An investigation on the climate-responsive design strategies of vernacular dwellings in Khams

Qian Nie, Shichen Zhao, Qun Zhang, Peng Liu, Zhuoyu Yu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


Successful building design balances ambitious environmental requirements and residential comfort by considering the regional culture, economic level, natural environment, indoor thermal comfort and energy consumption. Taking dwellings as a case study, this paper examines the potential of improving indoor thermal comfort through field investigations of indoor environments in the Tibetan area. Settlement location and layout designs, combined with the natural environment, religious culture, synchronous optimization of structural seismic performance and enclosed structure, and a semi-open space setting making full use of passive solar energy technology, is a major strategy for climate-responsive design in Khams that also meets local economic levels and modern living needs. The results show that this strategy can achieve 5 h with air temperatures over 16.4 °C (from 12:30–17:30) in a comfortable thermal environment without the consumption of fossil energy, while in the evening, the thermal environment indicators in the major living space remain stable with low heat loss, indicating that an appropriate heat source from local bioenergy can achieve indoor thermal comfort. Overall, the dwellings in Khams with abundant solar energy and a lack of fossil energy are very well adapted to local climate conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106248
JournalBuilding and Environment
Publication statusPublished - Aug 15 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Building and Construction


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