September 2, 2018 Shading

Shading Options You Can Consider if You Live in India


Prof. Ashok B. Lall is an eminent architect and principal of Ashok B Lall Architects in Delhi. The firm has executed several well-known projects in India, including the headquarters of Development Alternatives in New Delhi. Prof. Lall is a strong advocate of low energy sustainable architecture. He also engages in architectural education and is a visiting professor at Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, New Delhi.

This is the second part of a 2-part series on using shading to keep your home naturally cool.  You can read the first part titled External Shading Should be Used More Often to Keep Your Home Naturally Cool here.

When we talk about using shading for thermal comfort, we need to go back to the basics to understand that keeping a building cool in hot climates is about how you let daylight in without letting the sun in directly. For this we focus on the fact that the sun moves in a particular trajectory across the sky depending on where you live. As seasons change and the time of day changes, the intensity of the sun will also change. So how shading in used in your building design needs to respond to this trajectory and changes in movements.

A very effective solution to deal with this is the use moveable shades. An External Moveable System, or what we call external movable shading system (EMSYS), works for buildings with any orientation, at any time of the day, and at any location. However, EMSYS is not as easily available in Indian markets as they are in more developed countries. BEEP is working with innovators and technical experts to come up with options that fit the Indian context. It is expected that there will be significant development on what kind of EMSYS homeowners can opt for in the future.

Depending on your requirement you can also strike a happy balance between static and moveable shade. In India, this will be more cost effective and better from a durability and maintenance point of view. A great example of a combination of moveable and static shades is the chiks that are used in many Indian homes. They are easy to install, roll up and down as needed, and are not too heavy on the pockets.

Unfortunately, this kind of information, more often than not remains with the architects, the building industry, and those with technical knowhow.  Using shading to make homes more thermally comfortable is not a new idea. But it is not being used as much as it should be, given the weather conditions we usually have in India. For this to change, those who are designing and building homes will have to be more creative and take a lead in making homes more thermally comfortable, which also being energy efficient. Once this happens homeowners will also experience that simple solutions, such as using shades to keep homes cool, are options that benefits their pocket as well as the environment.

Ashok B Lall
Written by Ashok B Lall