Energy Efficient design of buildings and their operations are becoming more and more important in the world. A building is a system that is linked to its surrounding environment and is subject to a range of interactions between the external conditions and the indoor comfort condition. Buildings are major consumers of energy in both their construction and operation. They account for 40% of world's energy use. It is estimated that 40-60% of this goes for heating and ventilating the indoors. Modern architecture - to a large extent - does not respect the environment in creating built spaces. Often, the indoors thus created are not comfortable and require artificial means to condition them. These artificial systems are causing significant environmental problems across the globe.Traditionally, the buildings were designed for the most comfortable indoors condition, irrespective of the outdoor hostile environment. Environmental factors have been a major determinant in the development of traditional architecture. Traditional built forms have been developed on the principles of passive design by continuous process of experimentation and improvement. Study of traditional architecture proves that it is possible to create a built space that respects the environment by natural means through a judicious design that is sustainable. This paper reviews the concepts of passive design and the sustainable practices in traditional buildings from different countries and discusses the findings of a research conducted in South-Indian peninsula.Should we need sustainable building design, then it is imperative to revisit the traditional wisdom acquired over centuries of relentless effort.
Naseer N A, National Institute of Technology Calicut, India
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