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Wind catcher tower at Zion National Park Visitors Center. 

Wind catcher tower at Zion National Park Visitors Center. 

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Conference Paper
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The 21st century requires the incorporation of sustainable means and methods in all phases of construction to ensure that future generations will have the same benefits we currently enjoy. Leadership in Environment and Energy Design (LEED) is now moving the green building industry forward. The use of passive air cooling/ventilation systems is a tec...

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... basic requirement of life in mid-latitude arid or desert environments is that of obtaining a comfortable temperature inside one’s living quarters. Because many ancient civilizations have sprung from mid-latitude desert environments the search for summertime comfort in those deserts has existed for as long as humankind has occupied them. The earliest examples of using passive residential cooling come from the oldest civilizations in North Africa and the Middle East. Models/drawings of dwellings kept cool by moving and storing chilled air have been discovered by archeologists and date from 3300 yrs BP in Egypt. These cooling systems were known in Arabic as malquaf architecture (Attia and de Herde, 2009) and consisted principally of buildings with thick adobe walls, few windows facing the sun, and air intakes facing toward the prevailing wind on one side of the structure with exit vents on the opposite wall. A later interior cooling system used ponds of water (Izadpanah and Zareie, 2011) on the windward side of the building, which cooled the air by evaporation as it moved across the pond before it entered the building. Centuries later this system was refined in the Persian Civilization to include structural variations, which allowed for better cooling in the high deserts of Iran. This region of Iran had earlier developed and utilized a sophisticated irrigation system which brought fresh water from the mountains through miles of hand excavated tunnels to irrigate fields in the lower valleys, which were known as qanats . These subterranean, cool irrigation waters flowing through the qanats allowed for a more efficient system called BAD GIR (meaning “wind catcher” in Persian) a marked improvement to the Arabic malquaf (see Figure 1). A second variation was to use the water from the qanat stored in elevated tanks that would be used to moisten material in the top of the BAD GIR . Evaporation would then cool the air as it passed through the wind catcher, thus allowing this more dense air to settle down through the shaft cooling the interior of the building (see Figure 3). Both of these systems were eventually refined to the point that they could, at times, reach refrigeration temperatures (Javaheri, 2012). A modern example of utilizing wind catchers and other “green technology” for public buildings can be found at Zion National Park Visitors Center (ZNPVC) in Utah. The center utilizes wind catcher technology for summer cooling, a trombe wall for winter heating, plus solar panels for electrical generation. When visited by the authors in July 2013 the ambient outside temperature at Zion Park was 102° F (39° C) with a relative humidity <20% and a south wind at 3-5 knots. At the same time the temperature inside the visitor’s center was 73° F (23° C) and the relative humidity >20% despite the constant foot traffic through double doors on the north side of the building. This structure offers complete comfort in both summer and winter seasons without the need for outside energy sources and, except for extreme situations, supplies its excess energy to the existing electric grid (Torcellini, et al., 2005). The building is proof of the design and effective use of green technology using the wind catcher concept for environmentally friendly cooling (see Figure 4). Forward thinking designers and city entities are looking to alternative designs and green technology to help alleviate environmental degradation and reduce costs for the consumer. Even though central air-conditioning or evaporative cooling units may be affordable for mid- and upper-income individuals, these approaches to cooling can be financially difficult to obtain for lower income populations especially those in extreme rural conditions, which are epitomized by the American Indians found on reservations throughout much of the southwestern United States. We propose a plan that will implement BAD GIR wind catcher technology for a cultural center to be built for the Timbisha Shoshone on their tribal lands in Death Valley, CA to reduce their costs ...

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Citations

... According to an ancient discovered painting in Egypt [56,71,72], windcatcher is a well-known conventional architectural feature [13] and the Egyptians have used it since 1300 BC [65] . In Middle Eastern countries, windcatcher is called with different names such as " Badgir " in Iran, " Malqaf " in Egypt [72,73], " Barjeel " (originated from Badgir Persian word) in Iraq and the Gulf [13,72] " Bating " in Syria, and " Mungh " or " Hawadani " in local language of the Sindh province of Pakistan [74] (Fig. 3). ...