Sustainable Construction in the Tropical Humid Zone (1st Edition)

Updated 04/27/2021


Training presentation

The tropical zone is home to about half of the world's population. Much of this zone enjoys a relatively mild humid climate. Vernacular architectures were able to take advantage of the climate and local materials to produce comfortable buildings that meet the needs of the occupants. Unfortunately, this environmentally friendly approach has become quite rare in modern construction. The current underlying trend is rather towards a standardized, globalist and non-contextualized architecture, and an immoderate use of concrete, glass and metal. And finally, one frequently sees outdoor units of air conditioners covering the facades of many buildings.

This 1st edition of the MOOC offers to reverse this trend by providing an update of the bioclimatic principles relevant to the tropical humid zones, giving a panoramic vision of the disciplines to be mastered for designing a sustainable building. This MOOC will be presented in English; some parts of the MOOC will, however, be accessible in local languages for participants from Indonesia, Thailand and Viet Nam.

A MOOC in French on the same topic has been presented by ADEME in the past, designed by Solener Consulting (and 6 experts) with the support of MOOC Unow Agency.

Visit the MOOC's website

Watch the teaser

View the Linkedin page

Format and organization of training

The training is divided into 3 modules. From 20th April 2021, and for three weeks, a new module opens every Tuesday to give rhythm to your learning. You will then have 3 additional weeks to complete the training, especially by engaging yourself in the proposed activities.

In this MOOC, you will find course videos of short duration (about 5-6 minutes), case studies of exemplary buildings, testimonials, examples, and application exercises. There are only two slots to be blocked: these are the virtual classes where you will have the opportunity to have live discussion with your trainers, ask questions and clarify your doubts. The dates will be communicated to you when the MOOC is launched.

The workload is estimated to be 2 to 3 hours per week, but according to your interest and your availability, you may devote more time to go deeper into the subject by consulting the additional resources (reading materials, examples, quizzes, exercises…).

Target audience

Building practitioners (architects, engineers, contractors, builders involved in the design of buildings and management of building projects); students, scientists and researchers interested in specializing in low-energy buildings.

Learning objectives

  • Get a panoramic view of the main disciplines to be mastered for designing and constructing a sustainable building in tropical humid zone
  • Learn how to mobilize human resources and suitable tools needed to optimize the design of a sustainable building
  • Acquire a shared common culture in terms of constructing with low energy and environmental impacts
  • Engage in an enriching dialogue among the various players in the building industry
  • Learn about exemplary achievements in tropical humid zones

Training plan

1st Week – Building with the climate: scope in tropical humid zones

  • Parameters of comfort
  • Building practices: learning from the past
  • Challenges of building in tropical humid zones
  • Designing buildings to suit the local climate
  • Minimizing internal heat loads
  • Strategy to design buildings for the future
  • Life cycle impacts of buildings

2nd Week – Approaches and methodological steps

  • Urbanism and sustainable neighbourhood design
  • Climate responsive building design
  • Design methodologies for naturally conditioned buildings
  • Lowering embodied energy in buildings
  • Highly adapted design in constrained environments
  • Optimizing energy use in buildings
  • The overall cost approach applied to buildings

3rd Week – Feedback from experiences and the role of building users

  • The role of stakeholders in the construction chain
  • Client-side planning
  • Key role of building occupants
  • Computer tools to assess building energy performance
  • Sharing experiences of low-energy buildings


At the end of each of the 3 weeks of the MOOC, the knowledge you have acquired will be assessed using questionnaires. These questionnaires will be graded. You will be able to view your results and assess to what extent you have learned from the MOOC, from the "Progress" area. The participants who can spare adequate time on “Additional Resources” will be able to better respond to the questionnaires.

An activity, based on a real case of a building in a tropical zone, will also be shared with you so that you can put in practice what you learn from the videos. Though this exercise will not be graded, you will get opportunity to discuss the results with the trainers and fellow participants.


At the end of the training, you will receive a certificate of successful participation if you complete the 3 evaluation questionnaires and obtain a minimum of 70% correct answers.  This training certificate can allow you to highlight this MOOC on your CV/biodata.

Overall MOOC coordination

Dr. Brahmanand Mohanty (India)
Brahmanand Mohanty serves the Agency for Ecological Transition (ADEME) as its regional advisor for Asia. He has been a faculty for over 3 decades in the Department of Energy at the Asian Institute of Technology, Thailand. He was instrumental in developing the Low Energy in Tropical Climate for Housing Innovation (LETCHI) platform as a network of building energy experts from the tropics.


Dr. Muhammad Nur Fajri Alfata (Indonesia)
Muhammad Nur Fajri Alfata is a researcher at the Directorate of Engineering Affairs for Human Settlements and Housing, Ministry of Public Works and Housing of Indonesia. His areas of research include thermal comfort, passive cooling, low-energy and smart building. He is co-founder of International Building Performance Simulation Association (IBPSA), Indonesia Chapter. 
Ir. Tang Chee Khoay (Malaysia)
Tang Chee Khoay provides consultancy on ways to improve and accelerate the adoption of sustainable buildings under tropical climate. He has been conducting building performance simulation in Malaysia to predict and understand building behaviour and energy use. Many of the energy efficient demonstration buildings in Malaysia have been designed and fine-tuned by him.
Dr. Rahula Attalage (Sri Lanka)
Rahula Attalage is the Dean, faculty of Graduate Studies and Research, Sri Lanka Institute of Information Technology, Sri Lanka. His research focus is on modelling, simulation and optimization aspects of buildings and their surroundings. The application areas are the integration of energy efficient and sustainable technologies into buildings, natural ventilation and hybrid energy systems.
Dr. Narein Perera (Sri Lanka)
Narein Perera is a faculty in the Department of Architecture, University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka. His research encompasses urban scale studies that focus on climate sensitive design and include “Local Climate Zone” based approaches to urban planning. He promotes passive design strategies to ensure daylight integration, thermal comfort and overall energy efficiency.
Dr. Atch Sresthaputra (Thailand)
Atch Sresthaputra is an Associate Professor in the Department of Architecture, Chulalongkorn University, Thailand. He is well known for his engagement in sustainable buildings, and well-being design. His research areas include thermal comfort, building energy efficiency, and heat and air flow in and around buildings using thermal simulation and computational fluid dynamics programs.
Arch. Chalermwat Tantasavasdi (Thailand)
Chalermwat Tantasavasdi is an Associate Professor at Thammasart Design School, Thailand. His research focus is on built environment design and integrative approach of energy efficiency for generic buildings through passive design. He has been working with both governmental agencies and real estate companies in developing low-cost energy efficient building prototypes for the tropics.
Eng. Ma Khai Hien (Viet Nam)
Ma Khai Hien is the Director of ENERTEAM, a leading sustainable energy consulting firm in Viet Nam. He has been the Team Leader of numerous sustainable projects, including the demonstration building activities in the framework of the Energy Efficiency Building Code. He is experienced in building energy modelling, concept designing and benchmarking of the building sector.
Arch. Nguyen Ngoc Tu (Viet Nam)
Nguyen Ngoc Tu provides consulting on energy efficient buildings. She works on demonstration projects to support the building design in order to fulfil the requirements of the Vietnamese Energy Efficiency Building Code or go beyond in order to achieve a significant reduction in energy use. She also works on certification of green building projects and building energy simulation.

Terms of usage

All published data and contributions from participants within the framework of the MOOC are under a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND License: if any material is used elsewhere, the user must mention the name of the author. The user may use the contents except for commercial purposes and no changes should be made to the original work.


Lead Organisation: ADEME

Here at ADEME - The French Agency for Ecological Transition - we are firmly committed to fighting global warming and the depletion of our natural resources. On all fronts, we mobilise citizens, economic actors and territories towards a fairer, more harmonious, low carbon and resource-efficient society. Whatever the field - energy, circular economy, food, mobility, air quality, adaptation to climate change, soils, etc. - we advise, facilitate and help finance many projects, from research to solutions sharing. At every level, our expertise and forecasting capacities serve to guide and inform public policies.
ADEME is a public agency under the joint authority of the Ministry for an Ecological Transition and the Ministry for Higher Education, Research and Innovation.

Partner: LETCHI Network

The Low Energy in Tropical Climate for Housing Innovation (LETCHI) platform serves as a network of architects and building energy professionals in tropical zones, dedicated to the promotion of the bioclimatic design of buildings (mostly residential), by providing case studies and other resources from countries represented in the network. Experts of this network have been actively involved in the MOOC as developers and trainers.

Partner: PEEB

PEEB combines financing for energy efficiency in large-scale projects with technical assistance through policy advice to governments and expertise for building sector professionals. PEEB was initiated by the governments of France and Germany and is implemented by Agence Française de Développement (AFD), Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ GmbH) and the French Agency for Ecological Transition (ADEME). The Programme for Energy Efficiency in Buildings (PEEB) is currently funded by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU), the French Ministry for an Ecological Transition (MTE), the Agence Française de Developpement (AFD) and the French Facility for Global Environment (FFEM). PEEB is catalysed by the Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction (GABC).