Using Terracotta To Replace Air Conditioner? Yes It Is Possible

Using Terracotta To Replace Air Conditioner? Yes It Is Possible

Talking about climate change and global warming, we need to talk about many things. In this case, most importantly we should talk about the increasing temperature worldwide, energy consumption, and green alternatives.

We are living in particularly warmer world, compared to how it used to be centuries ago. And most of this warming was caused by our irresponsible and less smart energy consumption. Thus, we are now trying to find greener alternatives to our source of energy and things that consume energy.

Air conditioner is a shortcut for us to cool the temperature down. However, the device is consuming so much energy and thus not the green alternative we want. Luckily, the alternative to air condition exist already, and it is both green and zero energy consumption.

Here in this article we are going to talk about air conditioner alternative from India, which is a simple sculptural installation of terracotta tubes.

The Beehive Sculptural installation

terracotta air conditioner 2
Image by Ant Studio

In this article, as mentioned above, we are going to talk about a sculptural installation or a device that can cover all of the tree main things: the increasing temperature worldwide, energy consumption, and green alternatives.

This sculptural installation is able to reduce room temperature into significant number, relies on zero energy consumption, and fully biodegradable. And what makes it more amazing, it can be used and applied anywhere in any building in any place all around the world.

The appearance of this sculptural installation might remind you to beehives, and it is indeed inspired by the bees’ work. Ant Studio, a New Delhi-based architecture and design company is the creator of this air-cooling sculptural installation.

With the help of computational technologies, the company was able to bring traditional air-cooling technique into bigger scale. Ant Studio successfully developed the technique and applied it into more effective, in addition to more practical application in modern buildings.

And even though they use modern computational technologies, the device they built is made of clay. Yes, the traditional clay that’s also used to make vase and other potteries. Thus, this device is a mix of modern technology and greener traditional legacy.

Zero Energy

terracotta air conditioner
Image by Ant Studio

This air-cooling sculptural installation works in a simple way. In order to reduce the temperature of a room, what it needs is running water poured down a few hundred of terracotta cones made of clay. The intention is to wet the cones.

When the cones are wet, the water content in it will slowly evaporates. Next, when air is flowing through the installation, it will have water vapor content. Water vapor from the clay installation is cool enough to decrease overall room temperature effectively.

According to the company, using this process, the temperature of a room will decrease up to 14 degrees Celsius. The first notable installation of this device is in DEKI Electronics factory, and data proved that what the company said was true.

This innovation runs on literally zero energy consumption, apart from how water is poured onto the installation. But the company have thought about it, and in the prototype version they used recycled from various sources.

“I believe this experiment worked quite well functionally. Findings from this attempt opened up a lot more possibilities where we can integrate this technique with forms that could redefine the way we look at cooling systems, a necessary yet ignored component of a building’s functionality,” said Monish Siripurapu, founder of Ant Studio.

Ancient Air Conditioner

Just like mentioned above, this sculptural installation is based on traditional technology. But more than traditional, we are actually talking about ancient method to cool a room’s temperature by installing terracotta in their buildings.

Terracotta, literally means baked earth, can be dated back to ancient Rome by its name. People at that time had made use of its porous nature for millennia to stabilize air temperature. Other and even older ancient cultures had also used it too.

Having recognized this effective ancient technology, Siripurapu and his team decided to bring the installation into the next step. “As an architect, I wanted to find a solution that is ecological and artistic, and at the same time evolves traditional craft methods,” he said.

Indeed, functionality is not the only thing it offers. “The circular profile can be changed into an artistic interpretation while the falling waters lend a comforting ambience. This, intermingled with the sensuous petrichor from the earthen cylinders, could allow for it to work in any environment with the slightest of breeze,” he explained.

For Siripurapu, the next challenge is to develop his innovation further that it can be applied worldwide and finally contribute to tackling the climate change crisis. And in addition to that, making the world more beautiful. “Every installation could be treated as an art piece,” Siripurapu said.

Air Conditioner Effect On Environment

staying cool at home without air conditioner

Since most people prefer cooler air, electric air conditioner is one of the options to obtain it. However, as mentioned above, conventional air conditioner is one of the most environmentally damaging devices in our house.

Researchers suggested that our dependency on AC to cool ourselves down may kill as many as 1000 people every year in eastern United States alone. Increasing consumption of fossil fuel by electricity plants, to power up the air conditioners, is the base of the suggestion.

Some particular materials can create holes in the ozone layers up there, like chlorofluorocarbon or CFC and hydrofluorocarbons or HFC. Some HFC can be found in older air conditioner models, and this is the culprit.

“Indoor use of air conditioning can be an effective strategy to reduce heat exposure. But increased air conditioning use increases emissions of air pollutants from power plants, in turn worsening air quality and human health impacts,” the study explained.

Scientists said that it is caused by particulate matters, which is the byproduct of fossil fuel. It doesn’t stop here, the computer program used in the study also predicted there will be additional 3,000 death caused by ozone exposure.

Looking on those threats caused by a single device, why don’t we start to look at greener and simpler thing like the terracotta tubes?


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