Importance of Passive House Design and Construction in India
Passive design is inspired by climate, framed by the environment and built for comfort. In an ecologically diverse environment such as India, there is no one size fits all approach to passive design in both residential and commercial properties. Depending on your location in India, your passive design needs will be influenced by hot dry conditions, wet and humid conditions and cold and damp conditions.
Architectural forefathers understood the challenges of adapting home to climate in India. For warmer climates in India, a traditional way of cooling was with stepped wells, a pond dug into the ground or surrounded by walls above ground allowing the air to be-cooled by evaporating water in an enclosed, shaded zone. This innovative technique stood the test of time, providing cooling techniques in larger homes in India for generations.
At Homes Plan India, we continue this innovative legacy with the same goal: to design buildings that place paramount importance to its occupants’ comfort. Our approach to passive design with wide-range of experience in designing houses across India, gives us the confidence to customize a home to your standards and provides you with the reassurance that environmental elements will be factored into any house plan design.
For plot owners across India, the importance of passive cooling for their home and climate controlled house design cannot be understated. Without taking climate into account and the requisite cooling and heating systems, homeowners can encounter a range of problems including mould, water damage and compromises to structural integrity. We understand these risks and have a full suite of solutions for all plot sizes, locations and topography.
However, before considering a passive designed cooling or climate controlled system for your plot, it is good to understand the process and the immediate goals. Firstly, we recommend the best options to achieve passive cooling in a building. This is achieved by identifying the unnecessary thermal loads that might enter your future home. In our experience, there are typically two types of thermal loads homeowners need to be aware of - exterior loads due to the climate and internal loads due to domestic factors such as people, appliances, cooking spaces, hygiene and lighting.
Once the aforementioned factors have been thoroughly analysed, we provide a recommendation on a customized passive cooling system. The ambition of any system is consistent across India: to transfer heat from the home to natural energy sinks such as air, water or the earth. Despite the environmental aspects of the passive-cooling systems, it is equally important to consider the efficiency benefits. In our experience, implementation of a passive cooling system on a plot reduces the energy needed for cooling. This not only cuts down on electricity bills but also gives the house a green feel in terms of emissions.
The advantages are also cosmic. For example, passive cooling techniques can moderate the peak cooling load in homes, thereby reducing the size of the air conditioning equipment and the period for which it is generally required.
In terms of some of the newer breakthroughs in passive cooling, solar techniques are playing more prevalent role in India. In particular, driven by both climate and economic factors, solar shading has been an effect climate control solution in many new homes.
Particularly for more open plots, solar shading with locally available-materials like terracotta tiles, hay, inverted-earthen pots can reduce the temperature significantly. In addition, well-designed sun control plus the shading devices, can have parts of a building /separately placed from building facade, can play a major role in the reduction of heat gain, enhance cooling requirements and improving the natural-lighting quality of building-interiors. Furthermore, the design of effective-shading devices can depend on the solar orientation of a particular-building facade, which is key consideration depending on what part of India your land is located.
Solar chimneys are other solution we are seeing in increasing numbers of passive designs. Acting as a natural ventilation, solar chimneys provide further homeowner comfort during the day if combined with an evaporation-cooling device.
Of course many other passive design and cooling techniques exist in an ecosystem as diverse as India. If you do own a plot and are looking to construct, it is essential that you understand the elements and design accordingly. With the amount of options available in India, we are available to advise, consult and design a home that works with, not against, the climate. Write with your queries to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be glad to work along with you.