Improving Thermal Comfort Through Building Envelope Design in the ‘Shop-house’ Dwellings in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

  • Thanh Dang

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


The complex interplay of growing issues in terms of urbanisation, population explosion, urban heat island, and climate change has negatively changed the multiscale urban environment, which has accelerated thermal discomfort in naturally ventilated residences in populous cities of Vietnam such as in Ho Chi Minh City. Among them, getting comfort is more difficult in ‘shop‐house’ buildings, which are a popular vernacular residential typology in Vietnam, because of the tricky building form (thin, long, and
sometimes high). Designers have had confusions about creating comfortable environments (low air temperatures and sufficient airflows) for occupants within buildings while the implementation of existing architectural standards shows insufficiency. Therefore, in the context of increasing urban unsatisfactory environments, more households and designers have an alternative option of using air‐conditioners to get comfort. That links to the rise of energy consumption and pressures on the environment. Absorbing the problems in current practice in Vietnam, the thesis aims to find a potential approach to developing effective design guidance that supports architects to improve the performance of building envelope. The guidance will mainly focus on the opening design. With the design guide, designers can assess the environmental impacts of their design strategies applied to occupant comfort in ‘shop‐house’ dwellings. The guidance potentially covers the key information researched as follows:

The interplay of two variables (temperature and air velocity) on the overall comfort sensation of residents in non‐air‐conditioned ‘shop‐houses’. Therefore, the thesis will produce a comfort zone, which links both comfortable temperatures and air velocities, to build an assessment framework for the environmental effect of various options in the design guidelines.

The effect of internal (building) and external (urban) factors on comfortable environments in ‘shop‐houses’. Those factors are analysed and devised in a systematic way of design guidance, which can reflect their complex relationship with the indoor environment and comfort.

Finally, a demonstration of the design guide for openings is published and tested for validity.

To obtain the aim of the thesis, the main methods of data collection were field surveys of occupant thermal and air movement perceptions and acceptability; and field measurements of physical environments indoor and outdoor buildings. There were two official on‐site studies taken place in summer 2017 and spring 2018; additionally, a pilot study was conducted in warm summer 2016. The data were primarily analysed by statistical calculations of IBM SPSS and numerical simulations of DesignBuilder.
Date of Award2023
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorYun Gao (Co-Supervisor) & Adrian Pitts (Co-Supervisor)

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