Humid climate buildings are often tricky to get right as they have extreme uncomfortable weather throughout large spans of the year.
Tropical regions, especially in the south-west and north-east regions of India have always received high amounts of rainfall. One huge threat is flooding due to excessive rains and overflowing rivers. The other is the discomfort within the buildings due to the humidity.
The vernacular style of the structures in such regions has been developed over the long years taking into consideration all the above problems.
One of the basic but effective passive techniques for humid climates is to enable as much natural ventilation as possible. The continuous airflow within the building interiors greatly reduces discomfort by reducing the feeling of stickiness due to sweat.
Larger the openings, better the natural ventilation. But in rainy and humid climates, the water might seep in due to the heavy rains and the interiors heat up because of solar radiation.
If you observe the traditional architecture of humid regions, you might notice that they rarely have flat roofs.
Planting trees and other plants should always be a must in any of our designs regardless of climate. But they also provide additional advantages in this case.
Building orientation is the first passive strategy that should be implemented in all of your design. There are multiple factors which decide the ideal direction the building should face.
One big disadvantage of designing in a humid and rainy climate is that the weather tends to be unpredictable. The design should ensure comfort to the users regardless of the climate.
Choosing proper materials for your designs is crucial. Humid climates mean high heat, radiation, excess rain, fluctuation in temperature and weather on a daily basis. The chosen material should be able to withstand all these factors.
The following materials are suitable for humid climates.
Excess rain may lead to floods. To prevent flooding of water into the interiors, plinth level should be raised up to a certain height depending on the local regulations and average flood levels of that area.
Stack ventilation is a passive ventilation method that takes advantage of the pressure, temperature, and density difference between the interior and exterior airflow.
If you observe architecture in flood-prone areas, you might notice that the structures are built at a certain height on stick-like structures- these are called stilts. Stilts not only reduce damage to life and property, they also double as storage and cattle sheds.
Although it is extremely difficult to achieve comfort using passive techniques alone, these are certainly proven to reduce energy and power usage in the long run. A mix of active and passive techniques can be implemented to achieve best results.