Cool Living Heritage in Southeast Asia: Sustainable Alternatives to Air-conditioned Cities

Researchers: Dr Tim Winter, Professor Donald McNeill, Associate Professor Johannes Widodo, Dr Jiat-Hwee Chang
Australian Research Council (opens in a new window), Discovery Project
Partner: Department of Architecture, National University of Singapore (opens in a new window)
Period: 2012-2014
Fact sheet (opens in a new window) (PDF, 181KB)

The challenges of reducing the carbon emissions of buildings are significant and complex. In response, this project focuses on electronic air-conditioning and considers the degree to which traditional, less energy intensive alternatives to thermal comfort can be maintained and reinstated.

This project focuses on alternatives to electronic air-conditioning to encourage more sustainable urban lifestyles in Southeast Asia. It traces the historical emergence of climate-controlled interiors as spaces through which visions and expectations about national standards of living, comfort, productivity and leisure have coalesced.

A wide array of tradition-based, low-carbon thermal comfort alternatives to air-conditioning are examined, and the degree to which these can be reinstates within current discussions about urban planning and the design is investigated by the team. The project addresses a significant aspect of built environment sustainability and contemporary urban culture in a dynamic and rapidly developing part of the world.

The Cool Living Heritage project has been featured as a case study in the Australian Government's newly published Australian Innovation System Report 2013. The report can be read on the Department of Industry website (opens in a new window).