Anyone who has paid an electric bill during the summer knows how much energy air conditioners consume. Instead of giving up the relief of cool air indoors, one designer has figured out a way to air condition an entire hotel building using no electricity at all.
Ben Bronsema’s all-natural concept is based on the principle of climate cascade: Wind turbines and solar panels on the roof draw air into a chute that runs through the building’s center. That air is then sprayed with streams of water to cool it; after reaching the bottom, the air is distributed throughout the building.
This same system is also capable of generating heat. The air leaves the building through a solar chimney, which, as the sun heats it, draws warmer air out of the building. This heat is extracted from the air and stored in the soil beneath the building until winter.
Bronsema has a lot of experience working with AC systems. For most of his career in the Netherlands, he designed and installed them in large spaces like government buildings, corporate headquarters, and airport terminals. When he reached his seventies, he came up with a less conventional approach to solving the same problem. He worked on the idea for his “Earth, Wind, & Fire” cooling system for five years, and gave a TED talk on the system back in 2013.
Now, the Amsterdam developer Dutch Green Company is planning to implement his concept in the construction of a new hotel scheduled to open in the city in 2017. The Breeze hotel will cost an estimated $15 million to build, and if all goes according to plan, it could be one of the most energy-efficient buildings in the world. For a better look at how the technology works, check out the video below.
[h/t: Fast Company]