THERMAL COMFORT -THERMAL MASS: HOUSING IN HOT DRY CLIMATES

Isaac Meir, Roaf S.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

Abstract

The concept of thermal mass as a means of ameliorating diurnal temperature swings seems to be ideally suited for hot dry regions, which are characterized by wide daily temperature fluctuation in summer, and a considerable number of sunny days in winter. Furthermore, recent years in Israel (and the Middle East in general) have been following a worrying pattern of climate changes and "freak" weather events. Under such conditions, within an energy market where demand grows faster than supply, and with an ever increasing awareness of the environmental consequences of uncontrolled energy consumption patterns, thermal mass and its storage potential seem to be one of the most appropriate strategies to deal with energy conservation and thermal comfort issues within the broader framework of indoor air quality (Givoni, 1976). A SHORT NOTE ON HOT DRY REGIONS AND CLIMATE CHANGE One of the most profound characteristics of hot dry climates is that of wide fluctuation of temperatures, daily and seasonal. In many arid regions, summer days may be very hot and dry (especially in continental areas and on the mountains), while nights may be cool and even cold. Diurnal swings of 15-20deg.C or more are common with minima often reaching below 15deg.C. Winter days are generally sunny with clear skies, whereas nights are cold, with temperatures close to, and even below zero, frost being a common occurrence. Rainfall is usually limited and concentrated in a small number of downpours during the winter months, resulting in violent floods. Dust and sand storms are common, especially during the transition seasons. Such conditions may vary from year to year, drought being an endemic phenomenon in arid regions. However, in recent years, the Israeli arid south has experienced a strange change in climatic conditions, expressed in an ever increasing occurrence of adverse conditions and "freak" events, both in winter and summer. Hot spells common in summer and the transition seasons, but not unknown in winter, too, may cause a sharp rise in temperature, reaching within a few hours 10deg.C or more above the previous days' maxima. Such conditions may be considered characteristic of a large part of the deserts in the Middle East, although each region's altitude and distance from the sea do play a major role in defining the "continentality factor", and thus the final formation of local meso and microclimate.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIndoor Air 2002
Subtitle of host publicationAt: Monterey, CA
VolumeI
DOIs
StatePublished - 30 Jun 2002

Keywords

  • Arid climate
  • Energy conservation
  • Free running buildings
  • Thermal mass
  • Thermal Comfort

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