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Passive Ventilation of Modern and Traditional Malay Houses

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Architecture
Wordcount: 3737 words Published: 1st May 2018

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Comparing the Passive Ventilation Style of Modern Malay House in Belum Rainforest Resort With the Common Traditional Malay House in Malaysia.


The objectives of the research is to compare the passive ventilation style of Modern Malay House in Belum Rainforest Resort with the common Traditional Malay House in Malaysia. The research questions are what are the comparison of passive ventilation in Modern Malay House in Belum with the common Traditional Malay House. Secondly. how does the orientation of building affect the passive ventilation. Finally. How does the the passive ventilation system works for Modern Malay House in Belum Rainforest Resort and Common Traditional Malay House in Malaysia. These are the list of methodology that being used to help my research. Site observation at Belum Rainforest Resort. internet research. articles and books. My analysis of methodology is by studying and comparing the details of these two houses that are related to the passive ventilation. The result is i found that Modern Malay House in Belum is lack of details that contribute to passive ventilation system. Common Traditional Malay house is still the best since it gives spotlight more on the passive ventilation. In a nutshell. house that focus more on the passive ventilation are much better since it reduce the humidity and produces a good thermal comfort in a building. In future. i hope that people will design buildings that concentrate more on the passive ventilation rather than design.


What is Architecture ? The definition of Architecture is the art or practice of designing and constructing buildings. Architects are the one who runs the world. They create an enjoyment story in every building that they design so that the world would not be as boring as it is. When it comes to architecture world it is super wide and it consist of many different styles and techniques. Every country have their own styles of designing to express their country ‘s uniqueness. One of the best design in the world is the building that meet the need and pretty much response to the climate. Also. It needs to know about the microclimates and the climate zone. know the basic physiology of human thermal comfort. reduce the loads and enhance visual comfort by controlling the sun. Thermal mass are used to improved the comfort efficiency and to pick a space-conditioning strategies that are climatic responsive. Vernacular architecture is one of the architecture style that take seriously on all of this criteria when designing a building. Vernacular Architecture is being refer as a traditional buildings that are designed to meet the local climate and culture. They design with using a deep understanding together with a respect towards the nature. Vernacular architecture can be called as a sustainable architecture as well since it are also built to sustain the environment without destroying it. Vernacular architecture tends to evolve time after time to reflect the technological. reflect the historical context in which it exist. reflect the cultural and also reflect the environment. This style of architecture used the local resources and available energy and materials. so it can refer accordingly to the climate. site and culture. The most common basic function in vernacular architecture is to shield and protect from the weather conditions.

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Passive cooling system can not be separate from the vernacular architecture as they are greatly related together. Passive cooling is a building design approach that targets on the heat gain control and heat dissipation in a building in order to improve the indoor thermal comfort with lower or zero energy usage. A good orientation of a building. proper design layout and system used in a building will allow the passive ventilation system be in the building. Ventilation is the main criteria in passive cooling system as it is the one that move the air from outside building to the inside so that it can improve the thermal comfort of a building. And my case study is to compare the passive ventilation of Modern Malay House in Belum Rainforest Resort , Perak with a common Traditional Malay House in Malaysia.

2.0 – An Overview of the Modern Malay House in Belum Rainforest Resort. Perak. Malaysia

As stated on Malaysia’s online website. Malaysia is a country that being classified as a country that have a hot climate and humid tropical climate with all months above 18 degree Celcius. Belum Rainforest Resort is the place which I picked for my case study. Belum Rainforest Resort is located on the northern part of Malaysia and just below the boundary of the other country which is Thailand. Belum Rainforest Resort is located in the middle of jungle which is surrounded by the water element from the Lake of Banding or Tasik Banding.

This make the place a great become as a great place for the passive cooling design.


Extracted from http://lensahijau.blogspot.com/2012/10/the-establishment-of-air-house-standard_18.html

The Malay House in Belum was design to be modern but yet still maintaining the basic element of Traditional Malay House. The photo below is one of the Modern Malay House in Belum Rainforest Resort.


Extracted from http://www.maplandia.com/malaysia/perak/gerik/hotels/belum-rainforest-resort/

The similarity of this modern malay house with the traditional malay house in Malaysia is they used completely 100 per cent wood as the main material for construction.

3.0– What are the Comparison of Passive Ventilation on the Modern Malay House in Belum Rainforest Resort with Common Traditional Malay House in Malaysia ?

A traditional Malay House produce the ventilation by applying many of full length windows and doors at the body level. ( Yuan, 1987: 76 ). Hassan and Ramli ( 2010 ) conclude that Huge openings on Malay house walls produce high air intakes outside to lowering the performance of stack effect. The below diagram stated clearly that. most of the outdoor and indoor temperatures were higher than 28 degree Celcius with the humidity level in the house is higher than 60 per cent and the wind speed in Malay house flow in about 0.3 m / s to 3.4 m / s.


Extracted from http://lensahijau.blogspot.com/2012/10/the-establishment-of-air-house- standard_18.html

There are several comparison that can be found in Modern Malay House in Belum Rainforest Resort. The Modern Malay House in Belum were design using a timber construction. Most of the timber construction are not solid if to compare to a concrete construction due to being build piece by piece. Since it is build piece by piece so it will have a small gaps between a piece and a piece of wood. This small gaps is one of the strategy in passive cooling system. The function of the small gaps is to allow the movement of air into the house so that it could ventilate and automatically improve the indoor environmental quality. Most of the traditional malay house have this thing but if to compare to the modern side of malay house in Belum Rainforest Resort. it does not have this thing. It does not have small gaps on the wall and floor. the small gaps only can be seen on the outside of the house which is on the balcony’s floor. This is not good since it blocks the air from entering into the house. The unique thing about the Malay house is that it is built on stilts. This approach in many ways has several benefits from a thermal, functional and safety point of view. The raised floor, which is built higher than the ground, can catch winds of a higher velocity ( Yuan. 1987 : 71 ). and the use of timber planks for the floor, which have gaps between them, can bring the air into the inner space.


The Balcony area that contain small gaps for air ventilation purpose.


The inner side of the building which does not contain any floor gaps and wall gaps.

Other than that. during my site observation I found that there is no ventilation through roof joint that can be found in the house. This ventilation through roof joint also contribute in Passive Cooling Design. It makes the house produce a large movement of air into the building through the roof joint. Traditional Malay House really focus on the opening so that they can have a good thermal comfort without producing energy that we do not need such as electricity. Also. without opening through the roof joint the stack ventilation system will obviously not happen.


Extracted from http://lensahijau.blogspot.com/2012/10/the-establishment-of-air-house-standard_18.html

  1. – How does the Passive 

Ventilation  System Works for Modern Malay  house in Malaysia and Common Traditional Malay House in  Malaysia ?


Extracted from http://www.belumresort.com/acco_kampung_house.html

The floor plan above shows the floor plan of the Modern Malay House in Belum Rainforest Resort.


Common Traditional Malay House Floor Plan

Extracted from https://www.academia.edu/2377416/Chapter_2_Malaysian_Vernacular_Architecture_and_Its_Relationship_to_Climate

Both Modern Malay House and Traditional Malay House are randomly arranged. This is to ensure that the wind velocity in the houses in the latter path of the wind will not substantially being reduced. Stack ventilation is the flow of air from outside which enter into the building and goes out from the upper side of a the building. Stack ventilation use different temperature to move the air. Hot air increases due to the lower pressure occur. It is sometimes being called as a buoyancy ventilation. The below diagram shows how the stack ventilation basically works.


Extracted from http://sustainabilityworkshop.autodesk.com/buildings/stack-ventilation-and-bernoullis-principle

Stack ventilation is one of the unique ventilation system that happen in a traditional malay house. Based on my observation on the modern malay house in Belum Rainforest Resort. I found that there is no stack ventilation happens on this house since there is no opening through the roof joint for the air to go out. The other problem is this house does lifted up a bit by the stilt but the other problem is that there is no floor gaps for the air to come in from below. This modern malay house in Belum Rainforest Resort does not have the stack ventilation effect  compare to the original traditional malay house. The traditional malay house use the stack ventilation effect to cool the inner side of the house. Stack ventilation makes the movement of the air flow and enter from the opening on the downside and the side of the house. Then the air slowly transfer to the upper side of the house and goes out through the openings on the roof joint.


Extracted from http://malay101.blogspot.com/2012/08/malay-architecture.html

Even the modern malay house in Belum Rainforest Resort does not use the stack ventilation system. they use the other system of ventilation which is the cross ventilation system . Cross ventilation system is obtain when there is windows on the both sides of the room. This caused the air to flow across the space. Since the wind comes the most on the side of the building. Openings on the sideway really helps the modern malay house in Belum Rainforest Resort to give a better thermal comfort. The cross ventilation system is good since it reducing the energy consumption in a building. The below diagram shows the cross ventilation system that happens on modern malay house in Belum Rainforest Resort.

The arrows on the diagram above shows the air movement that flows into the house.

Other than that ,the unplanned arrangement of the Traditional Malay House is really important as it gives contribution in reducing the risk of the strong winds. ( Hanafi. 1994 ). Settlements that are along the coastal areas experience great wind speed than the inland religions. ( Hanafi. 1994 ) Traditional Malay House are usually detached and it dispersed the units with ample external space. This is to allow the fresh air circulation occurs in the building. (Hanafi. 1994 ).


Extracted from https://www.academia.edu/2377416/Chapter_2_Malaysian_Vernacular_Architecture_and_Its_Relationship_to_Climate


Extracted from https://www.google.com.my/maps/@5.5428286,101.341145,187m/data=!3m1!1e3

Photo above is the rough arrangement of modern malay house in Belum Rainforest Resort. The arrangement are based on the linear concept and which it is applying the same concept as the traditional malay house in Malaysia.

  1. – How does the orientation of the building affect the passive ventilation?

Building orientation are really important in malay traditional house. For religious reasons. most traditional Malay houses are oriented to face Mecca(east – west direction) , which indirectly minimizes the area of exposed walls to direct solar radiation during theday (Yuan. 2011). The building orientation also does help in providing good sun shading. and also a good ventilation system. Normally. the Malay Kampong House will be orientate according to the east – west orientation. This orientation function as letting you to harness the daylight and take control of the glare along the long façade of the building. It will reduce the glare from the setting sun or even from the rising sun. One more reason on why east – west orientation is the best orientation is because of it ensures the building to get a better thermal comfort. The photo below show that the not so accurate wind diagram that being taken from the windfinder.com.


Extracted from http://www.windfinder.com/windstatistics/butterworth

Based on my research study I found that most of the wind comes from the Northwest and Northeast side. There is least air comes from the northern and the southern side. This orientation system works pretty well since the modern malay house in Belum Rainforest Resort are orientated using the east west orientation. The window on the modern malay house in Belum Rainforest Resort that located on the side of the house is openable so this can make the wind to flow into the building and circulate in good way. The below photo shows the orientation of the modern malay house in Belum Rainforest Resort.


Extracted from https://www.google.com.my/maps/@5.5428286,101.341145,187m/data=!3m1!1e3

Building that are surrounded by the water element are good for passive cooling design. What I found is Belum Rainforest Resort is surrounded by a big lake which is the Tasik Banding . This Tasik banding contribute pretty well in making the house cooler and achieve the correct standard of thermal comfort. The wind which flow from the Northwest side brings the cool air from the lake and directly enter the building.

  1. – Conclusion

In a nutshell. Malaysia is a country that are meant to be as a hot climate country with a high humidity level. Houses in Malaysia that will be design or already been designed by people need to follow the Malaysia ‘ s climate to achieve a good thermal comfort. Modern Malay House in Belum Rainforest Resort are lack of the original features that suppose to have in every Traditional Malay House. People that design the malay house in Belum are not concentrating on the features anymore. in fact they are more in terms of creating a new building with using a different way to achieve the thermal comfort. The house might look like a malay traditional house when you look it from the farthest distance. but it is totally different when you come closer and study about the details of the house. Modern Malay House in Belum are lack in terms of passive ventilation contribution. The house pretty much does not apply the basic elements of a traditional malay house which is to have the wall gaps and small gaps between the timber for the air to move into the building. This is such a waste since this small features is actually really make the building to achieve a very good environmental indoor quality. The ventilation through the roof joint also is a good thing when it comes to express the stack ventilation system. Since traditional malay house don’t use the electricity more often than a normal building. this stack ventilation really works in every traditional malay house because it reduce the energy consumption and automatically reduce the living cost. Also. stack ventilation makes the traditional malay house to get a maximum ventilation from almost every side of the house which the wind are basically come from the bottom. middle and even from the upper side of the house. Other than that. the layout arrangement in malay house will contribute in making the place become more comfortable. Layout arrangement is one of the criteria in vernacular architecture. this layout arrangement will contribute on the flow of the wind. Last but not least it is important as well to orientate the building in a proper direction. The proper building orientation will make the building to receive a good sun shading device. better air ventilation system so that the building would not be hotter on the inside.



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