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Potential of relative humidity as a proxy of air temperature in developing passive and adaptive building façades with bio-based responsive materials

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Kumar Biswajit DebnathORCiD, Natalia PynirtziORCiD, Dr Jane Scott, Dr Colin DavieORCiD, Professor Ben BridgensORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


There has been significant development in thermo-responsive materials for drug delivery and bio-medical use; some are bio-based. However, the use of thermo-responsive bio-based materials in the built environment, especially on the building façade, is almost non-existent due to complexities including difficulties manufacturing in bulk, cost and durability to weathering. On the other hand, humidity-responsive materials such as wood are abundant and are used in buildings globally. Furthermore, new bio-based humidity-responsive materials such as bacterial cellulose (BC) and natural fibres have the potential for building applications. In this study, we hypothesised that if there was a relationship between the relative humidity and air temperature in a location, humidity-responsive materials could be used to develop passive and adaptive building façades, which would indirectly respond to temperature. Here, we selected two sites (New Delhi, India and Newcastle upon Tyne, UK) with temperate climates — according to the Köppen-Geiger system— to analyse the relationship between relative humidity and air temperature from 37 years (1985-2022) of weather data and typical meteorological year (TMY) climate data for 2004-2018. This relationship assessment used the Pearson correlation (coefficient and p-value) analysis. Our results showed a strong and statistically significant negative correlation between the relative humidity and air temperature in all months in 37 years in New Delhi, with the strongest correlation in the summer and monsoon months. However, the correlation was strong only in some summer months for Newcastle upon Tyne. We concluded that humidity-responsive bio-based materials have the potential to be used to actuate passive and adaptive building façades in New Delhi (for all-year-round use) and Newcastle (only during summer), which respond indirectly to external temperature.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Debnath KB, Pynirtzi N, Scott J, Davie C, Bridgens B

Publication type: Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)

Publication status: Published

Conference Name: CEES 2023 | 2nd International Conference on Construction, Energy, Environment & Sustainability

Year of Conference: 2023

Online publication date: 30/06/2023

Acceptance date: 27/06/2023

Date deposited: 17/04/2024

Publisher: Itecons (Institute for Research and Technological Development for Construction, Energy, Environment and Sustainability)


ePrints DOI: 10.57711/gf6d-wb77