Designing Thermally Comfortable Outdoor Spaces for Mosques in Hot Arid Regions: A Case Study of the Jawharatul Islam Mosque in Phoenix, Arizona, U.S.A.

By Omar Dhia Al-Hassawi and Nader Chalfoun.

Published by The International Journal of Environmental Sustainability

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This research introduces a methodology to design thermally comfortable outdoor spaces by studying the thermal conditions in a courtyard (sahn) of an existing mosque located in the hot arid region of Phoenix, Arizona, and attempts to modify those conditions through a design that integrates passive strategies to achieve human thermal comfort. Such an approach will increase the opportunity to use the outdoor space more often and decrease the demand on the indoor space that utilizes conventional mechanical systems to adjust thermal levels, thus conserving energy.
Thermal conditions on a summer day at selected locations in the mosque sahn were calculated for the Muslim five daily prayers using the thermal level simulation software OUTDOOR©. This program calculates the predicted mean vote (PMV), which is the approach used to anticipate the thermal sensation for a group of people on a scale between -5 (intolerable cool) and +5 (intolerable heat). In addition, this tool measures the corrected effective temperature (CET) that adds the impact of the direct short wave solar radiation from the sun and the indirect long wave radiation emitted from the surfaces surrounding our bodies to that of the ambient temperature. Results indicated that thermal levels require adjustment mainly during the two daytime prayers.
After applying the design to the space, the modified PMV was calculated and compared with that of the existing conditions. As a conclusion, adaptive strategies are required to adjust and protect the space thermal conditions during daytime prayers while exposing the space to ambient conditions during night time prayers.

Keywords: Human Thermal Comfort, Passive Strategies, Outdoor Spaces, Predicted Mean Vote, Corrected Effective Temperature, Adaptive Shade, Natural Downdraft Evaporative Cooler (Cool Tower)

The International Journal of Environmental Sustainability, Volume 8, Issue 3, pp.61-80. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 3.441MB).

Omar Dhia Al-Hassawi

Graduate Student, College of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, University of Arizona, Tucson, USA

Omar Al-Hassawi is a recent graduate from the Master of Architecture program at the University of Arizona, College of Architecture and Landscape Architecture. He was honored his degree in May, 2011. Omar currently works for an architectural and engineering consultant in the Middle East on projects that range in scale from small residential to large commercial developments. Omar believes that environmentally friendly designs that utilize renewable natural resources as its main source for operation should be an architect’s main priority to reduce the impact the built environment has on our planet. This was one of the reasons that influenced him to pursue a graduate degree at a school located in an climate zone similar to that of the Middle East and that teaches concepts applicable in his region.

Nader Chalfoun

University of Arizona, USA