The traditional architecture could be one of the key issues for sustainable building design for different climates and cultures. They are well matched and adapted to the climates and cultures by using local building materials and techniques. However, traditional forms of architecture are decreasing dramatically, being replaced by artificial materials, modern designs and alien technology. We need strong policies and sound research to sustain the concepts and practicalities of traditional architecture. Thus, in this study, we will discuss the thermal environment and improvements of traditional houses in Nepal by relating these to the thermal comfort, firewood consumption and indoor air quality.
The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of room temperature on physiological and subjective responses to bathing in the elderly and the young. Dressing room temperatures were 10, 15, 20 and 25 °C (50%RH). Eight healthy young and eight elderly males stayed in the dressing room for 5 minutes, and bathed to a water temperature of 40°C for 8 minutes. After bathing, the subjects were exposed to the dressing room for 10 minutes. Systolic blood pressure (SBP), skin temperatures and thermal sensation were measured before, during and after bathing. In the dressing room, mean skin temperatures of the elderly at 10 and 15 °C were significantly higher than the young, and the elderly did not complain of the cold in the dressing room or of the hot water as much as the young did. SBPs of the elderly at 10, 15 and 20°C showed significantly greater increase before and after bathing. On the other hand, there were small increases in SBPs for the young only at 10 and 15°C. The decreases in SBP of the elderly during bathing were significantly greater than those in the young, especially in a colder dressing room. These physiological and subjective responses during winter bathing put the elderly at high risk of serious complications which lead to drowning in bathrooms. It is recommended that minimum bathroom and dressing room temperatures be higher for the elderly than the young, and between 20 and 25°C.
Time is a fundamental dimension of life. Previous studies reported that time perception is affected by several physiological and psychological factors (age, gender, time of day, flickering stimulus, etc). Light exerts visual and non-visual effects with respect to biological rhythms. However, it has not been confirmed that perception of the passage of time could be affected by the light environment. In this study, we investigated the physiological and psychological responses when subjects were exposed to different monochromatic light environments (there were four conditions of light intensity that varied by illuminance and irradiance). We evaluated the time sense by time tests of 180 s and 600 s. The results showed that the time sense runs significantly faster in a red light condition than in any other monochromatic light condition (green, blue I and blue II which is approximate half irradiance compared with blue I) in a 180-s time production task. However, in the 600-s estimation time task, the time sense tended to be significantly faster in the red light condition than in the blue I or blue II light conditions, and in the green light condition the time sense ran significantly faster than in the blue I light condition. There was no significant difference in color factor in P300 which is one of evoked potential components measured with electroencephalography (EEG), however, a significant trend was found in amplitudes of P300, which showed that the cognitive level tended to be high in the blue II light condition. The EEG alpha wave amplitude significantly increased in the green light condition compared to the amplitude in the blue I light condition. The results of SDPTG which is an index of autonomic nervous system measured with photoplethysmography (PPG), in which there was a significant trend to be faster in the blue I light condition than in the green or blue II light conditions, showed that blue light might have a sympathomimetic effect. There was no significant difference in color factor in the subjective assessments, except the subjects felt more eyestrain in the blue II than in the red light condition. These results indicate that the perception of the passage of time ran faster in the red-light than in the other light conditions. We suggest that red light has an active effect in a short time interval through the visual processing pathway and decays with time. The blue light seems to have a sustained effect on the central nervous system, but people may not be responsive to a short time interval exposure to blue light.
China’s building energy consumption increased 2.5 times from 1996 to 2008, and it accounts for about 23% of the total energy consumption in the whole country. The energy consumption in the cities and towns in North China reaches nearly 4.5EJ, which is about 25% of the total energy consumption in buildings. District heating system is the most popular, with the heating floor area of about 7.5 billion m2. The co-generation system and the central boiler system are often used. These days the government pays much more attention to building energy saving, and the related policies and financial support for the promotion of renewable energy resources. In many cities, some small boilers have been replaced by the ground source heat pumps. In this paper the investigation of some geothermal heat pump plants in Shenyang is also introduced.