Friday, February 15, 2008

Passive Cooling--Ancient and Modern

The ancients used passive cooling to maintain internal comfort when outside temperatures soared--long before the invention of air conditioning. Now an an Indian Engineer-Designer team wants to bring back passive solar cooling on a larger scale.
Jyotirmay Mathur of the Mechanical Engineering Department, at the Malaviya National Institute of Technology, in Jaipur, together with architect and urban designer Rajeev Kathpalia of Vastu Shilpa Consultants, in Ahmedabad, point out that the development of energy-efficient, and even passive, cooling systems for buildings is essential in the light of environmental pressures and costs. In the past, they point out, building designers had to rely on natural ways and means for maximising comfort inside buildings.

The team has now reasoned that two distinct technologies - the so-called solar chimney for roof-based based ventilation and a wind tower that provides a draft of air could be combined simply and effectively into a passive cooling system.

They have designed a building that incorporates a multi-storey wind tower clad with heavy stone panels which produces an upward draft of air drawn into the building passively and cooled by the massive tonnage of the stone classing. The air flows through the rooms and corridors and accumulates heat as it does so. This is then carried to the top of the building and vented with large black, thermally conducting, panels providing a way to shed the heat quickly from the top of the building. The result is a reduction in internal temperature of several degrees. The resulting temperature drop would be sufficient to improve the comfort of people in the building without the need for powered air conditioning that is both expensive to install, maintain and operate.___Source
Passive solar building design is part of the Sustainable Building approach to Green Building that has been followed loosely and sporadically for decades by a few builders. These practises are much more effective in a dry climate



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