Effect of plan layout on electricity consumption to maintain thermal comfort in apartments of Dhaka

Abstract

This paper reports on a study of electricity consumption, for achieving thermal comfort, and possible relation to respective plan layouts, in apartments of tropical Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, which is one of the most densely populated cities in the world. As approximately 45% of the total population of Dhaka constitutes the middle income and upper-middle income groups, electricity consumption by this group is a critical factor in the national energy balance. According to recent reports, the electricity consumption in the residential sector has almost doubled in 6 years. During the warm months (March–October), ventilation and air movement are vital for thermal comfort in the tropics, and electrical cooling appliances are commonly used for the purpose. The target middle income group resides in apartments of floor area between 93 and 149 m2 (1000–1600 ft2). A field survey was conducted, whereby scaled drawings of plan layout of the apartments were obtained, to understand the spatial arrangement of the existing apartments, i.e., to assess the arrangement of spaces in the apartment units in terms of their potential to allow air movement. Two basic types of layouts were found mostly used in Dhaka; defined in the study as “open type” and “cellular type” layouts. A questionnaire survey was conducted on sample units, to determine the specifications of electrical appliances being used for cooling and to assess the comfort situation of the inhabitants. It was the contention of this study that there could be a critical analysis of plan layouts in mid-rise apartment buildings, to determine whether there is a relationship between the energy consumption and layout of these plans. Analysis of the findings from the survey and the questionnaire responses reveal that plan layout does, indeed, have a significant impact on electricity consumption needed for thermal comfort.

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Correspondence to Zebun Nasreen Ahmed.

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Tariq, S.H., Ahmed, Z.N. Effect of plan layout on electricity consumption to maintain thermal comfort in apartments of Dhaka. Energy Efficiency (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12053-020-09875-3

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Keywords

  • Electricity consumption
  • Thermal comfort
  • Cooling loads
  • Plan layout
  • Domestic architecture