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India leads way on passive ventilation

An India based engineering team has claimed it has developed a new approach to the cooling of buildings that relies on nothing but wind and sun to operate.

In a report submitted to the International Journal of Sustainable Design, the team describes the concept of a combined solar chimney and wind tower system that can reduce the temperature of a building by up to five degrees Celsius.

Jyotirmay Mathur of the Mechanical Engineering Department, at the Malaviya National Institute of Technology, in Jaipur, completed the report with architect and urban designer Rajeev Kathpalia of Vastu Shilpa Consultants, in Ahmedabad.

The team has looked to combine two technologies to develop a passive cooling system – a solar chimney for roof-based based ventilation and a wind tower to provides a draft of air.

In a statement Mr Mathur and Mr Kathpalia said: “The combination of wind tower and roof solar chimney facilitated natural ventilation and cooling of incoming air without the use of active devices.

“The results achieved indicate that adoption of such concepts represents a step forward in the design of sustainable buildings.

'We have demonstrated how natural resources can be utilised to design sustainable buildings in an urban area where design of truly sustainable buildings is extremely difficult.”

Their design 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 cladding.

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 via large black, thermally conducting, panels which offers a way of shedding the heat quickly.

Mr Mathur has indicated he thinks the design could work well in Europe where summer tempratures do not rise excessively, but admits the approach may not work in extreme weather conditions.

To view the full report click here.