Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Light and Air Circulation Requirements for Tropical House

by Charles Roring in Manokwari West Papua, Indonesia

Having a good and comfortable house has been the dream of every family. A house is a place where a family lives and rests. A house is a construction that protects a family from rain, snow, excessive sun light and cold.


A good house must meet certain technical requirements stipulated by such standards as ISO, DIN, JIS or SNI. As a guide, for instance the minimum requirement for light for a room according to SNI is 20% of the floor area. It means if the size of a bedroom is 4m x 4m = 16 m2 then the window area should at least be 20% x 16 m2 = 3.2 m2. Usually a living room needs more light than a bedroom.

Besides having enough light, a house also needs enough air circulation. This is very important for tropical houses which are always exposed to warm temperature and high humidity. For houses, the openings for air circulation should be at least 5% from the floor area. For office buildings which accommodate more people during work hours, the openings should be at least 10%. In tropical region, people like to construct the walls higher to make to house cooler.

In Indonesia a good house does not only need sufficient light and air circulation but also strength to withstand earthquakes. When people in big cities use steel bars to strengthen their buildings, villagers prefer to use wood and bamboo. These materials can easily be found in remote regions in affordable prices. For hundreds of years wooden houses have protected the buildings from collapse during the earthquakes. Earthquakes happen in Indonesia nearly every year because this country is located in a ring of fire area. I will discuss more about this matter in another article.

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