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A study on current status of double skin facade in

street houses in Ho Chi Minh City

Nguyen Dai Nhan, Tran Minh Hoang,
Truong Dai Thanh

Le Thi Hong Na

PFIEV Program of Civil Engineering

Ho Chi Minh City University of Technology
Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam

Department of Civil Engineering

Ho Chi Minh City University of Technology
Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam

Abstract The research focuses on assessing the current use of

double skin faade (DSF) in street houses in HCMC. Firstly, the
photos and data of street houses applied DSF in HCMC are
surveyed, collected. Then, advantages and disadvantages of DSF
in these houses are analyzed particularly. Finally, energy saving,
thermal insulation and natural lighting are assessed. The results
of the study can be used for creating the overview of DSF in
Index Terms double skin facade, street house, energy saving,
thermal insulation, natural lighting.

Nowadays, the world in general and Vietnam in particular
are facing with the problem of efficient use of natural energy
sources, and studying how to ensure indoor comforts for
buildings through environmentally friendly ways [1]. That
aims to solve global warming, the lack of energy, especially to
bring nature into modern life. With that goal, DSF was created
and become the preferred choice for designers. Today, around
the world, there are many buildings applied DSF and several
studies conducted to prove the benefits of DSF.
But, the application of DSF depends on natural factors such
as climate, location of building, etc. The true effectiveness of
the second facade should be considered more carefully. In Ho
Chi Minh City (HCMC), the largest city of Vietnam, DSF has
appeared and has been applied to architecture of street houses.
However, there are few studies on its effect. For this reason,
the research is made to give an overview on the current use of
DSF of street houses in HCMC.
DSF is the external facade of houses composed of two
layers of material separated by a layer of movable air. This
distance ranges from a few centimeters to a few meters. The
inner layer is the primary layer covering the house while the
outer layer insulates thermal, prevents the direct radiant heat
transfer into the building. DSF is able to filter air, decrease the
sound intensity, reduce glare, protect, etc. Level of the
effectiveness of the DSF depends structures, materials and
colors of layers [1].
A well-designed DSF can contribute significantly to
improving the indoor environment quality. The portion of the

energy usage of the building is mostly for the HVAC purposes

[2]. So, an effective DSF can also save energy. Depending on
the capabilities and purposes of buildings, every DSF has
different functions, but the most basic ones are ensuring
thermal comfort and saving energy for the project.
One of the best ways of saving energy in a building is by
carefully designing its faade [3].The air flow inside DSF also
improves factors such as wind speed, relative humidity;
therefore, thermal comfort indoor is solved partly. In addition,
DSF increases natural ventilation and reduces heat radiation.
By those the use of the equipment cooling or heating is
decreased and energy is saved. DSF also plays an effective role
in improving indoor air quality due to dust filtration materials
such as trees, fabric, in limiting the illumination of natural
light, in reducing glare, in using natural light for inside spaces.
DSF also contributes to reducing noise levels, especially for the
work in the crowded and the noisy areas.
According to Vietnam News Agency, at the end of 2013,
HCMC has nearly 8 milion people. Over 70% of those live in
street houses. Most of them, everyday, face with problems
concerning indoor environment quality. Besides, Vietnam in
general and HCMC in particular are facing with problems of
energy saving. And DSF is one of the effective solutions for
those problems. DSF has some huge advantages but it has not
been applied in the suitable methods in HCMC.
Street house is an individual house that locates along the
main streets or small alleys in the city [4]. This study focuses
on surveying the street houses applied DSF in two typical
areas. Area 1 (A1), located in Phu Nhuan District, includes
Huynh Van Banh street and Phan Dinh Phung street. On these
two streets, density of traffic and business is average. Area 2
(A2) is 3/2 street located in District 10. On this street, business
is very bustling and traffic jams occur frequently. Totally, there
are about 30 DSFs in A1 and about 100 DSFs in A2, they
accounted for nearly 10% of the street houses in each area. The
result indicates three principal factors of the current use of DSF
in HCMC, they are function, thermal insulation and natural

A. Function

the second layer. This shows that the irrationality of the use
In addition to two basic functional groups, DSF also has
three other important effects are air filter, acoustic insulation
and glare reduction. In figure 2, the horizontal axis of the graph
expresses the level of functions that DSF achieves. Each basic
functional group is evaluated under three levels consisting 1,
0.5 and 0. The vertical axis represents the number of houses
using DSF. Figure 2 shows that over 70% of 130 houses
applied DSF do not obtain 3-point level.

a. area 1

Fig. 2. Number of DSFs and number of major features used.

B. Thermal insulation

Fig. 3. Measuring points

b: area 2

Fig. 1. Functions of DSFs in areas.

There are two groups of DSFs function. Group 1 includes

natural lighting and ventilation. Group 2 includes thermal
insulation and shading. These are the most important functional
groups of DSF, but they received very little attention.
According to the statistical results, there are only 26% of
houses in area 1 using DSF for that function (fig. 1a) and this
rate in area 2 is 19% (fig. 1b). Furthermore, functional group
including decoration and advertising is exploited the most of

To evaluate the ability of thermal insulation of DSF,

temperatures of inner surface of the first layer (Ti) and of outer
surface of the second layer (To) are measured (fig 3). The
measurement is taken from 9am to 4pm. Ti range from 27.20C
to 38.90C (fig. 4). For living space, 27.20C is acceptable, but
38.90C is too high. In many houses surveyed, air can not move
easily due to the distance of two layers too small and solar heat
radiation is not prevented because of the outer facade too
sparse (horizontal or vertical bars). Consequently, DSF does
not insulate well. In some cases, capability of insulation of
DSF is not efficient (Ti>To), because the owners placed heat
sources between two layers. When designed suitably, DSF can
insulate well. On the contrary, if DSF is not designed carefully,
it can increase surface temperature of inner layer. The results

of analysis show that T (To-Ti) can be 80C or -1.90C. Partly,

that result explains the need to use active measures to get
thermal comfort of many people. So, the electric energy
consumption for fans, air conditioners is increased

Through the survey and evaluation the current use of DSF
in the street houses in HCMC, the application of DSF in
HCMC has not been popular and efficiency. Indeed, there are
only 10% street houses having DSF in the entire survey area
and of those, there are about 30% passing 3-point level
(average level). Nowadays, usability of DSF of street houses in
HCMC is very limited due to lacking of in-depth study of DSF
[1]. Nevertheless, applying the DSF to the design and use do
not bring its true effectiveness. DSF is not only one of the
effective solutions for problems of indoor environment quality
and energy saving, but it is also one of the methods suitable for
the climatic conditions in HCMC. The next step of this
research is simulation and experiment, then application for the
new model house design.
The authors would like to thank all professors at
Department of Civil Engineering, Ho Chi Minh City University
of Technology, Vietnam, for their kindly advises and the use of
light meter.

Fig. 4. Temperature of inner surface of the first layer and

the difference of temperature between two layers T.

C. Natural lighting
The survey indicates that the efficiency of natural lighting
of DSF is not promoted well. Both coefficient of natural
illumination and illuminance do not meet necessary levels for
living space. According to 5 survey results, only 1 design is
quality. The rest do not promote efficiency because most of
exterior facades are not designed precisely. If the outer facade
is too big or too thick, it makes living space lack day-light. And
if it is too sparse, it can not reduce glare. This situation forces
people to use sources of artificial energy to ensure visual

[1] N.D. Nhan, T.M. Hoang and T.D. Thanh, Assessment of the
current use of DSF in street houses in HCMC, student theses of
Ho Chi Minh University of Technology, 2014, unpublished.
[2] C.P. Dewi, Double Skin Faades Strategy in Building Cooling
Energy Demand for Energy Efficiency, Master thesis of
Taiwan Nation Central University, 2013.
[3] M. Haase, F. Wong, A. Amato, Double-Skin Faades for Hong
Kong, Surveying and Built Environment, vol. 18(2), pp. 17-32,
[4] L.T.H. Na, An Analysis of Passive Design and Unique Spatial
Characteristics Inherent in Vietnamese Indegenous Housing and
Their Applications to Contemporary High-rise Housing in
Vietnam, PhD thesis of Inha University, 2011.