Enabling the hybrid use of air conditioning: A prototype on sustainable housing in tropical regions

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16 Citations (Scopus)


This paper demonstrates how the use of active or passive means only does not give the appropriate answers to a tropical design when considering housing. The author discusses about the idea of both modes of operation being used simultaneously or in parallel, and how this concept has been developed for one experimental building prototype in tropical areas of Brazil (Northeast region). Quantification is given through extensive parametric simulations which have been conducted using different environmental simulation programmes-TAS (EDSL, UK), ESP-r (ESRU, UK) and photovoltaic (PV)-Design PRO-G (Sandia Labs, USA). Thermal comfort levels along with energy use were assessed and compared, in terms of degree hours of overheating/under heating and cooling energy use. The prototype design has also taken into account the appropriate use of resources through sustainable design features: efficient use of energy, water and materials. The results have demonstrated that for regions such as the warm-humid tropics, the use of a mixed running strategy have optimized energy performance and provided better levels of thermal comfort in a much more effective way. For some cases, cooling energy savings up to 80% were feasible on a hybrid mode, where thermal comfort was improved up to 65%. It has also demonstrated the integration of energy efficiency and a PV grid-connected system, while enabling those daytime electrical needs to be accomplished by the photovoltaic component.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)605-613
Number of pages9
JournalBuilding and Environment
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2007
Externally publishedYes


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