Climatic Factors To Be Taken Into Account While Selecting The Habitat Of A Residential Accommodation

The residential accommodation or colony should be in constructed in such a climatic regime that is suitable for cost effective energy consumption. The following factors are of prime importance to be taken into account

Nearness to Water Resource

The place or part of land should be near or very near to a sustainable water resource. In Pakistan such places are rare even the capital Islamabad cannot lay a claim to it. But there is a place 65 km to the north west of it and 30 km from Abbottabad located around 5-10 km from the great Tarbela lake. The city is called Haripur.

Rainfall of The area should be reliable and droughts are relatively in frequent

Pakistan, in general, is very deficient in rainfall except Rawalpindi, Hazara and Gujranwala Divisions. Gujranwala division’s best areas according to reliable rainfall are ruled out since they have some security issues. Rawalpindi division, though receives ample rainfall but is very hilly and water table is very low. This leaves us with the Hazara division as our only choice.

Again the author has found Haripur ( at which station the author had the rare opportunity to observe each and every season and climatic element in detail for full one year) the second largest city of hazra division after Abbotanbd, its Headquarter, to be a near ideal place in this sense. The rainfall is pretty reliable, droughts are rare and if ever they occur, the period is not pronounced.

Water Table should be at optimum level

Again at the aforesaid place the water table is at an appropriate level. Water is a very important commodity. The residential scheme can never be economically feasible if water table is too low and extensive boring is required.

Wind Storms:

It is also one of the important selection criteria. The wind speed should be optimum and wind storms should be rare. In Pakistan, some area of Punjab and Sind, including Karachi, have a rich history of cyclones and extreme dust storms. Central Punjab is well known for extreme dust storms especially in May. For instance, Lahore has a long term average of 5 major dust storm per month in May. And by major we man the wind speeds exceeding 100 km per hour.

Now storms have two major disadvantages namely damage to the flora and building structures and secondly heavy influx of fine dust along with the wind which penetrates each and every inch of the atmosphere and also causes respiratory and lung diseases.

In this factor, also, Haripur is very fortunate. For one reason the area is so green, there is rarely, if ever a speck of dust to be seen, Secondly wind storms here are relatively gentle and not of the Andhi type of central Punjab.

Wind Speed.

Cities with a very low wind speed like Lahore are unable to disperse the pollution and it remains suspended day and night until cleared of by a heavy downpour which is rare. The cities where light to moderate wind blow most of the time effectively clears itself of the dust.

Again Haripur is the best example.

Sunny Climate:

Sunny climate is essential for utilizing insolation (weather term meaning incoming solar radiation). But side by side the heat should not be excessive as much as to destroy the natural vegetation. On this criteria also Haripur fits smoothly. Owing to its closeness to hills, the temperatures remains moderate even in summers with very few heat waves. The atmosphere is also dry and sunny.

Temperature and Humidity Balance (The heat index)

There should be a balance of temperature and humidity. There are some places in Pakistan that are good in temperatures while very low in humidity so much so that skin is parched with dryness like Quetta and Kallat and the vegetation is in hygo stress while at other although the humidity is good but the temperatures are very high causing thermal stress to vegetation. At still others, temperatures are bearable but the humidity unbearable, the example is the coastal areas.

Hazara division in general and Haripur in particular has a rare blend and balance of humidity and temperature, Here both are in controlled range. So the heat index is such that most of the time of the area the flora do nor bear any hygrothermal stress.

Nearness To The Metropolitan Area

The location should not be too far from modern living facilities because in that case people will not be interested to buy the residence and the whole economic feasibility will suffer.

The above list is, by no means complete or exhaustive but does give a general idea about how to take climate factors into account when planning a residential structure.