Building form and energy efficiency in tropical climates: A case study of Penang, Malaysia

Maryam Mohsenzadeh, Massoomeh Hedayati Marzbali, Mohammad Javad Maghsoodi Tilaki, Aldrin Abdullah


Malaysia is a nation that has undergone a massive development based on its abundance of fuel supply. The imbalance ratio between gross domestic products and energy demand clearly indicates the need to promote energy-efficiency strategies in the country. This study investigates the relationship between building shape and energy consumption by considering the control of excessive solar radiation in a tropical climate. In the first step, four basic plan geometries, namely, square, rectangle, triangle and circle shapes, are studied to determine the optimal building shape in terms of energy consumption in Penang, Malaysia. Results of simulation analysis using DesignBuilder software (Version 5.4.0) reveal that the circle is the most suitable form in terms of energy performance. In the second step, all buildings with extended shapes based on the optimal shape obtained from the first step are simulated under the same condition to analyse the thermal behaviour of different building forms. Amongst four alternative extended cases, Case 3 with 90 cm depth and without vertical offset from the top of the window has superior energy performance and sufficient natural daylight. This study contributes to enhance energy efficiency of new buildings by incorporating design strategies in the design process.


Passive design. building form. shading. energy simulation. daylighting

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