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The future of architecture is climatic responsive design whose sole goal is to create a comfortable indoor environment with less reliance to artificial energy; thus a bioclimatic building that is fully integrated into the cycles of nature of soil, water, energy and air and is able to use them without causing environmental damage. Different climatic zones in East Africa experiencing the adverse effects of climate change necessitate climatic responsive design.

Green Economy Strategy and Implementation Plan - Kenya 2016-2030 (GESISP) adopts bioclimatic design that provides a pathway for Kenya’s low carbon, resource efficient, equitable and inclusive socio-economic transformation. The most critical climatic requirement for school buildings (classrooms mainly) in Kisumu’s warm humid climate is the need for a cool enclosure during the heat of the afternoons (Magutu, 2015), coupled with increased heat gain as a result of machine usage for training purposes thus heat stress and increased power demand for air cooling. The sustainability of the school building improves health, performance and productivity of students and teachers’ by providing daylighting, indoor air quality, thermal comfort, visual comfort, and improved acoustics.

With over 600,000 students unable to qualify for direct intake into university (K.C.S.E 2020), TVET Institutions become key in providing an option to attaining required skills and knowledge for Kenya’s economic development. This demands the government to focus on building and equipping new technical schools that conform to international standards, infrastructural development that is a prerequisite for development of this skills through the Technical and Vocational Education and Training Act (No. 29 of 2013).

New construction of TVET Institutions within a growing economy provides a niche to adopt bioclimatic architecture in the modern world as Institution design aims at creation of comfortable environments to cooperate people and influence their behavior. This study therefore develops to understand the thermal performance of learning spaces (classrooms and workshops) in TVET institutions in Kisumu with regards to climate responsiveness. Its main objectives are to find out the existing bioclimatic design strategies employed, investigate on thermal comfort of learning spaces through case studies using data loggers and recommend effective and suitable bioclimatic strategies in the region.

It therefore starts by establishing Kisumu’s climatic zone, human thermal comfort and bioclimatic design strategies grounding it on heat gain mitigation, heat modulation, heat rejection strategies, vernacular and contextual solutions and building materials in the lake region; and recommends best practice strategies for climatic responsive design. Assolar radiation has a big influence on air temperature, methods of passive
air-conditioning should be more applied also on the production buildings in industry, agriculture and other branches of civil engineering that release heat increasing air temperature inside the building (D.V. Cao & Pavel Kic,2018).

Adoption of the universal style of building limits climate responsive architecture leading to a sharp
increase in the use of mechanical systems, resulting in increased energy demands. Heat generation in
TVET internal spaces due to high occupancy, training and machine use necessitate environmental
design considerations.

As a result of the widespread use of air conditioning systems for space cooling, the building sector
consumes roughly one-third of total global energy consumption. See Fig. 1.1.
Increases in economic growth and structure, demography, and technological advancement in
developing countries necessitate an increase in total energy consumption, according to baseline
projections by the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), BP, Exxon Mobil, and the IEA, and thus
play a decisive role in the future global energy scenario. Climate change and resource depletion are the main challenges that mankind has to face in the 21st century. Through its impact on ecology, rainfall, temperature and weather systems, global warming affects the environment. (Kitio et al., 2014).

For many countries in hot dry and warm humid climates, half or more of the urban peak load of energy
consumption is to satisfy air conditioning demands (Koch-Nielsen Holger, 2002). See Fig. 1.2.
Because of the awareness of the finiteness of resources and the demand for reduced energy
consumption, air-conditioning systems have been removed as the protagonist of any project.
Mechanical systems used in design to achieve thermal comfort are costly, with operational hazards
and cause environmental problems such as ozone layer depletion from the CFC’s used in HVAC
systems. This leads to global warming that in turn brings about problems of indoor air quality
(Santamouris, 2007). Charles M. Correia, India’s greatest architect once said “form follows climate” and gave an environmental twist to the popular architectural dictum “form follows function”.

Thermal Performance of Learning Spaces in TVET Institutions in Kisumu| 3
He stated that architecture should be responsive to local climate and allow for plenty of light and air,
rather than relying on modern conveniences such as air conditioning and heating.
The combination of a well-designed building in which solar gains are controlled and natural ventilation
is fully utilized, as well as a change in comfort principles, can significantly reduce energy consumption
for air conditioning while providing very good comfort conditions.
A bioclimatic building is fully integrated into the cycles of nature of soil, water, energy and air and is
able to use them without causing damage to the environment.
(Kitio et al., 2014). See Fig. 1.3.
It also has important energy, financial, operational and qualitative benefits.
Institution design aims at creation of comfortable environments to cooperate people and influence
their behavior, which vary from institution to institution as they have varying requirements based on
their capacity.
According to Conrad Burns, vocational educational programs have created a significant impact on the
lives of countless young people across the country; they help students develop self-confidence and
leadership skills by allowing them to use their unique gifts and talents.
With the introduction of the Technical and Vocational Education and Training Act (No. 29 of 2013) in
2013, the government focuses on building and equipping new technical schools that conforms to
international standards, infrastructural development that is a prerequisite for development of this
skills. New construction within a growing economy provides a niche to adopt bioclimatic architecture
in the modern world.
Kisumu is a Kenyan port city on Lake Victoria on the Western region of Kenya. The region lies at an
altitude of 1178m above the sea level, characterized by bush and cultivated land. See Fig. 1.4.
The city experiences a warm humid climate, exhibits a variety of cultures and built forms thus a key
area of study.


Design in warm humid climate is very sensitive and careful design should be undertaken to create
thermal comfort. Warm-humid climates are the most difficult ones to design for (Szokolay, 2004).
There is scarce localized information and applications on the proper bioclimatic design strategies on
the different eco-climatic zones in the tropics. The lake zone dictates a unique response to its climate
to lower energy consumption.

Kisumu exhibits various building typologies that range from vernacular to contemporary buildings that
respond differently to the region’s climate.Traditional buildings responded to the climate by use of locally available materials; thatched roof and mud walls. However, contemporary buildings have adopted universal design that limits bioclimatic architecture in the region. Climate challenges in East Africa justifies use of air-conditioning to maintain comfortable thermal levels but limits sustainable building design.

Bioclimatic design in Kenya helps provides a pathway for Kenya’s low carbon, resource efficient, equitable and inclusive socio-economic transformation under the Green Economy Strategy and Implementation Plan - Kenya 2016-2030 (GESISP). Thermal comfort degrees in the learning environment influence the productivity of students and teachers.  

Cornell University, the Alberta Department of Education, and the California Board of Education have conducted energy efficiency studies that show that providing daylighting, indoor air quality, thermal
comfort, visual comfort, and improved acoustics improves student health, performance, and productivity.
The lighting, ventilation and acoustics also affect learners’ health. Poor lighting can, for example, lead
to eye problems. When the rooms are not properly ventilated, respiratory problems can occur.