Adaptive Strategies Used in Urban Houses to Overheating: A Systematic Review


  • Sakirat Abimbola Afolabi Lead City University in Ibadan, Nigeria
  • Assoc. Prof. Dr. Funmilayo Adedire Lead City University in Ibadan, Nigeria



Adaptive Strategies, Thermal Discomfort, Urban Overheating, Heat Island Effect, Urban Development


Recently, urban regions are experiencing prolonged heat exposure due to climate change and increased population expansion. Physiological, psychological and behavioural measures improve residents’ thermal comfort to solve the overheating issues generated by the scenario. However, adaptive strategies have not been clearly categorized based on the building construction process. This paper systematically reviews 101 documents published from 2013 to 2023, across 22 countries, with a focus on Nigeria. Using descriptive statistics and content analysis, we identify and categorize 52 adaptive strategies into four groups: urban design, effective building design, insulation, and occupants’ behaviour. These strategies are further classified according to their application in the building process stages: pre-design, design, construction, and post-construction. The study provides a full response to overheating in the building sector with efforts to reduce energy consumption rate and greenhouse gas emissions. The findings of the study contribute, significantly to improvement in occupants’ health care and well-being, as well as high productivity levels and socioeconomic benefits. Future research is therefore recommended in the efficiency of its implementation to develop innovative and cost-effective solutions in the construction industry towards sustainable urban development.


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biographies

Sakirat Abimbola Afolabi, Lead City University in Ibadan, Nigeria

Sakirat Abimbola Afolabi is a first-class graduate of Architecture from the Lead City University in Ibadan, Nigeria and undergoing a doctoral programme in Architecture from the same University. She had her professional training experience in Housing Development and Management from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria. Afolabi Sakirat Abimbola has published a paper on the maintenance culture of public buildings focusing interest on sustainable development.

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Funmilayo Adedire, Lead City University in Ibadan, Nigeria

Dr. Funmilayo Adedire is a high-flying academic, administrator and researcher in Architecture and Urban Planning. She received her professional training in Architecture and Urban Planning at the University of Lagos and the University of Ibadan, Nigeria respectively. Demonstrable results in academia include among many initiating, developing university academic curriculums, spare heading and securing both professional and academic accreditations for Architecture programmes from undergraduate to post-graduate level including research programmes. Dr. Funmilayo Adedire’s research interests centre on Housing, Urban Resilience, Sustainable Urbanisation, Architectural Technology (Digital innovation in Architectural practice and education) and Landscape Architecture. Her research publications have covered different aspects of urban transitions including peri-urban housing, challenges to spatial transition, urban quality and resilience of emerging African peripheral urban systems. Other areas of publications include the adoption of digital technology both in architectural education and practice. Further research experience includes reviewing for notable international journals in the built environment.


Adaji, M. U. (2017). Thermal comfort in a hot-humid climate through passive cooling in low-income residential buildings in Abuja, Nigeria. University of Kent, United Kingdom.

Adaji, M. U., Adekunle, T. O., Watkins, R., & Adler, G. (2019, July 12). Indoor comfort and adaptation in low-income and middle-income residential buildings in a Nigerian city during a dry season. Building and Environment, 162, Article e106276.

Adedire, F. M., & Adegbile, M. B. (2018). Effects of urbanisation on spatial demographic change in Ibeju-Lekki, Lagos periurban settlement. Community Development, 49(3), 292-311.

Adefisan, E. A., & Ahmad, S. (2018, August 30). Assessment of heat wave events in a changing climate over Nigeria. Thomson Reuters, 5(8), 115-133.

Adegun, O. B., & Ayoola, H. A. (2019, June). Adaptation to heat stress within housing estates in Akure, Nigeria. Covenant Journal of Research in the Built Environment, 7(1), 51-62.

Adunola, A. O. (2014). Evaluation of urban residential thermal comfort in relation to indoor and outdoor temperatures in Ibadan, Nigeria. Building and Environment, 75, 190-205.

Akande, O. K. (2021). Urbanisation, housing quality and health: Towards a redirection for housing provision in Nigeria. Journal of Contemporary Urban Affairs, 5(1), 35-46.

Akinola, A. O., Opoko, A. P., Ibem, E. O., Okagbue, H. I., & Afolabi, A. O. (2020, February). Climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies in Lagos, Nigeria: Built environment professionals' perspective. International Journal of Engineering & Advanced Technology, 9(3), 1273-1282.

Akinyemi, S. O., Hadiza, A. M., & & Salau, L. T. (2020, June). Assessing the causes of urbanization and its impact on housing quality in the city of Lagos. Retrieved from Hummingbird Publications Ltd.

Alozie, G. C., Eze, M. U., Ifebi, O. C., & Nnsewo, I. I. (2019, March). A derivation of passive guidelines for achieving thermal comfort in the design of residential buildings in the warm humid climate of Abia State, Nigeria. International Journal of Development Strategies in Humanities, Management and Social Sciences , 9(3), 1-15.

Alrasheed, M., & Mourshed, M. (2023, July). Domestic overheating risks and mitigation strategies: The state-of-the-art and directions for future research. Indoor and Built Environment, 32(6), 1057-1077.

Alwetaishi, M. S. (2016). Impact of building function on thermal comfort: A review. American Journal of Engineering and Applied Sciences, 9(4), 928-945.

Argueso, D., Evans, J. P., Fita, L., & Bormann, K. J. (2014). Temperature response to future urbanisation and climate change. Climate Dynamics, 42(7), 2183-2199.

Ashtiani, A., Mirzaei, P. A., & Haghighat, F. (2014). Indoor thermal condition in urban heat island: Comparison of the artificial neural network and regression methods prediction. 76, 597-604.

Attia, S., & Gobin, C. (2020). Climate change effects on Belgian households: A case study of a nearly zero energy building. Energies, 13(20), Article e5357.

Baniassadi, A., Sailor, D. J., Krayenhoff, E. S., Broadbent, A. M., & Georgescu, M. (2019). Passive survivability of buildings under changing urban climates across eight US cities. Environmental Research Letters, 14(7), Article e074028. IOP Publishing Ltd.

Bhikhoo, N., Hashemi, A., & Cruickshank, H. (2017). Improving thermal comfort of low-income housing in Thailand through passive design strategies. Sustainability, 9(8), Article e1440.

Brotas, L., & Nicol, F. (2017). Estimating overheating in European dwellings. Architectural Science Review, 60(3), 180-191.

Bugenings, L. A., & Kamari, A. (2022). Overheating in existing and renovated Danish single- and multi-family houses. Journal of Building Engineering, 57, Article e104835.

Bundle, N., O'Connell, E., O'Connor, N., & Bone, A. (in press). A public health needs assessment for domestic indoor overheating. Public Health.

Chapman, S., Watson, J. E., Salazar, A., Thatcher, M., & Mcalpine, C. (2017, October). The impact of urbanisation and climate change on urban temperatures: Asystematic review. Landscape Ecology, 32(6).

Charles, C. (2022). Effect of windows configuration in wall panels on room temperature in naturally ventilated residential buildings in Asaba, Nigeria. International Journal of Engineering Applied Sciences and Technology, 7(4), 281-286.

Chen, D. (2019). Overheating in residential buildings: Chalenges and opportunities. Indoor and Built Environment, 28(10), 1303-1306.

Chen, X., & He, B.-J. (2022). Development of a frameworkfor urban heat adaptation in 15-minute city. IOP Conf. Series: Earth and Environmental Science, 1122, Article e012005. https;//

Cinner, J. E., Adger, W. N., Allison, E. H., Barnes, M. L., & Brown, K. (2018, February). Building adaptive capacity to climate change in tropical coastal communities.

Clear, A., Friday, A., Hazas, M., & Lord, C. (2014). Catch my drift? Achieving comfort more sustainably in conventionally heated buildings. DIS ’14 Proceedings of the 2014 conference on Designing interactive systems, (pp. 1015-1024). Vancouver, BC, Canada.

Daniel, A. O. (2015). Urban extreme weather: A challenge for a healthy living environment in Akure, Ondo State, Nigeria. Climate, 3(4), 775-791.

Drury, P., Watson, S., & Lomas, K. J. (2021). Summertime overheating in UK homes: Is there a safe haven? Buildings and Cities, 2(1), 970-990.

Ehsan, S., Abbas, F., Ibrahim, M., Ahmad, B., & Farooque, A. A. (2021). Thermal discomfort levels, building design concepts, and some heat mitigation strategies in low-income communities of a South Asian city. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18, Article e2535.

Folkerts, M. A., Brode, P., Botzen, W. W., Martinius, M. L., Gerrett, N., Harmsen, C. N., & Daanen, H. A. (2020, March 18). Long term adaptation to heat stress. 11, Article e225.

Fosas, D., Coley, D. A., Natarajan, S., Herrera, M., Fosas de Pando, M., & Ramallo-Gonzallez, A. (2018). Mitigation versus adaptation: Does insulating dwellings increase overheating risk? Building and Environment, 143, 740-759.

Gamero-Salinas, J. C., Monge-Barrio, A., & Sanchez-Ostiz, A. (2020). Overheating risk assessment of different dwellings during the hottest season of a warm tropical climate. Building and Environment, 252, Article e111417.

Gamero-Salinas, J., Monge-Barrio, Aurora, Kishnani, N., Lopez-Fidalgo, J., & Sanchez-Ostiz, A. (2021). Passive cooling design strategies as adaptation measures for lowering the indoor overheating risk in tropical climates. Energy & Buildings.

Garcia, Y., Jesus, C., Blanco, J. M., & Roji, E. (2018). Optimizing the indoor thermal behaviour of housing units in hot humid climates: Analysis and modelling of sustainable constructive alternatives. Indoor and Built Environment.

Gilabert, J., Deluca, A., Lauwaet, D., Ballester, J., Corbera, J., & Llasat, M. C. (2021). Assessing heat exposure to extreme temperatures in urban areas using the local climate zone clasification, Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences, 21, 375-391.

Gobin, S. A. (2020). Climate Change Effects on Belgian Households: A Case Study of A Nearly Zero Energy Building. Energies, 13(20), 1-12.

Gunawardena, K. (2015, July). Residential overheating risk in an urban climate. Master of Philosophy (PhD) Thesis. University of Cambridge.

Gunawardena, K.-c., & Steemers, K. (2019). Adaptive comfort assessments in urban neighbourhods: Simulations of a residential case study from London.

Gupta, R., Howard, A., Davies, M., Mavrogianni, A., Tsoulou, I., Jain, N., & Wilkinson, P. (2021). Monitoring and modelling the risk of summertime overheating and passive solutions to avoid active cooling in London care homes. Energy and Buildings.117(1)

Hao, L., Herrera-Avellanosa, D., Del Pero, C., & Troi, A. (2022, July 15). Overheating risks and adaptation strategies of energy retrofitted historic buildings under the impact of climate change: Case studies in Alpine region. MDPI, 12, Article e7162.

Haruna, A. C., Muhammad, U. D., & Oraegbune, O. M. (2018). Analysis of indoor thermal comfort perception of building occupants in Jimeta, Nigeria. Civil and Environmental Research, 10(4), 11-20.

Hellwig, R. T., Teli, D., & Schweiker, M. (2019). A framework for adopting adaptive thermal comfort principles in design and operation of buildings. Energy and Buildings.

Ibrahim, H. S., Khan, A. Z., Mahar, W. A., Attia, S., & Serag, Y. (2021). Assessment of passive retrofitting scenarios in heritage residential buildings in hot, dry climates. Energies, 14, Article e3359.

Inusa, M., & Alibaba, H. Z. (2017). Application of passive cooling techniques in residential buildings: A case study of Northern Nigeria. International Journal of Engineering Research and Application, 7(1 part 1), 24-30.

Keys, N., Thomsen, D. C., & Smith, T. F. (2016). Adaptive capacity and climate change: The role of community opinion leaders. Local Environment, 21(4), 432-450.

Kinnunen, A., Talvitie, I., Ottelin, J., Heinonen, J., & Junnila, S. (2022, June 24). Carbon sequestration and storage potential of urban residential environment - A review. 84, Article e104027.

Laouadi, A., Bartko, M., & Lacasse, M. A. (2020). A new methodology of evaluation of overheating in buildings. Energy and Buildings, 226, 1-47.

Lembi, J. J., Akande, O. K., Ahmed, S., & Emechebe, L. C. (2021, June 25). The drivers for low energy materials application for sustainable public housing delivery in Nigeria. Science Publishing Group, 6(2), 19-24.

Liu, S., Kwok, Y. T., Lau, K. K.-L., Ouyang, W., & Ng, E. (2020b). Effectiveness of passive design strategies in responding to future climate change for residential buildings in hot and humid Hong Kong. Energy and Buildings, 228, Article e110469.

Liu, S., Kwok, Y.-T., Lau, K., & Ng, E. (2021a). Applicability of different extreme datasets for assessing indoor overheating risks of residential buildings in a subtropical high-density city (Vol. 194).

Lomas, K. J., & Kane, T. (2013). Summertime temperatures and thermal comfort in UK homes . Building Research & Information, 41(3), 259-280.

Ma, Z., Zhao, D., She, C., Yang, Y., & Yang, R. (2021). Personal thermal management techniques for thermal comfort and building energy saving. Materials Today Physics , 20, Article e100465.

Mahar, W. A., Verbeeck, G., Singh, M. K., & Attia, S. (2019). An investigation of thermal comfort of houses in dry and semi-arid climates of Quetta, Pakistan. Sustainability, 11(19), Article e52023.

Manzano-Agugliaro, F., Montoya, G., F., Sabio-Ortega, A., & Garcia-Cruz, A. (2015). Review of bioclimatic architecture strategies for achieving thermal comfort. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 49, 736-755.

Mastrucci, A., Baume, O., Stazi, F., Salvucci, S., & Leopold, U. (2014). A GIS based approach to estimate energy savings and indoor thermal comfort for urban housing stock retrofitting. [Fifth German-Austrian IBPSA Conference]. BauSIM 2014, RWTH Aachen University. pp. 190-197.

Matandirotya, N. R., Cilliers, D. P., Burger, R. P., Pauw, C., & Piketh, S. J. (2020). Risks of indoor overheating in low-cost dwellings on the South African Lowveld. African Handbook of Climate Change (W. L. al., Ed.).

Mesfin, D., Simane, B., Belay, A., Recha, J. W., & Schmiedel, U. (2020, September 29). Assessing the Adaptive Capacity of Households to climate change in the central rift valley of Ethiopia. MDPI, 8(10), Article e106.

Mohammed, U. A., & Alibaba, H. Z. (2018). Application of bioclimatic design strategies to solve thermal discomfort in Maiduguri residences, Borno State, Nigeria. Imperial Journal of Interdisciplinary Research Peer Review International Journal, 4(1), 227-233.

Moore, T., Ridley, I., Strengers, Y., Maller, C., & Horne, R. (2017). Dwelling performance and adaptive summer comfort in low-income Australian households. Building Research & Information.

Morey, J., Beizaee, A., & Wright, A. (2020, March 18). An investigation into overheating in social housing dwellings in central England. Building and Environment, 176, p. Article e106814.

Mourkos, K., Hopfe, C. J., McLeod, R. S., Goodier, C., & Swainson, M. (2020). The impact of accurately modelling corridor thermodynamics in the overheating risk assessment of multi-residential dwellings. Energies and Buildings, 224, Article e110302.

Muhammad, M. S., Bello, H. T., & Ishaq, M. M. (2021, December 31). Factors Determining Housing Quality in Selected Neighbourhoods of the Bauchi metropolis, Nigeria. Economics, 7(12), 2007-2014.

Mulville, M., & Stravoravdis, S. (2016). The impact of regulations on overheating risk in dwellings. Building Research and Information, 44(5-6), 520-534.

Nazarian, N., Krayenhoff, E. S., Bechtel, B., Hondula, D. M., Paolini, R., Vanos, J., . . . Santamouris, M. (2022, August 23). Integrated assessment of urban overheating impacts on human life. Advancing Earth and Space Science, 10(8), Article e2022EF002682.

Nunn, J., & Chang, S. (2020). What are systematic reviews? WikiJournal of Medicine, 7(1), Article e5.

Nwalusi, D. M., Obi, N. I., Chendo, I. G., & Okeke, F. O. (2022). Climate responsive design strategies for contemporary low-rise residential buildings in tropical environment of Enugu, Nigeria. 3rd International Conference on Energy and Sustainable Environment. 1054, Article e012052. IOP Conference Series: Earth and Environmental Science.

Ochedi, E. T., & Taki, A. (2022). A framework approach to the design of energy efficient residential buildings in Nigeria. Energy and Built Environment.

Okafor, M. U., Awuzie, B. O., Otasowie, K., Marcel-Okafor, U., & Aigbavboa, C. (2022). Evaluation of indoor thermal comfort conditions of residential traditional and modern buildings in warm-humid climates. Sustainability, 14, Article e12138.

Okpalike, C., Okeke, F. O., Ezema, E. C., Oforji, P. I., & Igwe, A. E. (2022, May 9). Effects of renovation on ventilation and energy saving in residential building. Civil Engineering Journal, 7, 124-134.

Olugbenga, E., & Adekemi, O. (2013). Challenges of housing delivery in metropolitan Lagos. Research on Humanities and Social Science, 3(20), 1-8.

Onyenokporo, N. C., & Ochedi, E. T. (2018). Low-cost retrofit packages for residential buildings in hot-humid Lagos, Nigeria. 37(3), 250-272. htps://

Ouanes, S., Sriti, L., & Khadraoui, M. A. (2022, October). Assessment of building design and overheating on occupants' thermal comfort and energy performance considering self-build houses in a hot arid urban environment. A New Decade for Social Changes, 36, 725-734.

Owolabi, B. O. (2018). An assessment of government involvements in housing delivery in Oyo State, Nigeria. Noble International Journal of Economics and Financial Research, 3(4), 40-58.

Porrit, S. M., Cropper, P. C., Shao, L., & Goodier, C. I. (2013). Heat wave adaptations for UK dwellings and development of a retrofit toolkit. International Journal of Disaster Resilience in the Built Environment, 4(3), 269-286.

Psomas, T., Heiselberg, P., Duer, K., & Bjorn, E. (2016). Overheating heat barriers to energy renovations of single family houses: Multicriteria analysis and assessment. Energy and Buildings.

Quinn, A., Tamerius, J. D., Perzanowski, M., Jacobson, J. S., Goldstein, I., Acosta, L., & Shaman, J. (2014). Predicting indoor heat exposure risk during extreme heat events. Science of the Total Environment, 490, 686-693.

Rodrigues, E., & Fernandes, M. S. (2019). Overheating risk in Mediterranean residential buildings: Comparison of current and future climate scenarios. Applied Energy.

Santamouris, M. (2020). Recent progress on urban overheating and heat island research. Integrated assessment of the energy, environmental, vulnerability and health impact. Synergies with the global climate change.

Santamouris, M., & Kolokotsa, D. (2015). On the impact of urban overheating and extreme climatic conditions on housing, energy, comfort and environmental quality of vulnerable population in Europe . Energy and Buildings.

Schunemann, C., Olfert, A., Schiela, D., Gruhler, K., & Ortlepp, R. (2020). Mitigation and adaptation in multifamily housing: Overheating and climate justice. Climate justice: The role of the built environment, 1(1), 36-55.

Shady Attia, &. C. (2020). Climate Change Effects on Belgian Households: A Case Study of a Nearly Zero Energy Building. Energies, 1-12.

Shariff, S. Z., Bejaimal, S. A., Sontrop, J. M., Iansavichus, A. V., Haynes, R. B., Weir, M. A., & Garg, A. X. (2013, August 15). Retrieving clinical evidence: A comparison of Pubmed and Google Scholar for quick clinical searches. Retrieved from Advancing Digital Health and Open Science.

Sholanke, A. B., Alugah, K. D., Ademo, J. A., & Adisa, O. S. (2022). Impact of energy efficient design strategies on users' comfort in selected mixed-use buildings in Lagos State, Nigeria. IOP Conference Series: Earth and Environmental Science, 1054, Article e012025.

Singh, M. K., Mahapatra, S., & Teller, J. (2014). Relation between indoor thermal environment and renovation in Leige residential buildings . Thermal Science, 18(3), 889-902.

Stagrum, A. E., Andenaes, E., Kvande, T., & Lohne, J. (2020, February 25). Climate change adaptation measures for buildings - A scoping review. Sustainability, 12(5), Article e1721.

Taylor, J., McLeod, R., Petrou, G., Hopfe, C., Mavrogianni, A., Castano-Rosa, R., . . . Lomas, K. (2023). Ten questions concerning residential overheating in Central and Northern Europe. Building and Environment, 234, Article e110154.

Teo, Y. H., & Ling, M. H. (2020, December). A systematic review on the sufficiency of PubMed and Google Scholar for biosciences. Acta Scientific Medical Sciences, 4(12), 3-8.

Tettey, U. Y., Dodoo, A., & Gustavasson, L. (2019). Design strategies and measures to minimise operation energy use for passive houses under different climate scenarios. Energy Efficiency, 12, 299-313.

Thapa, S. (2022). Risk of overheating in low-rise naturally ventilated residential buildings of northeast India - An effect of climate change. Architectural Science Review, 65(1), 14-41.

Thathsarani, U. S., & Gunaratne, L. H. (2018). Constructing and index to measure the adaptive capacity to climate change in Sri Lanka. Procedia Engineering, 212, 278-285.

Tootkaboni, M. P., Ballarini, I., & Corrado, V. (2021). Analysing the future energy performance of residential buildings in the most populated Italian climatic zone: A case study of climate change impacts. Energy Reports.

van Hooff, T., Blocken, B., Hensen, ,. J., & Timmermans, H. J. (2014). On the predicted effectiveness of climate adaptation measures for residential buildings. Building and Environment, 82, 300-316.

Vasquez-Torres, C. E., & Gomez-Amador, A. (2022). Impact of indoor air volume on thermal performance in social housing with mixed mode ventilation in three different climates. Energy and Built Environment.

Vellei, M., Gonzalez, A. R., Kaleli, D., Lee, J., & Natarajan, S. (2016). Investigating the overheating risk in refurbished social housing. Proceedings of 9th Windsor Conference: Making Comfort Relevant. Cumberland Lodge, Windsor, UK.

Vellei, M., Ramallo-Gonzalez, A. P., Coley, D., Lee, J., Gabe-Thomas, E., Lovett, T., & Natarajan, S. (2017). Overheating in vulnerable and non-vulnerable households. Building Research & Information, 45(1-2), 102-118.

Verichev, K., Zamorano, M., & Carpio, M. (2020). Effects of climate change on variations in climatic zones and heating energy consumption of residential buildings in the Southern Chile. Energy and Buildings.

Wang, Z., Ji, Y., & Ren, J. (2017). Thermal adaptation in overheated residential buildings in severe cold area in China. Energy and Buildings. doi:

Widera, B. (2021). Comparative analysis of user comfort and thermal performance of six types of vernacular dwellings as the first step towards climate resilient, sustainable and bioclimatic architecture in Western Sub-Saharan Africa. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 140, Article e110736.

Williams, A. A., Spengler, J. D., Catalano, P., Allen, J. G., & Cedeno-Laurent, J. G. (2019). Building vulnerability in a changing climate: Indoor temperature exposures and health outcomes in older adults living in public housing during an extreme heat event in Cambridge, MA. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 16(13), Article e2373.

Yang, L., Yan, H., & Lam, J. C. (2014). Thermal comfort and building energy consumption implications - A review. Applied Energy, 115, 164-173.

Zepeda-Rivas, D., & Rodriguez-Alvarez, J. (2020, April). Resilient design in the tropics: An overheating assessment method for naturally ventilated buildings. [The 11th Windsor Conference on Thermal Comfort: Resilient Comfort]. Windsor 2020, pp. 98-109.




How to Cite

Afolabi, S. A., & Adedire, M. F. (2023). Adaptive Strategies Used in Urban Houses to Overheating: A Systematic Review . Journal of Contemporary Urban Affairs, 7(2), 106–126.



Resilience and Built Environment

Similar Articles

You may also start an advanced similarity search for this article.