In cities like Chennai that are particularly prone to hotter days and humid climate year round, it is important to plan the structure and orientation of your home to respond well to its surroundings and climatic changes.
As global temperatures continue to rise, the summers in India are also getting hotter. In most prominent cities, where lakes are drying out and trees are being uprooted, not having enough greenery in and around your neighbourhood can make your home feel like a boiling cauldron. Lack of enough water bodies, trees and other foliage leads to a lack of proper ventilation, forcing you to rely on expensive, non-energy efficient alternatives like air conditioners.
Here are some orientation tips to efficiently combat the scorching heat and humidity:
Building Orientation – Exterior Orientation
To avoid heat absorption, the settlements of the structure should preferably be placed on the southern or northern slopes, facing away from the equator as they receive less sun exposure compared to the east-west slopes. This is because the areas located near the equatorial zones of the globe are prone to more humidity.
The houses should be spaced away from each other to avoid obstruction of wind flow and maximise the scope for cross ventilation
Windows & Roofing
To maintain a desirable temperature indoors, it is ideal to have a large opening that encourages clear air flow without obstructions. Using louver windows are a good option as they allow air and light to enter while keeping heat and moisture out. A double-layered roofing of the house also enhances passive cooling in summers.
Having maximum shade in the direction resisting sunlight will help keep the house cooler.
This method of cross ventilation (as shown in the picture) helps prevent the trapping of heat at corners, which will end up creating moisture and wear out the interiors.
Leveraging The Green Cover
Having the right vegetation around your house can contribute towards providing shade, maximise air flow, and its cooling effects. Adding greenery on roofs and walls helps provide clean and filtered air.
Planting tall trees (deciduous trees) around the house will help provide relief from the constant humidity. You should, however, avoid having large and dense canopy trees near windows and open spaces as they block sunlight and breeze as shown in the image below.