Improving Thermal Comfort of Low-Income Housing in Thailand through Passive Design Strategies

Nafisa Bhikhoo, Arman Hashemi, Heather Cruickshank

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In Thailand, the delivery of adequate low-income housing has historically been overshadowed by politics with cost and quantity being prioritised over quality, comfort and resilience. In a country that experiences hot and humid temperatures throughout the year, buildings need to be adaptable to the climate to improve the thermal comfort of inhabitants. This research is focused on identifying areas for improving the thermal performance of these housing designs. Firstly, dynamic thermal simulations were run on a baseline model using the adaptive thermal comfort model CIBSE TM52 for assessment. The three criteria defined in CIBSE TM52 were used to assess the frequency and severity of overheating in the buildings. The internal temperature of the apartments was shown to exceed the thermal comfort threshold for these criteria throughout the year. The internal operating daily temperatures of the apartment remain high, ranging from a maximum of 38.5 °C to a minimum of 27.3 °C. Based on these findings, five criteria were selected to be analysed for sensitivity to obtain the key parameters that influence the thermal performance and to suggest possible areas for improvement. The computer software package Integrated Environmental Solutions—Virtual Environment (IES-VE) was used to perform building energy simulations. Once the baseline conditions were identified, the software packages SimLab2.2 and RStudio were used to carry out the sensitivity analysis. These results indicated that roof material and the presence of a balcony have the greatest influence on the system. Incorporating insulation into the roof reduced the mean number of days of overheating by 21.43%. Removing the balcony increased the number of days of overheating by 19.94% due to significant reductions in internal ventilation.
Original languageEnglish
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 15 Aug 2017

Bibliographical note

© 2017 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (


  • thermal comfort
  • low income housing
  • Thailand
  • tropical climates
  • dynamic thermal simulations
  • sensitivity analysis


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