Effect of building plan form on human thermal comfort in naturally ventilated open-plan enclosures located in hot climates

Omar S. Asfour*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


This study aims to examine the effect of building plan form on internal thermal comfort conditions in naturally ventilated open-plan buildings located in hot climates. The study examined the square and the rectangular plan forms in relation to several values of wind direction, building plan depth, and climatic conditions. The study utilised CFD for ventilation prediction, DesignBuilder for thermal modelling, and the Tropical Summer Index (TSI) for thermal comfort assessment. These three tools were integrated in a quantitative approach to fulfil the study aim. The study concluded that the use of area-weighted average velocity magnitude is more accurate in the assessment of natural ventilation performance, as it accounts for both internal velocity magnitude and distribution. The study confirmed the common observation that the use of shallow building plans is more effective to increase internal air velocity and improve internal thermal comfort. At some point of increased plan depth, the internal air velocity magnitude dramatically decreases. In the three examined wind directions, this occurred when the plan depth exceeded 3H in the square cases and 2.5H in the rectangular ones, where H is the building height. This value is much less than the commonly recommended maximum value of 5H. The study also concluded that reducing building depth in the square cases has generally more potential to improve thermal comfort conditions when compared with the rectangular cases. The gross increase in Percentage of People Comfortable, PPC, in all the examined cases was 23% in the square cases, compared to 11% in the rectangular cases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)112-129
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Green Building
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017, College Publishing. All rights reserved.


  • Buildings
  • Hot climate
  • Natural ventilation
  • Open-plan
  • Thermal comfort

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • General Environmental Science
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Architecture


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