Climate Resilient Urban Design through Energy Efficient Planning and Design Revisiting Land Pooling Project in Kathmandu Valley

Climate Resilient Urban Design through Energy Efficient Planning and Design Revisiting Land Pooling Project in Kathmandu Valley

September 1, 2019


Global climate change has rendered traditional urban design processes obsolete. A new paradigm is required in order to develop resilient urban areas able to adapt and thrive in changing global conditions, meet the requirements of carbon-reduction and other environmental measures, and sustain compact urban populations by providing necessary and desirable amenities for urban residents. The scope and speed of current changes demands that urbanists define compelling visions and integrated design measures for shaping resilient urban areas. From energy and transportation to water and green infrastructure, urbanists can shape these systems to shrink our ecological footprint, configure resilient urban form and adapt our cities to climate change. As global temperatures rise, a central challenge will be to create compact, cool urban settlements. This requires informed knowledge of climate-resilient urban design, drawing from fields such as urban climatology and sustainable design. However, despite considerable technical knowledge within these fields, climate-resilient urban design has not yet emerged as a major consideration in standard urban design practice. Climate change, environmental degradation and resource depletion are not only the problems of any one country or a region but are global issues. The 1987 World Commission on Sustainable Development declared that our future depends upon sustainable development which can be obtained only if more concern is given to energy, environment and our future. Housing, being one of the major parts of built environment, is internationally getting main theme of sustainability for all housing strategies to be sustainable. The strategies for sustainable housing in developed and developing nations are different. Rather they are relatively newer concepts in developing nations. Human settlement and urbanization are being developed without any concern to environment, energy, and human health. Sustainable planning, design and construction strategies are slowly being primary concerns in these nations. This research is intended to reflect the current scenario of land pooling in Kathmandu, Nepal and propose energy efficient and sustainable planning and building design measures. For this, a case of land pooling proposal is selected and efficient planning, passive design strategies and energy efficient construction are applied. The results for energy consumption are then compared to the original designs. The study shows that an overall decrease of 37% of operational energy consumption in buildings can be attained through efficient measures of planning alone and an additional of 56% can be reduced through efficient building design.


Resource depletion due to built environment is getting attention all over the world. Urban areas of Nepal are also facing the problem of resource shortage. This research addresses basically two different resources that are directly associated with the housing settlement: energy, land and material. A base case scenario of the existing building operation is taken and compared with the improved case scenario with the use of sustainable climate responsive planning measures and energy efficient building design techniques for its energy demand. The research draws a conclusion of the amount of energy use that can be reduced through climate resilient urban design techniques. The result derived through building energy simulation is limited to one of the units of the entire land pooling project area and not an entire planning and cost analysis. It is expected that the result gained from the research can help urban planners, designers and local stakeholders to assess the energy consumption and carbon footprint that is reduced when they opt for efficient measures in planning.


Building resilience of the urban areas towards the changing climate through climate responsive planning and energy efficient design is the first step toward achieving sustainability in buildings and organizations. Energy efficiency helps control rising energy costs, reduce environmental footprints, and increase the value and competitiveness of buildings. Life on earth depends on a delicate temperature interval of only a few degrees. Every year we see even small changes in global temperature having drastic consequences for our climate and living conditions. According to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) the average temperature is expected to increase by 1- 5°C over the next century. CO2 emissions must be reduced by 60-80% before 2050 if we should have a chance to reduce the average global temperature increase to ‘only’ 2ºC. Fast action is crucial in order to prevent “tipping points”. The consequences of a more extreme climate can be devastating. The study shows that an average of 37% of the total operational energy consumption of the buildings can be simply reduced by using efficient measures of planning which includes proper orientation, presence of green open space in the premises, availability of proper set back and increase in the green plot ratio. The study also reveals that an average of 56% of the total energy consumption can be reduced through efficient design of buildings which involves measures like proper orientation, use of efficient lighting fixtures, proper design of openings and use of renewable sources of energy.


The study clearly reveals that a remarkable change can be achieved through the use of climate resilient efficient measures of planning and building design. Buildings though are responsible for the highest amount of emission, are also one of the sectors that can provide remarkable change in the overall emission if efficient measures of planning and building design are adopted. Building byelaws govern the construction of buildings to a large extent, hence promotion of climate friendly bye laws is crucial to increase the practice of the construction of climate resilient design. Though the changing climate is evident it is neglected in many aspects but the enforcement of climate resilient design practices must be promoted and awareness needs to be raised in every sector of urban planning and building design. The general people need to be aware of the climate change scenario, its growing ill effects and the measures to reduce it. Efficient planning and building design are important aspects and need to be promote at all levels from the designing phase to the policy making and implementation levels.