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Conference paper

Reconceptualization of climate classifications and climate analysis tools to support evaporative building cooling strategies in the hot humid tropics

Cooling Innovation Sustainable building design and construction

Evaporative Cooling (EC) is increasingly regarded as a powerful and effective method for building cooling, mitigation of Urban Heat Islands (UHI) and for urban adaptation to climate change (Kitano et al., 2011; Saneinejad et al., 2014). As this cooling technique depends on the adequate supply of water, it is notable that most research gives little attention to local water availability, and also that the research community largely ignores the Hot Humid Tropics, despite these being regions with significant water surplus. Evaporative Cooling is still generally omitted in the theory and practice of building and urban cooling for the Hot Humid Tropics, even though diverse experiments and practical applications have confirmed that it can be effective even in hot humid climates (Kitano et al., 2011).

This paper argues that the problem of marginalization and stigmatization of EC techniques as unsuitable for these regions is rooted in an incomplete understanding of the nature of hot humid climates and their variations, which has historically permeated approaches to building cooling. The authors propose the need for a reconceptualization of climate classifications and climate analysis tools for architectural applications, which would allow a more detailed differentiation of hot humid climates than what is usually seen in conventional classifications. This finer grained differentiation is essential to overcome the problems referred to above, and to reconsider promising passive and low energy solutions for buildings and cities for the majority of the hot humid areas of the world, particularly those with less developed economies.

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