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Downdraft Cooling Towers in Neot Semadar

Years of living in a desert climate have highlighted the problems associated with air conditioning systems: high costs, noise, environmental pollution and health problems caused by shifts between extreme heat outside and a cool air-conditioned building. Due to thiese conditions, we began a search for an alternative cooling method. We discovered  that for centuries the native people of the Middle East have built their homes in accordance with the environment. Three principles guide the traditional approach to building: 
A. Use of high thermal mass, which reduces the diurnal temperature range and prevents internal extremes of heat during summer days or cold during winter nights.

B. Utilizing water evaporation for cooling
C. Utilizing wind energy for ventilation (with or without evaporation)

For the past several decades, as a result of energy crises and a growing consciousness of the environment, a renewed interest emerged in energy conservation construction. Analytical studies and empirical research have confirmed the potential of PDEC as a means of providing thermal comfort in hot-dry areas. However, there have been only a handful of buildings where cooling towers have been implemented, and widespread adoption of this technique is hindered by a lack of practical experience.

Here at Neot Semadar, our community has taken the initiative to adopt the use of evaporative cooling as much as possible. To facilitate this, a group of members conducted a study of the existing knowledge on the subject.the study concluded that wind has a significant effect on cooling towers, but there is very little data about it. Therefore, a trial-and-error design process has been ongoing for the past few years, focusing mainly on the aerodynamic design of the air intake (“wind catcher”). Studies of various models in an improvised wind tunnel have resulted in the development of static, multi-directional intakes that have demonstrated efficient absorption of wind and  low energy loss. Consequently, new buildings of Neot Semadar have been constructed according to the anciant principles previously noted: • High thermal mass through the use of local adobe for the walls .Cooling towers with air tunnels to various parts of the house, and provision for wind catchers at the top of the tower.
 In November 2010 the wind collector, the final peace of Neot Semadar's Art Center and the cooling system,  was  lifted to the top of the tower.