Efficient classroom lighting and its environmental consequences in schools in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Tran, Thanh Van (2010) Efficient classroom lighting and its environmental consequences in schools in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Doctoral thesis, London Metropolitan University.


This research examines the current lighting conditions and its thermal comfort consequences in classrooms of secondary schools in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
Although improving school infrastructure has received a lot of attention recently, there have been several reports on poor visual comfort in the city's school classrooms. Therefore, it is necessary to conduct a full architectural investigation on the current conditions to evaluate how visually comfortable the students and teachers are.
Daylight has always been recommended as the best source of classroom lighting in most of the current design guide-lines. Since Ho Chi Minh City is located within the tropical belt there is a good potential to improve the daylight benefit in the school classrooms, but inappropriate improvement may also lead to worsening thermal comfort conditions. Therefore, the main discussion of this research focuses on the daylight performance of the classiooms and its pertinent consideration on thermal comfort consequences.
The research is structured in three parts.
The first part of this study identifies the major factors that may have significant impact on classroom visual and thermal comfort. It includes an in-depth review of the natural and social settings and the relevant literature.
The second part examines current conditions of a sample of four classrooms, using theoretical methods and analysing data recorded from the site surveys consisting of both site measurements and users comfort questionnaire.
The third part provides a summary of the findings and suggestions.
In light of these discussions, it is revealed that both social and technical factors have significant impact on the development of classroom design. It is found that 55.5% of the students and 37.0% of the teachers are not satisfied with the visual comfort quality and 50.45% of the students and 49.45% of the teachers are not happy about the thermal comfort quality. It is further revealed that the current Vietnamese lighting and thermal comfort codes require revisions; particularly daylight calculation methods used in the codes are not appropriate for Ho Chi Minh City. It is also discovered that the users' preferred visual and thermal comfort conditions may be different from what are predicted by the current codes, and students and teachers have different comfort preferences.
From these findings, this research amends some comfort parameters that may be more appropriate for school classrooms in Ho Chi Minh City. Particularly, it is suggested that school classrooms should have an effective window-to-floor ratio of 10% to have adequate daylight contribution. It is recommended that the neutral thermal comfort temperature be 29.3C and the width of the comfort zone to be ±2'C.
in summary, this research provides a full review of the current architectural conditions, furthered by an investigation to identify the sources of problems and finally establishes some recommendations that not only contributes to the current literature of classroom lighting but would also useful to other fields of study.

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