Analysis of the Influence of Envelope Heat Gain on Hygrothermal Comfort in Tropical Housing: The Case of Benin

Dirk Rudy Nathaniels *

Department of Mechanical and Energy Engineering, Laboratory of Energetics and Applied Mechanics, Polytechnic School of Abomey-Calavi, University of Abomey-Calavi, 01 BP 2009, Cotonou, Republic of Benin.

Guy Clarence Semassou

Department of Mechanical and Energy Engineering, Laboratory of Energetics and Applied Mechanics, Polytechnic School of Abomey-Calavi, University of Abomey-Calavi, 01 BP 2009, Cotonou, Republic of Benin.

Roger Houêchéné Ahouansou

Department of Mechanical and Energy Engineering, Laboratory of Energetics and Applied Mechanics, Polytechnic School of Abomey-Calavi, University of Abomey-Calavi, 01 BP 2009, Cotonou, Republic of Benin.

*Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.


The current construction of residential buildings in Benin neglects the importance of thermal insulation of their envelopes. Instead, it relies on active systems as a solution to mitigate over-consumption of electrical energy and guarantee a certain level of thermal comfort inside these buildings. It should be noted that Beninese architects are generally unfamiliar with these thermal aspects.

The main aim of this study is to assess the effects of thermal insulation on walls and roof, determine the optimum thickness of insulating materials, and integrate a controlled mechanical ventilation system to improve thermal comfort in a humid tropical climate. The investigations were carried out on an example of a typical residential building located in Cotonou, Benin, with precise geographical coordinates (latitude 6°38' North, longitude 2°34' East). To analyze the thermal behavior of this building, a series of dynamic thermal simulations were carried out using TRNSYS software, which was used both to model the building structure and to run the various simulations.

The results of this study revealed that thermal insulation of the walls and roof, using polystyrene, significantly reduced the need for air conditioning. What's more, the integration of a controlled mechanical ventilation system not only ensured indoor air quality, but also helped regulate indoor humidity, reducing it from 67% to 76%.

Keywords: Thermal comfort, buildings, thermal insulation, cooling requirements, controlled mechanical ventilation, dynamic thermal simulation

How to Cite

Nathaniels , D. R., Semassou , G. C., & Ahouansou , R. H. (2024). Analysis of the Influence of Envelope Heat Gain on Hygrothermal Comfort in Tropical Housing: The Case of Benin. Asian Journal of Physical and Chemical Sciences, 12(1), 26–40.


Download data is not yet available.


Figueiredo A, Rebelo F, Castanho RA, Oliveira R, Lousada S, Vicente R, et al. Implementation and challenges of the passive house concept in Portugal: lessons learned from successful experience, Sustain. Times 12. 2020;8761. 10.3390/su12218761

Report, Les Chiffres clés du secteur de l'énergie du Bénin, DGRE; 2021.

Ikbal Cetiner, Andrew Shea, Wood waste as an alternative thermal insulation for buildings Energy & Buildings. 2018;168:374-384.

Wilfried Hounkpatin H, Chégnimonhan V, Clarence Sèmassou G, Nathaniels RD, Kounouhewa B. Simulation of the thermal behavior of various local roofings for a residential house in the humid tropics. Advances in Research. 2018; 15(4):1–15.

Gédéon Chaffa, Emile Adjibadé Sanya, Mohamed Koita Sako and Yao N'Guessan, Analysis of the energy efficiency of buildings in hot regions, international French-speaking conference on energy and mechanics Ouagadougou; May 24, 2012.

N' gessan M' Gbra. Doctoral thesis. Experimental research center for building and public works studies; February 9 1990.

Fezzioui N, Droui B, Benyamine M, Larbi S, Influence of the dynamic characteristics of a building envelope on thermal comfort in southern Algeria, Revue des Energies Renewables. 2008;11(1):34 -25.

Issam SOBHY et al. Dynamic modeling of a typical house in Marrakech and proposals to improve its energy performance 3rd congress of the moroccan thermal association; July 2014.

Aktacir MA, Büyükalaca O, Yılmaz T, A case study for influence of building thermal insulation on cooling load and air-conditioning system in the hot and humid regions', Applied Energy, Vol. 2010;87(2):599 – 607.

Guechchati R, Moussaoui MA, Ahm. Mezrhab, Abd. Mezrhab, Simulation of the effect of thermal insulation of buildings. Case of the SAFAA psycho-educational center in Oujda, Revue des Energies Renewables. 2010;13(2):223-232 223.

Roberto Garay Martineza, Highly insulated systems for energy retrofitting of façades on its interior, Procedia Environmental Sciences. 2017;38(3)-10.

Madi Kaboré. Issues of simulation for the study of the energy performance of buildings in sub-Saharan Africa', PhD thesis, Université Grenoble Alpes. 2015;70.

Hamed Nabizadeh Rafsanjania, Changbum R. Ahnb, Jiayu Chenc, Linking building energy consumption with occupants' energy-consuming behaviors in commercial buildings: Non-Intrusive occupant load monitoring (NIOLM), Energy and Buildings. 2018;172:1-154.

Yang Zhang, Xuemei Bai, Franklin P. Mills, John CV. Pezzey, Rethinking the role of occupant behavior in building energy performance: A review, Energy and Buildings. 2018;172:1-154.

Chen Chang, Neng Zhu, Kun Yang, Fan Yang, Data and analytics for heating energy consumption of residential buildings: The case of a severe cold climate region of China, Energy and Buildings. 2018;172:1-154.

Dong-Hun Han, Sedong Kim, Jae Hyuk Choi, Yeong Sik Kim, HanShik Chung, Hyomin Jeong, Napat Watjanatepin, Chalermpol Ruangpattanawiwat, Soon-Ho Choi, Experimental study on thermal buoyancy-induced natural ventilation, Energy and buildings. 2018;177:1-11.

Kim YS, Han DH, Chung HS, Jeong HM, Choi SH, Experimental study on venturi-type natural ventilator, Energy and Buildings. 2017;139:232-241.

Gabriel Bekö, Toste Lund, Fredrik Nors, Jørn Toftum and Geo Clausen, Ventilation rates in the bedrooms of 500 Danish children, Building and Environment. 2010;45:2289-2295.

Tommy Kleiven, Ph. D Thesis, Natural ventilation in buildings architectural-concepts, consequences & possibilities, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Norway; 2003.

Per Heiselberg, hybrid ventilation principles, iea energy conservation in buildings and community systems program annex 35, On-line; 2002. Available: puplications/report/ Principles%20of%20H %20V.pdf

Juslin Koffi, Francis Allard and Jean-Jacques Akoua numerical assessment of the performance of ventilation strategies in a single-family building, International Journal of Ventilation. 2011;9(4).

Hekmat D, Feustel HE, Modera MP. Impacts of ventilation strategies on energy consumption and indoor air quality in single-family residences. Energy and Buildings. 1986;9(3):239-251.

Afshari A, Bergsoe NC. Reducing energy consumption for ventilation in dwellings through demanded controlled ventilation. Proceedings of Indoor Air' 2005: 10th International Conference on Indoor Air Quality and Climate, 4-9 September, Beijing, China; 2005.

Akoua JJ. Appreciation of ventilation efficiency for the study of indoor air quality. Doctoral thesis in civil engineering defended October 24, 2004, University of La Rochelle - CSTB Marne-la-Vallée. 2004;187.

Cossi Norbert Awanou, Study of passive refrigeration using a diode roof. PhD thesis; 1984.

Necib H, Belakroum R, Belakroum k, Improving thermal insulation of habitats in hot and arid regions. Third international conference on energy, materials, applied energetics and pollution. ICEMAEP2016, Constantine, Algeria; October30-31, 2016.

Ribéron J, Kirchner S, Lucas JP, State of ventilation in french housing. CSTB Health Division, Final report - July 2008, Actions; 2007.

TRNSYS Version 17, User Manual', Multizone Bulding, University of Wisconsin, Madison; 2010.

Olissan Olagoké Aurélien, Influence of glass fenestration on comfort tairtightness of buildings in tropical and humid climates: Case of the coastal strip of Benin', PhD Thesis, University of Liège; 2017.

Juslin Koffi, Multi-criteria analysis of ventilation strategies in individual houses, PhD thesis, University of La Rochelle; 2009.

Document, 'Guide to insulating materials for effective and sustainable insulation', Program, Alsace, France; 2014.

Document, ventilation solutions in individual homes, Scientific and Technical Committee for Climate Industries (COSTIC); 2002.