Sustainable pre-fabricated composite housing

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisExternal


Housing is scarce in the world but even more so in Africa. The construction of current housing solutions in Africa is costly and requires extensive amount of time, labor and materials. Moreover, considering the climate, overheating is a big challenge to be tackled in buildings. This thesis aims to develop a sustainable pre-fabricated sheltering and housing solution for developing countries in Africa. Toward this aim, after an initial material screening, defining criteria for material selection and performing relevant tests and analyses, a multi-criteria decision analysis is performed to identify the optimum solution. Subsequently, a building design of the proposed materials (sandwich-structure composite) is compared with a typical masonry building in terms of environmental impacts. After thermal analysis of this building, the impact of different passive cooling techniques is investigated in terms of indoor air temperature and thermal comfort of the occupants. By identifying the most effective solution of each technique, their combination is assessed to attain an optimized design. Next, the implementation of the proposed building is evaluated in rural areas of Nairobi by determining two levels of energy demand and required cooling and heating energy. The feasibility of energy self-sufficiency is then investigated by designing a stand-alone photovoltaic system. Moreover, the impact of supply of load probability on required power of photovoltaic (PV) array is studied by evaluating different PV technologies. The designed system is then compared with an alternative grid extension to evaluate the environmental benefits of this solution. Finally, the life cycle cost of the proposed building is evaluated and compared with a comparable masonry building throughout their life cycle. Different sensitivity analyses are also performed to assess the influence of parameters such as construction cost, climate and discount and inflation rates. The results demonstrate that the proposed building is a sustainable, passive and energy self-sufficient sheltering and housing solution and that these new technologies can be used to significantly improve the lives of a large number of people and communities.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Universidade do Porto
  • Correia, Nuno André Curado Mateus, Supervisor, External person
  • Gregory, Jeremy, Supervisor, External person
  • Mendes, Adélio Miguel Magalhães, Supervisor, External person
  • Leal, Vítor Manuel da Silva, Supervisor, External person
Award date22 Sep 2016
Publication statusPublished - 22 Sep 2016
Externally publishedYes

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