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  • Writer's pictureHarshita Singh

Bio-climatic Architecture

Updated: Mar 16, 2022

The construction sector is responsible for almost 40% of the total energy consumption on a countrywide level thus contributing significantly to the greenhouse effect and climate change, and have a severe overall environmental impact and the biggest part of this consumption is directly related to architectural aspects and the use of the space. The ecological integration of the building design through passive strategies presents a very good potential of energy saving. Simple procedures and techniques, using an appropriate building design (bio-climatic architecture) and energy efficient systems and technologies, such as passive solar systems helps in reduction of energy consumption in buildings.


Bio-climatic architecture refers to the design of spaces (both interior and exterior) and structures based on local climate, intend to provide thermal and visual comfort by making use of solar energy and other environmental sources from surroundings. The term "bio-climatic design" implies to the design which aims to defend the environment and natural resources while creating urban areas and buildings that are planned to fully cover their energy requirements without induce environmental damage. Basic elements of bio-climatic design are passive solar systems which are assimilated onto buildings and utilize environmental sources (for example, sun, air, wind, vegetation, water, soil, sky) for heating, cooling and lighting the buildings.

This type of strategy seeks seamless cohesion between design and natural elements (such as the sun, wind, rain and vegetation), leading us to an optimization of resources. Bio-climatic design help conserve resources while facilitating the use of the indigenous or micro climate around to construct a green passively sustainable structure. Some of the notions of Bio-climatic Designs are, “Site and climatic analysis, design approaches that reduce or eliminate the need for non-renewable energy resources and its conjugal affect in placement, orientation, and shading of the building.

bio-climatic architecture sustainable green building vernacular Auroville
The Wall House by Anupama Kundoo Architects at Auroville, India


The bio-climatic design is undeniably related to the understanding of native climatic features and to the application of passive strategies related to this understanding. According to Givoni (1994) the term ‘passive’ does not disregard the use of mechanical equipment when necessary, if it is used to increase the performance of the system. Therefore, the bio-climatic design distinguishes itself from what is called sustainable design. The sustainable approach is looked from the perspective of impact of the construction on the local environment in which it also embrace the embodied energy of the material and its resilience of energy usage. Energy saving and a lower ecological impact are consequences of the integration of the design solution to local climatic features to achieve better comfortable conditions, not necessarily limited by the building material.

Illustration passive cooling ventilation Indian subcontinent mechanical energy saving
Illustration showing passive cooling of building
  • The consideration of the climate, hydrography and ecosystems of the surroundings in which buildings are built for maximum performance with the least impact.

  • The efficacy and restraint in the use of construction materials, giving priority to low energy content compared to high energy.

  • The reduction in energy consumption for heating, cooling, lighting, etc., covering the rest of the claim with renewable energy sources.

  • The minimization of the building overall energy balance, covering the design, construction, and its lifespan.

  • Improvement of the micro-climate around buildings, of the built environment, adhering to all of the above principles.

wanda pavilion china sustainable green bio-climatic architecture case study
Wanda Pavilion, China

The association of these concepts to building design since the first stages of the design process has an even higher potential to save energy while maintaining the comfort of their occupants. Architectural solutions directly explored during the early stages, such as the overall form of the building, the depth and height of rooms, the size of windows can together have a fundamental influence on the ultimate energy consumption of the complete structure. They can also impact the daylight levels and increase and decrease the winter and summer temperatures respectively, which is a necessary for building design in Indian context.


Despite the proven advantage of integrating bio-climatic concepts into building design, there is a considerable difficulty in their real application, mainly in the early design stages, in which the main design solutions are defined. The design process is difficult to put into a model due to its non-linearity and to the direct influence of Architect’s particular practices. Focus on aesthetic, while analyzing environmental strategies receive considerable less attention in building design. For most of the architects and the general public, the bio-climatic architecture is still a collection of equipment and technology and not a proposal to be implemented first through the architectural design. Bio-climatic architecture has become just a method to reduce the energy consumption and the act of energy saving is much more motivated by necessity than by choice. So, focusing on the dissemination of the bio-climatic design on the terms of art, it is necessary to create and to promote an architectural language really integrated and of appealing visual message.

Duplex home Malhar Medley sustainable bio-climatic green architecture vernacular modern home
Malhar Medley: A duplex sustainable home in Banglore

Although, the bio-climatic design primarily focuses on Environmental sustainability; it also takes into consideration the inhabitants comforts and well-being. According to CRES, Bio-climatic Design defined as “Adjustment of environmental conditions in the interiors of buildings so that their inhabitants find them comfortable and pleasant (i.e. increasing the air movement inside spaces, thermal comfort)”. Mixing nature with creature well-being is a perfect balance of well thought out and intuitive design. Therefore with some logistical organization and well researched design process, building a working with Mother Nature, we can build a perfect home that harmonizes with its natural environment.

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