Indian architecture firm Ant Studio has developed environmentally friendly air conditioners that will keep buildings cool in the scorching heat of New Delhi. DEKI Electronics has partnered with Ant Studio to develop the system so their employees will be able to sustain the heat inside their factories.
Humans have been on the planet for millions of years and the natural environment and the temperature on our planet has not been close to perfect to make it any easy for us. Keeping cool in the heat of the sun and warm in the cold was quite a task. Fire was discovered in the earliest of times but keeping cool remained a problem for years. It was not until 1882 that the first electric ceiling fan was invented by Philip Diehl and finally the air conditioner by Willis Carrier in 1902.
Our genius ancestors did come up with brilliant ways to keep cool without using electricity, but we can hardly imagine life without ACs now. Unfortunately, the adverse effects of air conditioners on our environment do not allow us to rely on them forever. Thus many systems have been created to control temperatures without the use of electricity whether it was a new metamaterial, reflective film, or roof tile wafers.
Founder of Ant Studio, Monish Siripurapu is now looking into a large scale air conditioning solution. “As an architect, I wanted to find a solution that is ecological and artistic, and at the same time evolves traditional craft methods,” he told Arch Daily.
The Ant Studio team used computational technology on traditional evaporative cooling methods to eliminate the need for electricity and made a honeycomb-like prototype with cylindrical earthen cones.
“I believe this experiment worked quite well functionally. Findings from this attempt opened up a lot more possibilities where we can integrate this technique with forms that could redefine the way we look at cooling systems, a necessary yet ignored component of a building’s functionality. Every installation could be treated as an art piece. The circular profile can be changed into an artistic interpretation while the falling waters lend a comforting ambiance. This, intermingled with the sensuous petrichor from the earthen cylinders, could allow for it to work in any environment with the slightest of breeze,” says Siripurapu.
The DEKI air conditioner is inspired by the ancient cooling methods, but the size and structure of the components have been modified with Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) analysis. The studio writes, “The temperature of the airflow around the installation was recorded. It was noticed that the hot air entering the installation was above 50 degrees Celsius at a velocity of 10m/sec.”
The room temperature water recycled from the factory is poured back into the structure in a fountain flow, so it runs down the cylinders and cools the hot air passing through it. The system works all day, requiring to wet the cones only twice a day. The system has been found to cool the hot air at 50 degree Celsius (122 degrees Fahrenheit) down to 36 degree Celsius (96 degrees Fahrenheit) at an air flow of 4 m/s.
The solution is quite simple, and the studio hopes to apply the same to factories throughout India. “There are many factories throughout the country that face a similar issue, and this is a solution that can be easily adopted, and a widespread multiplication of this concept may even assist the local potters,” says the founder.