On a hot summer’s day, there’s nothing better than walking into a nice, cool building. I can attest to this, having just entered my home after a long walk in what felt like 92 degree weather. That said, it’s fun to wonder whether or not it would be possible to cool our outdoor areas as well; that way, when we’re having the family over for a BBQ, we wouldn’t have to watch Uncle Bob sweat! Outside air conditioning probably isn’t coming to your backyard anytime soon, but engineers at Transsolar have worked on using eco-friendly design principles to cool outdoor stadiums; their work is being used at the World Cup in Qatar. Today, we’re going to explore how they’re trying to keep folks cool outdoors, using passive and active design principles.
Passive design means that there are no machines working actively to achieve your design goal. A great example of passive design is the roof over your head; it repels the elements and keeps the temperature of your home moderate simply by virtue of being there. Transsolar used this same concept to create shade for everyone in the stadium, lowering the perceived temperature of everyone inside. Plants can also help reduce temperatures, as the water in the plants evaporates, the ambient air temperature becomes cooler; this is why lawns and gardens often feel cooler than the surrounding area. Water pipes carrying cool water can be used to lower ambient temperatures as well; in the Qatar World Cup stadiums, water pipes are right underneath the green, cooling off the area for spectators and players alike.
Active design is also essential; good active design can merge seamlessly with passive design, for a more efficient way to cool off. The areas providing shading in Qatari stadiums are covered in solar panels; these solar panels generate the electricity needed to operate ventilation and air conditioning system for comfort. The units also dehumidify, which lowers the perceived temperature of those at the stadium. These same design principles could be applied elsewhere, in solar panel shaded courtyards or wind panel shaded parks. Access to water and shade, and the ability to move where you feel most comfortable is essential to creating a comfortable outdoor climate for large numbers of people.
Can air conditioning work outside? Well, we’re not quite at the point that it can without the entire area having been designed from the top down with comfortable air in mind. Passive and active design principles must both be applied to achieve the cool yard you’re looking for, so for now, just install a sprinkler and an umbrella for ole Uncle Bob. When it gets too hot, remember you can always retreat into the cool comfort of your own home. Make sure your air conditioning stays in tip-top shape this summer, get in touch with Classic Air Conditioning. Our HVAC technicians are fully licensed and insured, so you and your family have peace of mind.