As a developing country, the Dominican Republic does not have the financial resources or expertise in the construction field to fully implement many of the available sustainable technologies. However, sustainable approaches can be both subtle and radical for their application to this country. If our intention as designers is to really make a change, then the answer is balance, a balance between simple yet effective techniques and new technologies.

The Passive House standard, which focuses on energy efficiency by super insulating and air tightening the envelope, is one of the most rigorous energy standards in Europe and the United States. Dominican vernacular architecture, without any specific set of standards uses the opposite approach of cross ventilation and open air. It has been proven itself to satisfy user’s needs for comfort since being colonized by Spain.

With the help of design software that analyzes the energy performance of buildings, this thesis will compare, analyze and contrast the performance of an average Dominican house against modified versions that applies vernacular and passive house techniques. The highlights of these analyses will be utilized to design a building that merges the best of both techniques and responds to the environmental, economic and social needs of the Dominican Republic.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Architecture and energy conservation--Standards--Dominican Republic; Dwellings--Dominican Republic; Vernacular architecture--Dominican Republic

Publication Date


Document Type


Student Type


Degree Name

Architecture (M.Arch.)

Department, Program, or Center

Architecture (GIS)


Jules Chiavaroli

Advisor/Committee Member

Nana-Yaw Andoh

Advisor/Committee Member

James Yarrington


Physical copy available from RIT's Wallace Library at NA2452.3 .R49 2015


RIT – Main Campus

Plan Codes