Building a Comfortable and Safe Home in the Tropics

The first thing to note is the issue of building orientation. The mass of buildings that extends from east to west is more advisable because it will minimize direct sun access into the building. Not only the sunlight factor, but also the wind factor. Airflow in Indonesia mostly moves in the north-south direction or vice versa. With the mass length of the house facing north or south, then the house will get natural air supply optimally so that no longer need the use of artificial cooling like air conditioner. Even if in certain conditions the house is forced to extend north-south, shading and wide roof is highly recommended to filter the sunlight directly into the room.

Ventilation Home

Ventilation acts as a natural air drill from the outside into the house or vice versa, so as to create a good air circulation inside the house. In a tropical climate, smooth airflow is a major factor affecting human comfort. In tropical house designs, air ventilation systems should be able to form cross-ventilation, an air drainage system that allows air to enter and exit through opposite ventilation. This means the air crossing across a room so that the room gets the air flow evenly, creating comfort for the user space inside. Ventilation in the house can be windows and doors. Stay adapted to establish a system of cross-ventilation.

Building material

Materials Building materials for walls and roofs should not suck water and not easily overgrown with mold and mildew. Materials of small density (lightness) are usually preferred because they have a small heat capacity, low time lag and quickly respond to climate change. Materials with low conductivity can help reduce heat in the building. The use of glass materials in windows also need to be considered related to orientation to the direction of sunlight and air flow direction. Unlike homes in small and small windowed seaside countries, tropical homes in Indonesia tend to use large, large windows and ventilation on the outer walls of the house to capture natural light and air optimally.


The roof becomes a very important element in the house. As a cover of the room, the roof must be able to withstand the wind, rain and heat. In areas with high rainfall, sloping roofs are the top choice because they are considered most profitable. The sloping roof is useful for draining as quickly as rain water descends to the ground. Roof material with bright colors is recommended to reflect the heat of solar radiation so that the thermal comfort of the home room is maintained.


Floor is the element of the house that is most related to the ground so that the floor has the ability to store heat. In tropical climates, the heat conduction process from our feet to the floor is a pleasant state or sensation and can reduce heat from our bodies. Therefore, the cold flooring material becomes a better choice such as natural stone floor and ceramic. Wooden floor is not recommended because it is absorbing heat. This wood flooring material is more suitable for use in homes in wintered areas (areas with four seasons). Floor stage can also be an option to create a cool floor. With the space between the ground and the floor, there will be airflow in the space between this and can cool the floor of the house.

Building structure

Most of Indonesia is located in the meeting of tectonic plates and crossed by volcanic belts that result in frequent occurrence of volcanic disasters, earthquakes, and landslides. Therefore, strong and durable building structures are absolutely necessary in tropical homes to ensure the safety of the inhabitants. The structure of reinforced concrete becomes the main choice because it has a long durability and strong structure in withstanding heavy loads. But just choosing a reinforced concrete structure does not necessarily guarantee the strength of the house when the calculation of the structure is wrong. Not a few we find houses collapsed after an earthquake because the concrete structure is not strong enough to withstand the force caused by the earthquake. Highly recommended in building a tropical house we consult first with a civil or architect builder to provide recommendations or assistance regarding the proper system and size of the structure of the house in the event of an earthquake.


Green spaces around the house such as yard or garden is very useful for smooth air circulation in the house. The growing trees can direct the direction of airflow into the room of the house, or shade trees can add to the shadow area so the room becomes shaded and not hot. In addition, in wet tropical climate with high rainfall, the presence of trees and yard can absorb water into the soil so as not to damage our home environment.

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