Wind towers could be alternative to air conditioning

A traditional Arabic form of architecture could be a solution to the huge energy usage for air conditioning in hot countries, according to a UK-based academic

The wind tower – a fixture of Middle Eastern architecture for almost 1,000 – could provide 21st century sustainable design solutions  says Ben Hughes, associate professor of building physics at Leeds University.

The historic Creek area of Dubai has some of the greatest concentrations of the towers in the Middle East.

“They used to build the towers as tall as possible, capture the air at high speed. As it hits the tower, there’s a wall that runs down the center of it that forces the wind down into the building,” said Hughes.

“The higher up you go, the faster the airspeed is.”

The build up of a positive pressure inside the building automatically creates a negative pressure on the outside, which means that stale and bad air inside the building is drawn away.

“It creates a siphon effect,” Hughes explained. “It pushes air into the building and sucks stale and used air out the other side of the wind tower.”