This thesis seeks to address the potential of the bioclimatic approach for improved energy efficient design and better comfort condition for the occupants in a hot humid climate in typical high-rise office buildings. An awareness of the need to conserve and minimise energy needs for heating and air-conditioning of buildings has arisen as a result of the energy crises. High-rise buildings which originated from North American are now found in almost every major city around the world, especially in the developing countries of Asia. The bioclimatic approach is concerned with problems of energy usage, air quality, amenity provided by the building to its users, and productivity, which can be affected by the environmental conditions in the building. The synthesis of all these listed important aspects is directly linked to the comfort criterion for the occupants.
The methods used to examine the bioclimatic approach commenced with a literature review related to the original notions of the bioclimatic approach to architecture. The thesis reports on the performance assessment of three selected bioclimatic high-rise buildings of the Malaysian architect, Ken Yeang, against a base case conventional high-rise building also located in Malaysia. The assessment of the sample in this research, consisting of one conventional and three bioclimatic high-rise buildings, was conducted using two physical parameters: a checklist of bioclimatic strategies, constructed for this study based on the relevant literature, and the measurements of the LTV (Lighting, Thermal and Ventilation) study. In addition, a qualitative User Response Survey was used to gain the users’ perceptions of the comfort levels and satisfaction with the indoor environment of their buildings. These assessments, conducted in Malaysia in 2001, have indicated that the performance of the bioclimatic designed high-rise buildings is promising.
In general, the three bioclimatic high-rise buildings designed by Ken Yeang were found to achieve better results when compared to the base case conventional high-rise building. Yeang has adopted significantly more bioclimatic principles in the three buildings compare to those found in the conventional building. Also, not only did the measurements for daylighting, thermal and ventilation show an improvement, the users’ satisfaction with these buildings was found to be more positive than with the conventional high-rise building assessed in this research. The thesis outcomes have implications for reconsidering current high-rise building designs and the thesis recommend the use of the bioclimatic strategy mapping and scorecard, which was developed in this thesis from the checklist, by the architects for the bioclimatic approach in their next high-rise design.