmar.

Changes in the use of building envelope materials were the focus of simulation case studies comparing vernacular materials and their customs in building modern materials; the results showed that vernacular houses would not be sufficient to achieve thermal comfort in the predicted future climate scenario RCP 8.5 as the efficacy of passive design techniques has decreased. The results of field case studies generated from a one-year-long monitored data set for a vernacular dwelling and a modern dwelling in Myanmar showed that both dwellings did not give an adequate performance to meet thermal comfort requirements throughout the year. The vernacular dwelling in the Koppen climate Cwa maintained wet-bulb temperature below 30°C when the outdoor weather had 8.5% of the annual hours above wet-bulb temperature 30°C. The modern dwelling in the Koppen climate Aw maintained 48.5% of the annual hour below wet-bulb temperature 30°C when its outdoor weather had 51% of the annual hour below wet-bulb temperature 30°C.

In order to determine the Passivhaus concept in an adaptive thermal comfort model of Myanmar housing, it was hypothesised that a slightly higher U-value for wall and floor could be more effective in Myanmar climates than the very low U-value suggested by the Passivhaus standard; the simulation results revealed that the hypothesis could be sufficient to achieve Passivhaus targets if the synergistic effects between shading and building envelope design were considered. It was also found that if the roof has a cool roof effect, “the higher the u-value, the better” could overwrite “the lower the u-value, the better,” which is a characteristic of reflective insulation. Furthermore, it could meet the requirements to reduce building self-weight for the earthquake resistance design in Myanmar. However, it was also found that the Passivhaus scenario maintained a higher percentage of the annual hour for high heat index and wet-bulb temperatures than the partially Passivhaus scenario in the studied dwellings if no mechanical ventilation was considered.

The results of this research support the hypothesis, revealing that Passivhaus building envelope parameters and optimum variables can improve the tropical building thermal envelope of the studied climate in future climate change scenarios. Fabric-first variable case studies were particularly relevant given the vulnerability of homes to overheating in Myanmar, and the implications of the findings offer directions for more effective good practice and guidance for Passivhaus construction in Myanmar’s tropical context.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Rodrigues, Lucelia
Gillott, Mark
Keywords: Building thermal performance, Climate change in Myanmar, Thermal comfort, Overheating, Passivhaus' fabric-first approach
Subjects: T Technology > TH Building construction > TH 845 Architectural engineering
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Engineering > Built Environment
Item ID: 65163
Depositing User: Zune, May
Date Deposited: 04 Aug 2021 04:41
Last Modified: 04 Aug 2023 04:30

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