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An innovative roofing system for tropical building interiors: Separating heat from useful visible light

Keywords: Roof lights, Daylighting, Tropical climate, Innovative roofing system

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Abstract:

Generally it has been known that energy consumption costs are high in temperate countries. In buildings, room spaces are normally designed so as to consume less energy for thermal comfort especially in winter. Passive strategies such large double-glazing windows are to contain heat indoors and also for maximum daylight to reduce dependence on artificial lighting. Thus roof lights are popular building design elements in cold and temperate countries. Unlike in the tropics where it has high temperatures and humidity throughout the year, achieving indoor comfort is a challenge especially with plenty of sunshine and unpredictable wind conditions. This paper explores the possibility of roof light for indoor comfort to be considered as a tropical design element. Initial simulation was carried out before any attempt to do life-sized model for empirical data. By simulation, the hypothesis has been achieved but several factors have to be considered. The solution is not as simple as those achieved in the temperate countries. Comfort can be achieved but permutations of several design factors such as dimensions of room, glazing, reflective materials, blackbody concept and building materials need adjustment to meet the Malaysian Comfort Temperature. With this finding the Tropical Architecture would then be redefined with the introduction of this Innovative Roofing System (IRS) as named by the author.

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