Reducing Urban Heat Island Effect with Thermal Comfort Housing and Honeycomb Townships

Mohd. Peter Davis, Gregers Peter Reimann, Mazlin Ghazali

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingArticle in proceedingsResearch


Serious mistakes have been made in Malaysia’s otherwise highly successful urbanisation over the last 50 years. Urban houses are too hot on about half the days of the year and Kuala Lumpur has become the world’s worse urban heat island on record. However, these problems are not the inevitable consequences of urbanisation and can be corrected in Malaysia and avoided by other developing countries with a sensible application of the technologies outlined in this paper which prevent the thermal mass of houses and roads from absorbing solar radiation. ‘Cool House’ technology, developed at Universiti Putra Malaysia can achieve almost passive thermal comfort without air-conditioning, even on the hottest days of the year. ‘Honeycomb townships’, a recent architectural invention by one of the authors, is a new method of subdividing land which saves greatly on roads, thereby permitting larger gardens and courtyard parks in front of the houses. Large fruit bearing fruit canopy trees can shade nearly half of the township from direct sunlight. The cooler environment and the creation of interconnected diverse microhabitats will allow the introduction of large numbers of birds and small non-aggressive native animals, bringing ‘Watchable Wildlife’ into highly populated urban centres. The adoption of this rather simple technology will potentially save Malaysia RM200 billion (USD52 billion) in saved electricity for air-conditioning urban houses and apartments over a 30 year period. Electricity savings on this scale will greatly benefit other developing countries intending to rapidly urbanise, particularly China, India and Indonesia with much larger populations.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationConference on Sustainable Building : South East Asia
Publication date2005
Publication statusPublished - 2005
EventConference on Sustainable Building : South East Asia - Kuala Lumpur
Duration: 1 Jan 2005 → …


ConferenceConference on Sustainable Building : South East Asia
CityKuala Lumpur
Period01/01/2005 → …


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