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Social Acceptance of a Thermal Architectural Implementation Proposal

Esperanza García López
Christopher Heard
Departamento de Teoría y Procesos del Diseño, Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana-Unidad Cuajimalpa, Mexico City 05348, Mexico
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2023, 15(5), 4121;
Submission received: 30 November 2022 / Revised: 30 January 2023 / Accepted: 1 February 2023 / Published: 24 February 2023


The social acceptance of introducing an improved and sustainable roofing material in multicultural communities in Mexico was addressed. A case history of a community “La Cañada” in Huixquilucan, State of Mexico (19°19′02.81″ N, 99°22′23.21″ W, 3025 m above mean sea level), a village very close to the eastern edge of Mexico City and representative of strong social and transcultural pressures similar to surrounding communities in Mexico City, is reported. The approach considered developing a double-layered roof to reduce the energy demand for space heating in this predominantly cold region, thus significantly contributing to indoor thermal comfort, reducing the need for cutting wood and helping to alleviate the accelerating impacts of deforestation in the area. Two parallel studies were used, whereby the then-current awareness levels of citizens and the factors impacting their commitment to energy sustainability were analysed using multicriteria social parameters, while the second study focused on the analysis of improved comfort when the proposed double roof was implemented, based on the feedback received from a pool of citizens who experienced living in the improved prototype dwellings. Results showed that while the level of awareness on energy efficiency was still low, the influence of media on their decisions and aspirations was strong and this could be constructively used to support the shift towards a more sustainable society and a “solar culture”. Moreover, the developed sustainable double-roof prototype has significantly improved indoor comfort and energy savings for heating, while demonstrating a fast and easy replicability potential in similar dwellings.

1. Introduction

There are few studies in the literature that investigate the social assimilation of a low cost, simple, occupant installable thermal comfort improvement in vernacular log-cabin-type construction. The building used as a test bed in this study has been previously described and its dynamic thermal performance modelled with and without the thermal comfort improvement. Detailed results of the thermal evaluation were given, comparing field measurements and modelling, and a brief report of a small subset of the surveys herein reported was included in a prior publication [1]. However, there are few studies which investigate the acceptability of such simple measures for a traditional wood dwelling in a rural community. There are studies, such as that of the acceptance of smart-home technologies, which do not reflect the kind of occupier or housing that are the subject of the present work. For example, Tirado Herrero et al. [2] observed that smart-home technologies may be less available to disadvantaged households because they lack good internet connections and the latest mobile phones. Studies related to the use of smart electricity meters in social housing in a European context, such as that of Balest and Vettorato [3], were of tenants of flats in a middle-sized Italian city and not of owner-occupiers of traditional housing in a rural community. Guo [4] reported that they found data on occupant attitudes and perceptions to be more useful than just scientific data alone in the study of traditional stilt houses in Southeast Chongqing, China. It was found that most of those interviewed were satisfied with the thermal comfort of their dwellings, yet the survey results purported a contrary result. Three reasons were given for this: Firstly, the general rural poverty and lack of comprehensive public services. Secondly, thermal problems due to occupants’ modifications, lack of maintenance and/or behaviour and, thirdly, issues of lack of cleanliness, dampness and the use of combustion-based heating in interiors. Valderrama-Ulloa et al. [5], on reviewing one hundred selected papers on indoor environmental quality in Latin American buildings, commented that there was a sustained discrepancy between measured and perceived thermal comfort conditions. Valderrama-Ulloa et al. reported that about a quarter of the papers consulted in their review only used temperature as a comfort criterion.
Whilst timber construction is not predominant in Latin America, there are specific places where it is traditional [6]. In the case of Mexico, it is used in rural communities in forested regions. About 3% of housing has wood walls and about 2% has wood or wood-shingle roof construction [7].
From the start of this research, the members of the community were always in mind and the proposals were presented to them. Once the prototype was built, measured and put into operation, the following questions were then asked: Is the design really for the inhabitants of “La Cañada” or was it only supposed that it would be an example for them? Is it true that the residents of the community would, when building, identify with our objectives of lower energy consumption, better thermal comfort and sustainability? And does our proposal have sufficiently attractive characteristics to be adopted and owned by the community and multiplied?
To answer these questions, a social investigation based on questionnaires with two aspects was decided upon. The first investigated the possibilities of reproducing the design with the help of advice. The second had the objective of finding out if the residents were conscious of thermal comfort and the concept of energy saving.
The theories of Carrera [8] were used as the basis, where the initial point is that common education-based reasoning starts with detailed local knowledge and practices. These, in turn, help people to develop theoretical and critical knowledge about their situation in each context [9].
The motive was to convey the idea that a reassessment of well-founded local knowledge is a basis for organizing sustainable communities.

2. Materials and Methods

The study was carried out in the community of “La Cañada”, in the municipality of Huixquilucan, which is a village settled to the west of Mexico City (Figure 1). This place was chosen since it was an average community of the city hinterland. It has the same real-estate speculation, social and cultural transformation and environmental impact characteristics as these surroundings. The results obtained can be extrapolated to the entire forested periphery.

2.1. Physical Aspects

The climate is semicold with summer precipitation. According to the Köppen-García scale, this corresponds to Cw [10]. That is why the main strategy in houses is to heat. To achieve this, their main fuel is firewood, which is provided free of charge from the forest.
Land use is mainly forestry; however, because of its scenic beauty, its short distance from Mexico City and its resources, the area suffers from multiple speculation. These include, use and sale of land, commercial interests such as clandestine timber felling, firewood cutting for restaurants (traditional pit-cooked lamb and quesadillas), communal tourist developments—trout-fishing zones, pony trekking, off-road motorcycling, quadbike tracks and the sale of forest topsoil leaf mulch, which is essential for the life of forest communities.
All of this has produced deforestation with the consequent problems of erosion and changes in rainfall, accumulation of rubbish and bad pollution of the small river that runs through the community, which today is only used to dispose of sewage [11]. The village is in a designated ecological conservation area since it is within the range of 2700 to 3200 m above sea level, which conflicts with current legislation and has not been considered. The ecological degradation is important both from the economic point of view as well as from the social point of view.

2.2. Social Aspects

This community is part of the municipality of Huixquilucan, one of the most economically contrasting. The highest social classes and the lowest live in the same territory. The total municipality population was 1858 inhabitants, where 52% were women for the whole commoner zone, which covers several villages. A local census gave 520 inhabitants for the “La Cañada” village.
In terms of education, at least 1% of the population was illiterate, most had completed primary school and only 10% had completed secondary or high school. No one spoke an indigenous language nor had direct prior experience that allowed them to conserve traditions or rituals [12]. Knowledge of ancestral practices did not exist in the community.
The economic class level for the community, according to government information for “La Cañada” was “D” or “D minus” [13]. These data were of great importance for the study, given that the survey tried to see what the residents’ classes of aspirations were. It is to be noted that the economic class to which they belonged makes the probability of gaining a higher social class 30%.
The form of land possession comes from the Mexican revolution (1910–1920) and is called “communal land”, where the commoners are those who have rights over land exploitation under their own rules. The local government has no policies pertaining to cleaning or conserving the environment. This is based on social or family connections or financial pressure, where the commoners are the beneficiaries [14].
The majority were from farming families or were still working as farmers. The traditional economic activity in the region is based on ancestral customs and is the sowing of maize. However, the young have started to have other sources of income. The activities are changing, above all, to informal work, such as unskilled building and general workers or impromptu tourism activity, such as food sales, pony trekking, trout fishing or setting up a restaurant.
In three generations, they have gone from farmers to new jobs where they still sow maize by custom, but they can no longer make a living from this. No member of the community is self-sufficient based on the grain, and all the inhabitants have to make up their diets with purchases in the local market.
They consider that working on weekends is sufficient to make a living and during the week they till the little land that they have (except those who have a skilled trade), which is insufficient for the sustenance of a family. Failing this, they prepare inputs for the weekend trade.
Population growth has been exponential, increasing 84% from the nineteen thirties to the present day, when 600,000 ha of communal lands were declared sufficient for subsistence. The increase in population and the nearness of the city has caused a need for more and more buildings [15]. Thus, small agricultural plots have been converted to this new use.

2.3. Methods

The community has undergone very important changes. Thus, it was decided to apply a social survey methodology, which went in two directions: a statistical one, which sought to measure the degree of transculturation based on the architectural aspirations of the inhabitants, evaluating the level of commitment they had towards the preservation and conservation of their environment and to find out their knowledge about the concepts that must be applied to achieve it.
A second, more specific one, was designed to find out about the aesthetic acceptance of the proposal and its reproduction; to enquire if the proposed technology and materials could feasibly be appropriated by residents in the community; and to investigate the degree of environmental awareness concerning energy saving and understanding of the benefits of better thermal comfort.
To be sure that these surveys (Appendix A) provided reliable information, they were based on Hyman methodology for the type of questions [16] and Pardinas in the selection of the subjects [17]. Two types of mutually exclusive survey were designed, one statistical and the other qualitative.
Both questionnaires considered verification answers and care was taken that there were no leading questions. The quantity and characteristics of the survey subjects were also considered.

2.3.1. Survey 1

A ten percent sample of the population above the age of consent (15 years) was taken; according to the site population curve. This resulted in 39 interviews (52% women and 48% men). Among them, 9 were subjects between 15 and 24 years old, 21 were people between 25 and 59 years old, 6 were between 60 and 64 years old and only 3 were over 65 years old (Figure 2).
The questionnaire had nineteen questions divided into three themes: five questions about their current home, five about awareness of the thermal characteristics of their home and nine questions about concepts, sustainable actions and environmental education.
The survey was one where the questions were mostly closed or multiple-choice. No demographic or social questions were asked, except for name and gender. The form was designed as a rapid survey, given that it was to be applied to a large number of residents. One-in-three dwellings was selected randomly and family members that complied with the survey’s age and gender requirements were asked to participate.

2.3.2. Survey 2

The sample was of 13 persons from the community who were invited to stay for two days in the prototype building. The questionnaire tackled aspects of the physical sensation of comfort experienced, the aesthetic perception, the feasibility of implementation and their ideal home aspirations. This was a survey with eight questions, of which two were open and six used the five-level Likert scale [18].
The stays were programmed for December and January, as these are the coldest months (Figure 3). The provision of a “double skin” in the ceiling was designed to reduce the temperature swings in the living space. The best way to survey the impact of the proposal was to submit the participants to the most extreme climate of the year. In all cases, there was no active heating system, neither combustion-based nor electrical, just the blankets and clothing that the visitors supplied. The participants were asked to leave the building as little as possible so that they were inside for almost the entire two days. This was not difficult to achieve since the participants or their offspring were farmers and at that time of year, there was very little agricultural activity.

3. Results

3.1. Survey 1

What the residents have and what they would like in their dwellings can be seen from the results. At present, the constructions of residents of La Cañada are very close to what they aspire to. However, the tendency to use wood as a material for walls has diminished, contributing to an increase in the use of concrete and brick. Adobe is a material whose use has changed little. It is not appreciated by many, but those who have used it in the past continue to do so.
The results show that concrete floors were the most used (74.4%), followed by ceramic floor tiles (12.8%) and compacted earth (12.8%) (Figure 4). However, to the question of “What would you like your floor to be made of?” 64.1% answered that they preferred ceramic floor tiles. Nonetheless, 35.9% answered that they would like visible concrete floors, with compacted earth completely disappearing. Ceramic tiles on a concrete base were considered to be a floor covering with the best finish.
Roof construction was mainly reinforced concrete (65%), with galvanized corrugated iron coming a distant second in preference (20.5%) and traditional wood in third place (17.9%). All these materials are still in use but there is a marked tendency to prefer reinforced concrete (82.8%), leaving behind other materials.
In the case of window frames, the predominant materials were steel sections (56.4%), aluminium (20.5%) and wood (15.4%). The preferences expressed by those surveyed were for aluminium (51.3%) and secondly for wood (17.9%). In third place was steel (23.1%), which is widely used but no one wanted it (Figure 4).
In Figure 5, the lighter bars represent the materials that were present in their homes, and the darker bars represent what those surveyed would have liked to have in their homes. At the time of the survey, the majority of homes were single-storey, and none were more than two storeys. It can be appreciated that there is a tendency to continue building but on a single floor.
It is very important to note that the number of bathrooms is closely related to the number of bedrooms in the house. That is, that houses with two or three bedrooms have a need for two or more bathrooms. At the same time, the growth in the size of a house implies an increase in the number of bedrooms. As a family increases in size, then so does the house.
The kitchen was an important element for those surveyed. When they were asked how many kitchens they had, 48.7% answered that they had two kitchens, 38.5% had one and 12.8% had three. However, to the question “How many kitchens would you like to have?” 43.6% answered two, the same percentage as answered three and 12.8% answered one. What can be seen is that those who wish for more kitchens are directly related to local tourism. They do not work in agriculture but in the prepared food trade, such as traditional pit-oven-cooked lamb and/or quesadillas.
On the question of thermal comfort (Figure 6) in the interior of dwellings, the survey asked for a ponderation from 1 to 5, where 1 was very cold and 5 representing very hot [19]. A majority of those surveyed (38.5%) responded that the conditions were mild. However, 23.1% said that their home was very cold, and at the other extreme, only 5% thought that their home was very hot (Figure 6). These latter cases coincided with their house being built of adobe, which has a much higher thermal time lag than the other construction types.
Those surveyed were also asked, on a scale from 1 to 5, where 1 was very damp and 5 was very dry, how was the humidity in their home? Of those surveyed, 35.9% responded that their home was semidamp and 25.6% considered their home to be dry. It was found that those interviewed associated humidity with temperature in that they thought that if the house was damp then it would be cold.
A list of words was given, where the interviewees were asked to indicate if they had heard of them or not and where: television, radio or school [20] (Figure 7 and Figure 8).
Environmental education. A total of 76.9% of respondents had heard of the term, whereas 23.1% said that they had not heard the term. When asked where they had heard the term, 51.3% replied on the television, 7.7% on the radio, 8% at school and 33% did not remember where.
Ecology. All interviewees (100%) had heard the term; 64.1% had heard the term on the television, 5.2% at school, 5.1% on the radio and 25.6% did not remember where.
Environment. The majority (90.4%) had heard of the term and 9.6% had not; 61.5% had heard it on the television, 2.3% on the radio, 1.8% at school and 34.4% did not remember where.
Sustainable building. Just 21.2% had heard the word and 78.8% never had; 25.5% had heard it on the television, 2% on the radio, only 1.2 at school, and 71.3% never had heard of it.
Sustainability. A proportion of 48.1% had heard the term, mainly on the television (38.5%), at school (4%) or on the radio (5.9%), and 51.6% did not remember where, whereas 51.9% had never heard the term.
Energy. All the interviewees had heard the word (100%). Most had heard the word on the television (66.7%), 5.1% had heard it on the radio, 4.6% at school and 23.6% did not remember where they had heard it.
Alternative technologies. Only 15.4% responded that they had heard the term, mostly on the television (41%), to a much lesser extent on the radio (7.6%) and just 6% at school. However, there were 84.6% of interviewees who did not know of the term and 45.4% who did not remember where they had heard it.
Global warming. A proportion of 61.5% reported having heard the term and 38.5% reported not. The sources of having heard the term were similar to the others, with 51.3% on the television, 7.8% on the radio and just 1% at school, and 39.9% did not remember.
From the above, the majority of the interviewees had heard of these words, above all on the television and, to a lesser degree, on the radio and at school. Even so, when asked if they could describe these words, most replied that they could not (75%), whilst the remaining 25% tried to respond but were not able to explain the meanings of these terms.
These results are not disappointing. On the contrary, they show that a large part of the interviewees keep a close eye on what happens in the world via mass media.
When they were asked if the knowledge that they had acquired was of use to them in their daily life, two-thirds said that it was. In the same tenor, they considered that environmental education [21] was very important for the community to help within the family and especially for their children’s homework.

3.2. Survey 2

From the 52 interviews in the first survey, 13 people were randomly selected to stay in the prototype building for 48 h. The second survey provided further information [18].
The guests were asked if they felt cold, hot, damp, draughts or comfortable (Figure 9). Of the guest responses, 76.9% responded that they did not feel cold and 92.3% did not feel hot. No one reported feeling damp nor draughts. It can thus be assumed that 94.9% of participants were in their comfort zone. The lack of reports of cold or heat could be attributed to the mild weather during the test period. Due to the altitude and latitude of the site the diurnal temperature range at the time of year of the tests was around 10 K, with a minimum night-time temperature of about 7 °C. The double-skinned roof construction was used to attenuate the daily temperature variations and maintain the interior temperature at night. The interior skin allowed the building to breathe and permitted ventilation without draughts but at the same time retain heat during the night.
The second question was “Did you sleep well?”, to which 92.3% answered yes, that they slept as usual. The interior roof skin was not an aggressive change to what they were accustomed to, and many commented that it was an aesthetic improvement.
The testers were asked to evaluate the cabin on a scale of 1 to 5, from agreeable to disagreeable, considering the ceiling, walls, floor, temperature, noise, humidity, draughts and the installations (Figure 10). The term installations referred to the solidity of the construction and the finish, in that it did not look improvised, but rather properly integrated. None of the testers responded with extremes; 84.6% considered the cabin to be agreeable; 92.3% considered the ceiling to be agreeable; and 84.6% thought that the walls, the floor and the humidity were agreeable. On the question of noise, 53.8% considered the level to be agreeable and, finally, 92.3% thought the installations to be agreeable.
Although the roofing was designed with practical considerations in mind, three out of four responded that they would copy this system. This question had the objective of measuring the acceptability of the proposed solution and the impact that it could achieve. However, many replies mentioned that the prototype “looked nice”. The testers were aware that the materials involved were not expensive and were readily available in the community. They also had the abilities necessary to incorporate this system in their own constructions.
When they were asked if they would use the system for the roof of their own home, then the replies changed dramatically. They showed a great lack of interest in the idea. The replies were very much in the tone of “Why would I do it?” or “What use is it to me?”. These replies were in the context of considerations of status and competition within the community [22]. If they considered that the use of the proposed improvement would increase their social status, then they were willing to use it.
The testers were asked if the interior of the cabin, during the day, was warmer than outdoors (Figure 11). Sixty-nine percent responded that that was the case. One of the main reasons was that they were warmer than in their own homes.
The same question was applied for the night-time case. The majority (92.3%) considered that they felt warmer at night. It should be taken into account that, during the day, doors and windows were opened and the testers did leave the cabin on occasion. This allowed air currents to circulate. This did not happen at night and so the interior temperature was conserved.
A question was applied, in which the testers were asked, “If they could improve the cabin what would that improvement be?”, to which 61.6% responded that they would not have made any changes and 15.4% said that they would make it bigger. The rest of the replies were that they would decorate the place to follow their own tastes (Figure 12).
A similar question but with a negative connotation was also asked in order to counter the effect of the interviewees trying to please the researcher. This question was “What didn’t you like about the cabin?”. Even so, 61.6% replied that they did not dislike anything, 15.4% replied that they would like it to be bigger and 23.1% said that the aesthetics were not to their personal liking. These results are consistent with the previous question.
The replies were influenced by the familial situation of the testers. Thus, members of smaller families identified with the prototype, whereas it could be supposed that others need bigger homes.

4. Discussion

The results of the study on the potential for social assimilation of the proposed technology were unexpected.
It was understood that the members of the community where the study took place generally had a low level of formal education and low incomes. Also, they tended to copy what for them was meant to be “better”. That implies that the authors, as researchers, were not the ideal subjects to judge the acceptability of the proposed technology. It was apparent that the collateral benefits, such as energy saving and forest conservation, were of little relevance to the interviewees. Their main interest was in direct material benefits in financial terms [23].
When they talked of a new implementation, they saw it as a way of showing their individuality in a way that was well-received amongst their peers and that could be admired.
Smelser [22] wrote of the need for leaders and this study bears this out. On trying to find these leaders in the community, it was noted that there were none related to everyday activities. Leaders of opinion for the community were those related to the media, especially the television. Most of those interviewed preferred to copy lifestyles such as those seen in soap operas instead of innovative ideas. This would improve their status in the eyes of the rest of the community.
The acceptance of new construction materials comes about from following or conserving status within the community. This status is related to the cost or opulence of the construction style. There was no reflection on the status obtained from thermal comfort, low energy expenditure or a better life for their grandchildren.
Although in the second survey the residents reported that the interior environment was more agreeable than their own home, they remained sceptical that the prototype’s innovative technology was the cause of the improvement in the thermal comfort.
On the question of technological innovation, the respondents were open to it if it allowed them to scale the social hierarchy, even if it clashed with practical matters. It was observed that the acceptance of the prototype was attributable to aesthetic consideration more than thermal comfort. It is important to note that those persons who were invited to consider applying the technique to their own homes were unenthusiastic and justified their replies with “What use would it be to me?”. This was with the objective of wanting to hear in what way this technology would provide a level of admiration from their peers, leaving aside the benefits in terms of physical health (due to better thermal comfort), better quality of life or conservation of the habitat from a more sustainable development point of view.
In this case, it has been shown that the appropriation of the technique to improve a home is possible only if the objective is mainly social and not only technical [24]. That is, that it meant something in the social terms of reference of the community.
The perception of comfort inside the prototype was related to the temperature perception of those surveyed. The interviewees knew empirically that during the coldest months of the year they had to take care of their health. Their solution is to cover themselves with more blankets and, in extreme cases, leave the wood fire lit overnight. They had a notable tolerance to cold [19].
However, in the case of humidity, this was not something that they were concerned about, even though the months of the rainy and dry seasons are not inter-related, neither for temperature nor comfort.
Other observations were made by the interviewer during the research, which were not directly the object of the project.
A lack of engagement and knowledge about treatment and technology of environmental conservation, the surroundings and the landscape were observed. What is usually considered to be rubbish is not so for the residents. They have neither rubbish collection nor a landfill site [23]. The housing plots have soft drink bottles and household cleaning product containers, disposable nappies and plastic bags in them. Although some items are reused, the residents habitually leave them where they are or bury them in their own yards.
The village is growing in a haphazard and mostly horizontal manner. Plots are arbitrarily subdivided for children to build their own houses, which are ever smaller and more cramped. This will have a deleterious impact on the health and extension of the forest if adequate policies are not put in place.
There is a custom to use two kitchens, where firewood is burnt to cook dishes in one and tortillas are cooked in the other. The exploitation of the forest to provide firewood is unregulated.
There is a clear tendency to generate income from weekend tourism, pony trekking, quadbike hire, etc., all of which are largely unregulated and improvised [24].
Water sources, such as springs and wells, are considered private property and even so they are not conserved. The majority of the residents are commoners and entitled to free electricity, so only about 10% of the community have to pay electricity bills.
The commoners do not consider that the forest and other natural resources are theirs and so take them for granted as not their responsibility. They consider them to be eternal and appear not to be aware that they are disappearing.

5. Conclusions

One of the most important results from the study is the clear indication of the overriding impact of social perceptions of the proposed technology to improve thermal comfort. That is to say that, more than improved physical conditions, the perceived impact on social standing in the community had much more influence on the likely uptake of the proposed and demonstrated technology. This was despite the clear opinions that the modification of the test cabin evidently provided perceivable improvements in thermal comfort.
This study is a representative sample of how the inhabitants can assimilate environmental proposals in the western and southern part of the Mexico City hinterlands where forest exists. However, it cannot shed light upon how this assimilation would be in the northern part, where the tendency is industrial, or towards the east, which is essentially service-oriented, both with different climatic and ecological conditions, which would be worth considering in further studies.

Author Contributions

Methodology, E.G.L.; Writing–original draft, C.H. All authors have read and agreed to the published version of the manuscript.


Funding for this research and the APC was provided by the Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana, Department of Design Theory and Practice, Unidad Cuajimalpa, Mexico City. Project, “El diseño ante el cambio climático: Divulgación, normatividad e información climatológico” 48401022.

Institutional Review Board Statement

The Research Committee of the Division of Communication Sciences and Design endorses that the research project entitled “Design for climate change, Dissemination of regulations and climatological information” was registered and approved at session 14.21 of the Divisional Councel at DCCD, Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana, Unidad Cuajimalpa, Mexico City.

Informed Consent Statement

Informed consent was obtained from all subjects involved in the study.

Data Availability Statement

The data presented in this study are available on request from the corresponding author.


This work was carried out at the Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana, Department of Design Theory and Practice, Unidad Cuajimalpa, Mexico City, project “El diseño ante el cambio climático: Divulgación, normatividad e información climatológico”.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest. The funders had no role in the design of the study; in the collection, analyses, or interpretation of data; in the writing of the manuscript; or in the decision to publish the results.

Appendix A

Survey 1
Experimental construction based on alternative technology.
This survey had as a fundamental objective, to find out the acceptability of alternative technology in construction of habitational spaces. It has been designed for the purpose of the present research.
Name:________________________ Gender:______________________ Age:_________________

Appendix A.1. Materials

What materials is your house made of?
WallAdobeBrickWood Other
FloorCeramic tilesconcreteCompact earthOther
CeilingReinforced concreteGalvanized corrugated ironTraditional woodStraw or other
Window frameWoodAluminiumSteelOther
Of the rooms in your house, how many of each type are there?
123More than 3
Do you think that your own house has any problems?
YesWhat are they?NoI don’t knowUnanswered

Appendix A.2. Appreciation

What materials would you like your house to be built with?
WallAdobeBrickWood Other
FloorCeramic tilesConcreteCompact earthOther
CeilingReinforced concreteGalvanized corrugatedTraditional woodStraw or other
Window frameWoodAluminiumSteelOther
How many rooms would you like your house to have?
123More than 3
On a scale of 1 to 5: where 1 is very cold and 5 very warm, where would you place your house?
Very cold
Very warm
When you are inside your house, do you sometimes feel cold?
YesNoI don’t knowUnanswered
How often you feel cold inside your house?
All the yearAll the yearSome weeksSome days
How you manage feeling cold?
Chimney _______ Blankets ______________ Firewood _____________
Heaters ________ Kitchen stove __________ Not solved ____________
Others (explain) ________________________
Inside your house do you sometimes feel warm?
YesNoI don’t knowUnanswered
How often you feel warm?
All the yearAll the yearSome weeksSome days
How you manage feeling warm?
Fan ___________ Opening windows ____________
Evaporative cooler_________ Nothing___________________ Other ________
On a scale of 1 to 5: where 1 is very humid and 5 very dry, where would you place your house?
Very humid
Neither humid nor dry 3Dry
Very dry
If your answer is between 1 to 3, why?
It lacks waterproofing in the roof __________ Moisture rises through the floor ________
It lacks waterproofing of the walls _________ Internal leaks _______________________
I don’t know _______________________ Unanswered _____________________
On a scale of 1 to 5 how wet/dry is your bedroom?
Very humid
Neither humid nor dry 3Dry
Very dry
What is the reason?
It lacks waterproofing in the roof __________ Moisture rises through the floor ________
It lacks waterproofing of the walls _________ Internal leaks _______________________
I don’t know _______________________ Unanswered_____________________
On a scale of 1 to 5 how humid/dry is your bathroom?
Very humid
Neither humid nor dry 3Dry
Very dry
What is the reason?
It lacks waterproofing in the roof __________ Moisture rises through the floor ________
It lacks waterproofing of the walls _________ Internal leaks _______________________
I don’t know _______________________ Unanswered _____________________
On a scale of 1 to 5 how wet/dry is your kitchen?
Very humid
Neither humid nor dry 3Dry
Very dry
Which is the reason?
It lacks waterproofing in the roof ____ Moisture rises through the floor ___
It lacks waterproofing of the walls _____ Internal leaks ____
I don’t know _______________________ Unanswered _____________________
Have you heard of the following words?
YesNoWhere Did You Hear Them?
Environmental Education
Sustainable Building
Alternative Technologies
Global warming
Can you describe what they mean?
YesNoShort description
Environmental Education
Sustainable Building
Alternative Technologies
Global warming
Has this knowledge helped you in your daily life?
Do you consider that environmental education is essential for you?
Were you or someone in your family a farmer or farm worker?
YesSome great
ParentsYour childrenI don’t knowUnanswered
Do you know where the water you drink comes from?
Do you know where your waste water goes?
When you eat something, where do you dispose of the garbage?_______
Do you know where your garbage goes? Where?____________________
Do you know of another electricity source other than that in your house?
YesNoWhich?I don’t knowUnanswered
Survey 2
Experimental construction based on alternative technology.
This survey has a main objective of finding the acceptance of alternative technology in the construction of habitable spaces. It has been designed to directly follow the purpose of this research and data will serve just as a statistical sample.
Name:________________________ Gender:______________________ Age:_________________
  • Inside the house, did you feel?
  • Did you sleep well?
    Yes_______________ No_________________
  • On a scale of 1 to 5: where 1 means strongly disagreeable and 5 means strongly agreeable, where do you classify the following items?
    Strongly DisagreeableDisagreeableNeither Agreeable nor DisagreeableAgreeableStrongly Agreeable
  • Would you reproduce the ceiling in your own house?
    Yes_______________ No_________________ Why?____________________________________
  • If you could make some improvements to this house, what would you do? ____________________
  • Do you consider that inside this house is warmer or colder than the exterior during the day?
    Yes____________________ No_________________ Why?_______________________________
  • Do you consider that inside the house is warmer or colder than the exterior during the night? __________________________________________________________________________
  • What didn’t you like about the house or your experience living here? ________________________


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Figure 1. Location of the community “La Cañada”.
Figure 1. Location of the community “La Cañada”.
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Figure 2. Age ranges of the population.
Figure 2. Age ranges of the population.
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Figure 3. Visit calendar.
Figure 3. Visit calendar.
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Figure 4. Construction materials.
Figure 4. Construction materials.
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Figure 5. Material preferences.
Figure 5. Material preferences.
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Figure 6. Thermal comfort perceptions.
Figure 6. Thermal comfort perceptions.
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Figure 7. Words related to sustainability.
Figure 7. Words related to sustainability.
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Figure 8. Words related to sustainability.
Figure 8. Words related to sustainability.
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Figure 9. Perception of conditions in the cabin.
Figure 9. Perception of conditions in the cabin.
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Figure 10. Perceived aesthetic qualities of the cabin.
Figure 10. Perceived aesthetic qualities of the cabin.
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Figure 11. Bioclimatic cabin qualities.
Figure 11. Bioclimatic cabin qualities.
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Figure 12. Replies to “What did and didn’t you like about the cabin?”.
Figure 12. Replies to “What did and didn’t you like about the cabin?”.
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García López, E.; Heard, C. Social Acceptance of a Thermal Architectural Implementation Proposal. Sustainability 2023, 15, 4121.

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García López E, Heard C. Social Acceptance of a Thermal Architectural Implementation Proposal. Sustainability. 2023; 15(5):4121.

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García López, Esperanza, and Christopher Heard. 2023. "Social Acceptance of a Thermal Architectural Implementation Proposal" Sustainability 15, no. 5: 4121.

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