A review on windcatcher for passive cooling and natural ventilation in buildings, part 1 : indoor air quality and thermal comfort assessment

Jomehzadeh, Fatemeh and Nejat, Payam and Calautit, John Kaiser and Yusof, Mohd Badruddin Mohd and Zaki, Sheikh Ahmad and Hughes, Ben Richard and Yazid, Muhammad Noor Afiq Witri Muhammad (2017) A review on windcatcher for passive cooling and natural ventilation in buildings, part 1 : indoor air quality and thermal comfort assessment. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 70. pp. 736-756. ISSN 1364-0321 (https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rser.2016.11.254)

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The most prominent challenge in 21th century is global warming which seriously threats the mankind. Building sector with 40% of global energy consumption and GHG emission play a key role in this threat. In this regard, the impact of cooling systems cannot be ignored where along with ventilation and heating systems totally account for 60% of energy consumed in buildings. Passive cooling systems can be a promising alternative to reduce energy consumption. One of the oldest passive cooling system that is still being used today is windcatcher. By manipulating pressure differences and the buoyancy effect, an adequate level of ventilation in buildings can be provided by windcatchers. Since most of the previous windcatcher studies assessed the design characteristics, the current investigation focused on the indoor air quality (IAQ) and thermal comfort aspects. The review details and compares the different theoretical and experimental methods employed by researchers in different case studies to assess the IAQ and thermal comfort. It was found that most IAQ studies were conducted in the UK using CFD and experimental techniques. Previous studies assessed IAQ based on several parameters such as air flow rate, air change rate, CO2concentration, air change effectiveness and mean age of air. The findings of the studies revealed that satisfactory IAQ were generally achieved using the windcatcher. On the other hand, thermal comfort studies of windcatchers were mainly conducted in hot climates such as in the Middle East. In addition to night ventilation, the review also looked into the different types of cooling methods incorporated with windcatchers such as evaporative cooling, earth to air heat exchangers (EAHE) and heat transfer devices (HTD). Night ventilation was found to be effective in temperate and cold conditions while additional cooling using evaporative cooling, EAHE and HTD were found to be necessary in hot climates.