Development of an energy labeling for houses in Thailand
In Thailand, residential houses are a crucial contributor on the country’s energy demand and greenhouse gas emission. In 2010, it was reported that the houses consumed electrical energy of about 33.3 TWh, accounting for a quarter of the whole electricity generation. According to the country power generation mix, this consumption is responsible to the carbon dioxide emission of 25,280 kTon.
Traditional Thai house design evolves under the prevalent climate and is comfortable. Nowadays, urbanization, shrinking family size, proliferation and ready available of steel, cement, and concrete as construction materials, change in life style, and increasing penetration of air-conditioning and hot water heating all are factors that have influenced on design and choice of materials for modern housing construction and household energy consumption. It is anticipated that the energy consumption from Thai’s residential sector will increase by two folds of that of the year 2010 in the next twenty years.
Energy labeling for houses is an effective policy tool that fosters the construction of energy-efficient houses and eventually leads to the sustainable urban development. Currently, the energy labeling has been implemented to improve the house’s performance to curb the electrical energy use in various countries. By means of a rating, the energy label provides an indication of the house’s performance. In some developed countries, all houses offered for sale must have an energy label. The rationale is that houses with a better energy rating will be more attractive to potential buyers or tenants than those with less energy-efficiency. The energy labeling will encourage real-estate companies and house owners to more invest in energy conservation measures.
At the Building Energy Science and Technology Laboratory, Joint Graduate School of Energy and Environment (JGSEE), King Mongkut’s University of Technology Thonburi (KMUTT), a research program has been undertaken with an objective to develop an energy rating scheme suitable for Thai’s house context. Among the program activities, a field survey was conducted to investigate the characteristics of the current Thai’s houses, living styles and resulting energy use. The indoor environments of the surveyed houses were also assessed in terms of thermal comfort and interior illuminance level.
The results were then used to establish a baseline situation of the houses in Thailand. In this program, researches have also been carried out to establish an energy rating scheme for house’s envelope, lighting, and air-conditioning. Sufficient natural ventilation was set as the mandated requirement of the proposed scheme to ensure houses to meet acceptable thermal comfort level without air-conditioning. An energy equation and a sustainability index were developed for rating the overall performance of houses in terms of energy efficiency and carbon dioxide emission. With the scheme rating, it can also advise how the house can be improved for higher energy efficiency and more sustainability.