Cooling bamboo system is a green alternative to air conditioning

The number of sweltering days affecting people each year in Vietnam has grown significantly in recent years as a result of climate change. Using air conditioning may help reduce people’s exposure to life-threatening hot temperatures, but always keeping them on not only results in exorbitant energy costs but also further exacerbates the effects of global warming.

In a bid to find a solution, multidisciplinary architecture agency AREP has come up with an alternative cooling system in the form of a low-tech bamboo prototype. The system uses what’s known as an adiabatic process to provide a sustainable and affordable solution to cooling down urban areas.

“For centuries, ancient civilizations cooled down their buildings by using the natural freshness of water through the adiabatic principle. To evaporate, water needs energy which is ‘absorbed’ from the heat of the ambient air, thus generating the cooling effect,” explains AREP.

Essentially, the system uses only three main components to provide a cooling effect, namely water, hot air, and bamboo — all of which are found in abundance in Vietnam. As for the creation of the actual structure, the agency approached local artisans who helped them build it according to local crafting traditions.

To prove the system’s efficiency, the team decided to put it to the test in Hanoi. According to the designers, the bamboo cooling tower succeeded in dropping the surrounding temperature by 6°C (from 30°C to 24°C), proving the system’s potential as a viable cooling solution for cities. AREP now plans to expand the solution to regionally as well as to other parts of the world affected by frequent heatwaves.

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