How to Keep Your House Comfortable in Tropical Climate

Have you ever visited your relatives, friends, or colleagues and found the fact that their house was very hot and hot? Or maybe your own home always feels hot and hot? Well, here is to discuss “How to Keep Your House Comfortable in Tropical Climate” which might be of use to you.

The heat in the house can appear and be influenced by many things. However, the heat conditions in our homes can actually be overcome in ways that are quite simple and inexpensive.

The condition of Indonesia which is in tropical climates that get enough sunlight every year contributes to the micro-climate conditions in our homes.

In addition to the scattering of sunlight which is very rich each year, tropical climates also tend to have relatively high characteristics of air humidity. Air humidity is simply the level of moisture in the air. The more humid the air is, the less comfortable it is for human inhabitants.

Actually, the things that will be discussed in this article are a little discussed in another article, “Two Important Things for Your Urban Home“.

However, the contents of this article are intended to enrich / complement the article considering there are some other important additional things.

Then, how are the tricks or ways to make the house cool and comfortable even though it is located in the tropics?

Key Factors to Make Your House Cool and Comfy

Before heading there, I want to ask a question for us to ponder.

Have you ever visited and entered a traditional architecture house like a Joglo house, or a colonial architecture (Dutch colonial heritage) in your neighborhood?

If you have ever visited and entered traditional homes and colonial buildings, surely you will feel the microclimate conditions in buildings that are cooler than if you are in a modern building such as a supermarket or mall (which is without air conditioning) for example.

If you pay attention, I’m sure you yourself have got answers to questions at the beginning of this paper.

How to Keep Your House Comfortable in Tropical Climate
Marba Biilding in Semarang Old CIty as part of colonial architecture heritage. (Source: dokumentasi penulis)

If you pay attention to traditional buildings such as joglo houses for example, then some of the following are usually found.

Joglo houses that are complete and original are usually equipped with pendhapa (open space, consisting only of floors, poles and roofs), pringgitan (transitional space between the pendhapa and the main house / dalem), then the main house / dalem in which there is senthong kiwa ( left room) and senthong tengen (right room) and central senthong (main room).

I will not discuss the philosophy, but because the context we are discussing is related to the microclimate conditions in the room, we will discuss the physical elements that affect the coolness and comfort of the room.

In the context of a Javanese traditional house (in this case Joglo House), the forming elements are like pendhapa (open space without walls and quite wide), the shape of the roof is like ‘hat’ or ‘caping’, and its constituent materials are from wood each gives its own influence.

Pendhapa for example, its character without walls / bulkhead and only consists of roofs with a large enough area allows air movement / air change in the area of ​​the house to be quite good.

This very easy air exchange in the pendhapa area certainly ensures that the hot air is immediately replaced with cooler / cooler air.

Combined with the direction of the joglo house facing south (the southern sea), this cool air will easily be blown off and enter the main house especially during the day and bring coolness in the inner house.

Meanwhile, the shape of a roof such as a hat or caping allows the walls of the house to be protected by a fairly long stretch. This besides helping to create shade, it also functions to overcome tampias during the rainy season.

Whereas building materials, most of which have a cool effect during the day while warm at night.

Now, what about the colonial architecture like the Marba building above?

Apparently, architects in the colonial era were wise enough to take into account the truly tropical climate conditions of Indonesia when they designed and built colonial-style buildings.

A key factor in colonial buildings that contributed to the condition of cool microclimates was a combination of several architectural strategies, namely: high ceilings / ceilings, wide and high openings (doors / windows), and use of traffic and corridors on the outermost layer of the building.

However, besides that, there are also many colonial buildings that introduce “inner courtyard” as breathing space for buildings to help the deepest parts of a building / house in order to get enough supply of fresh and cool air.

In addition, both traditional buildings such as joglo houses and colonial buildings also utilize elements such as plants (trees / shrubs / vines) and water elements (ponds / fountains) to contribute to the cool effects in the room.

How to Keep Your House Comfortable in Tropical Climate
Pondok Tingal, Magelang, near Borobudur (Source: personal archive)
How to Keep Your House Comfortable in Tropical Climate
The use of vegetation in building (Source: private project documentation)
How to Keep Your House Comfortable in Tropical Climate
The use of vegetation on fence (Source: private project documentation)

Well, those are some tips that you can practice if you want the microclimate conditions in your home room to be more comfortable.

As a wrap up, here are some tips or ways on How to Keep Your House Comfortable in Tropical Climate:

  • make sure the floor to ceiling is quite high;
  • if possible, use wide / high openings (doors and windows). Another option is to make a wall that can breathe by installing a block roster with enough area (cross ventilation);
  • make sure the room gets enough shade. You can use tritis, vines, trellis / blinds, trees, etc .;
  • make the space between the ones that function (in a micro-climate, not philosophically) similar to the pendhapa or terrace;
  • use natural building materials such as bamboo or wood;
  • provide additional elements such as a small garden in the house, or if a wider house can be made inner courtyard in the house, or elements of the pool / fountain. Especially for pool elements, it should always be maintained so that it is healthy and does not become a nest of insects.

Maybe some tips are more appropriate to be practiced since the time of planning / designing your house (such as making wide openings of doors and windows, high ceilings), and some can be done even when your house is built / added (adding traces, adding plant elements / vines or trees, adding elements of a pool / fountain, etc.).

However, hopefully some of these tips can help you in making your home conditions more comfortable. Hopefully the article “How to Keep Your House Comfortable in Tropical Climate” is useful for you, all readers.

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