Summary: An important ancient innovation for regulating the temperature in homes that was widely used in northern Africa through Asia, the windcatcher takes advantage of two fluid dynamics principles, passively cools buildings as well as providing cross ventilation.
Why this is important: Another example of a simple and ancient innovation that has applicability in today's built environment.
The big theme: The built environment, encompassing residential and commercial buildings, communal areas such as parks, and supporting infrastructure such as energy networks, mobility, and water supply, is an important sustainability theme that shouldn't be taken for granted. It is an integral part of societal existence and a major decarbonisation (40% of energy-related GHG emissions) and resource consumption problem (40% of global raw materials) that needs investor attention. It can have significant impacts on our health, well-being and equity and inclusion, notably as climate change and climate-induced migration is steadily and significantly increasing the number of people exposed to extreme weather, including heat stress.
The built environment is a key decarbonisation and health and well-being problem. Whilst new technologies will be key - and I shall discuss some particularly innovative ones in a later blog - ancient approaches can inspire modern investible equivalents. In 'The simple and the ancient' I discussed a number of such approaches and the modern day equivalents that they have inspired. It was a fascinating area to research and I simply could not fit everything in.
In this blog I discuss an important ancient innovation for regulating the temperature in homes that was widely used in northern Africa through Asia. Taking advantage of two fluid dynamics principles, the windcatcher passively cools buildings as well as providing cross ventilation.
Still in use today in both traditional and in non-traditional locations (the latter of which being shopping malls, for example), they are also the ancestors of such innovative technologies as the Aeromine, all of which could potentially help to smooth out renewable energy production and decarbonise commercial and potentially residential properties. More on this later in the blog.