Located in East Africa, Uganda is one of the most economically deprived countries that is likely to be dramatically affected by climate change. Over 50% of Ugandan families live in single-roomed overcrowded properties and over 60% of the country’s urban population live in slums. Moreover, the gradual shift towards relatively modern and low thermal resistance building materials, in addition to imminent thermal discomfort due to global warming, may considerably affect the health and wellbeing of low-income people, the majority of whom live in low quality homes with very little or no access to basic amenities. This paper evaluates the effects of various construction methods as well as refurbishment strategies on thermal comfort in low-income houses in Uganda. It is aimed at helping low-income populations adapt to climate changes by developing simple, effective and affordable refurbishment strategies that could easily be applied to existing buildings. Dynamic thermal simulations are conducted in EnergyPlus. The adaptive model defined in BS EN 15251 and CIBSE TM52 is used to evaluate the risk and extent of thermal discomfort. Roofing methods/materials are found to be the key factor in reducing/increasing the risk of overheating. According to the results, roof insulation, painting the roof with low solar absorptance materials and inclusion of false ceilings are, respectively, the most effective and practical refurbishment strategies in terms of improving thermal comfort in low-income houses in Uganda. All refurbishment strategies helped to pass Criterion 3 of CIBSE TM52, as an indicator of “future climate scenarios”, making low-income houses/populations more climate resilient.
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