Thermal discomfort levels, building design concepts, and some heat mitigation strategies in low-income communities of a South Asian city

Sana Ehsan, Farhat Abbas, Muhammad Ibrahim, Bashir Ahmad, Aitazaz A. Farooque

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Heat stress provokes thermal discomfort to people living in semiarid and arid climates. This study evaluates thermal discomfort levels, building design concepts, and some heat mitigation strategies in low-income neighborhoods of Faisalabad, Pakistan. The outdoor and indoor weather data are collected from April to August 2016 using a weather station installed ad hoc in urban settings, and the 52 houses of the five low-income participating communities living in congested and less environment-friendly areas of Faisalabad. The discomfort index values, related to the building design concepts, including (i) house orientation to sunlight and (ii) house ventilation, are calculated from outdoor and indoor dry-bulb and wet-bulb temperatures. Our results show that although June was the hottest month of summer 2016, based on the monthly mean temperature of the Faisalabad region, the month of May produced the highest discomfort levels, which were higher in houses exposed to sunlight and without ventilation. The study also identifies some popular heat mitigation strategies adopted by the five participating low-income communities during various heat-related health complaints. The strategies are gender-biased and have medical, cultural/customary backgrounds. For example, about 52% of the males and 28% of the females drank more water during dehydration, diarrhea, and eye infection. Over 11% and 19% of the males and females, respectively, moved to cooler places during fever. About 43% of the males and 51% of the females took water showers and rested to combat flu (runny nose), headache, and nosebleed. The people did not know how to cure muscular fatigue, skin allergy (from a type of Milia), and mild temperature. Planting trees in an area and developing open parks with greenery and thick canopy trees can be beneficial for neighborhoods resembling those evaluated in this study.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2535
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Volume18
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2021
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Arid regions
  • Climate change
  • Congested areas
  • Heat stress
  • Ventilation

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