This Massive Bamboo Structure Is a Low-tech Sustainable AC Alternative
Climate change is in full force and depending on where you live, it may be more blatantly obvious, especially in cities facing more intense storms and temperature fluctuations. Vietnam, for example, is anticipated to be more susceptible to floods, typhoons, heatwaves, and severe drought. The “most cyclical climatic events” of these are heatwaves, accompanied by the need for modern air conditioning. This comes with a hefty cost and environmental impact due to high energy consumption and the leaking of coolant gas into the atmosphere.
So, instead of contributing to the problem a global French multi-disciplinary firm, made up of engineers and architects named AREP, decided to come up with a better solution. They developed a low-tech, affordable, and sustainable bamboo prototype as an AC alternative. The AREP seized this opportunity to design an alternative urban cooling system that didn’t use energy or any coolant gas during the Seoul Architecture and Urbanism Biennale 2021 “building the resilient city.”
This innovative alternative urban cooling system is based on the adiabatic cooling principle. It has a grid of bamboo poles that transfer water by gravity. The blower in the middle pushes the air from above down to the level of human height. As a result, the surrounding air is naturally cooled by the water. This principle was implemented by ancient civilizations for centuries and is carried out today by skilled Vietnamese craftsmen. In comparison, when you approach a body of water in a park, you feel cooler as you get closer.
AREP Vietnam succeeded in dropping the temperature by 6°C, from 30°C to 24°C, thus proving the viability of the design and significantly impacting outdoor comfort. After experiencing success in the countryside and then in Hanoi, a drier climate in Vietnam, the AREP wants to take this mission a step further. It wants to implement this sustainable, low-tech, and affordable solution in dryer climates, such as in cities around the Mediterranean basin or in the Gulf, where the adiabatic cooling is super-efficient. During dry and hot summers, this inventive AC alternative could cool down outdoor spaces, such as public squares, pedestrian streets exposed to a lot of sunlight, and big train stations.
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