Robustness of Residential Houses in Ecuador in the Face of Global Warming: Prototyping and Simulation Studies in the Amazon, Coastal and Andes Macroclimatic Regions
Ecuador is a small country with high-frequency climatic variability. The principal macroclimatic regions are the Amazon rainforest, with a hot and humid climate; the tropical coast, also with a hot and humid climate; and the highlands, with a tropical mountain climate. The government is working on policies regarding the energy efficiency of all kinds of buildings. In 2011, the Ministry of Urban Development and Housing (MIDUVI), in a design competition called ‘Dwellings for Climate Change’, selected three residential house typologies, one for each macroclimatic emplacement in the country. The winner dwellings were designed considering passive architecture concepts; however, some simulation studies conducted by the National Institute of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy in 2014 showed that in many cases the new design proposals have poorer performance than the standard dwelling typically seen in Ecuador for all climatic emplacements. To validate the simulation results, new simulations were conducted using current weather data. The output searched was the total discomfort sensation instead of the thermal demand or energy consumption (heuristic). In addition, global warming was taken into account by simulating future situations in the A2 scenario proposed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Future climate was modelled using the Climate Change World Weather Files Generator developed by the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers. Results show that building design in Ecuador is influenced by standards that come from colder countries. This fact leads to generally poor result in terms of natural cooling performance, even in the actual climate. Global warming and urban development, especially in the coastal region, will increase cooling needs, so building design guidelines for Ecuador will have to be reconsidered and focus in particular on heat evacuation problems instead of heating demand reduction.
KeywordsGlobal warming Climate change mitigation and adaptation Social housing Ecuador
This study is part of the PROMETEO project ‘Energy Certification of Houses in Ecuador Related to Climatic Observations’ awarded by the government of Ecuador to the main author for the period 2015–2016.
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