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Outdoor Thermal Comfort and Building Energy Use Potential in Different Land-Use Areas in Tropical Cities: Case of Kuala Lumpur

Aktas, Y; Wang, K; Zhou, Y; Othman, M; Stocker, J; Jackson, M; Hood, C; ... Hunt, J; + view all (2020) Outdoor Thermal Comfort and Building Energy Use Potential in Different Land-Use Areas in Tropical Cities: Case of Kuala Lumpur. Atmosphere , 11 (6) , Article 652. 10.3390/atmos11060652. Green open access

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Abstract

High air temperature and high humidity, combined with low wind speeds, are common trends in the tropical urban climates, which collectively govern heat-induced health risks and outdoor thermal comfort under the given hygrothermal conditions. The impact of different urban land-uses on air temperatures is well-documented by many studies focusing on the urban heat island phenomenon; however, an integrated study of air temperature and humidity, i.e., the human-perceived temperatures, in different land-use areas is essential to understand the impact of hot and humid tropical urban climates on the thermal comfort of urban dwellers for an appraisal of potential health risks and the associated building energy use potential. In this study, we show through near-surface monitoring how these factors vary in distinct land-use areas of Kuala Lumpur city, characterized by different morphological features (high-rise vs. low-rise; compact vs. open), level of anthropogenic heating and evapotranspiration (built-up vs. green areas), and building materials (concrete buildings vs. traditional Malay homes in timber) based on the calculated heat index (HI), apparent temperature (TApp) and equivalent temperature (TE) values in wet and dry seasons. The results show that the felt-like temperatures are almost always higher than the air temperatures in all land-use areas, and this difference is highest in daytime temperatures in green areas during the dry season, by up to about 8 °C (HI)/5 °C (TApp). The TE values are also up to 9% higher in these areas than in built-up areas. We conclude that tackling urban heat island without compromising thermal comfort levels, hence encouraging energy use reduction in buildings to cope with outdoor conditions requires a careful management of humidity levels, as well as a careful selection of building morphology and materials.

Type: Article
Title: Outdoor Thermal Comfort and Building Energy Use Potential in Different Land-Use Areas in Tropical Cities: Case of Kuala Lumpur
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.3390/atmos11060652
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.3390/atmos11060652
Language: English
Additional information: This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Keywords: thermal comfort; land-use; tropics; urban microclimate
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Civil, Environ and Geomatic Eng
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10101805
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