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Improving comfort levels in a traditional high altitude Nepali house

Fuller, R.J., Zahnd, A. and Thakuri, S. (2009) Improving comfort levels in a traditional high altitude Nepali house. Building and Environment, 44 (3). pp. 479-489.

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Humla Province is a remote mountainous region of northwest Nepal. The climate is harsh and the local people are extremely poor. Most people endure a subsistence culture, living in traditional housing. Energy for cooking and heating comes from fuelwood, supplies of which are diminishing. In order to improve the indoor environment and reduce fuelwood use, smokeless stoves are being introduced to replace the open fire in Humli homes. There is some concern, however, that comfort levels may not be as acceptable with these stoves. The aim of this research was therefore to investigate ways in which the comfort levels in traditional Humli housing might be improved using simple and low cost strategies. Temperature data was recorded in four rooms of a traditional Humli home over a 12-day period and used with fuelwood data to validate a TRNSYS simulation model of the house. This model was then used to evaluate the impact on comfort levels in the house of various energy conservation strategies using PMV and PPD indicators. As a single strategy, it was found that reducing infiltration of outside air was likely to be more effective than increasing the insulation level in the ceilings. The most successful strategy, however, was the creation of sunspaces at the entrances to the living rooms. This strategy increased average internal temperatures by 1.7 and 2.3 °C. In combination with increased insulation levels, the sunspaces reduced comfort dissatisfaction levels by over 50%.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publisher: Elsevier
Copyright: © 2008 Elsevier Ltd
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