As the world's temperature rises, so does the use of air conditioners providing much-needed relief in sweltering heat. But this comfort comes at a cost. The widespread use of air conditioners has unintended consequences for the environment, particularly in terms of escalating carbon dioxide emissions as they rely on electricity generated from fossil fuels, such as coal and natural gas, which release significant amounts of CO2 when burned. The combination of increased energy consumption and refrigerant emissions has underscored the urgent need for sustainable cooling solutions to mitigate the impact on carbon dioxide levels.
Fortunately Delhi-based architect and designer Monish Siripurapu,the founder of Ant Studio has been working with a natural alternative to air conditioners using traditional methods coupled with modern technology to combat climate change while increasing human 'thermal comfort'. Their project CoolAnt drops temperatures naturally through a modular façade unit called Beehive.
The concept draws inspiration from the process of transpiration in plants. Using terracotta, which is a highly breathable material hundreds of cylindrical pots are assembled together to create a unit arranged in a specific pattern to optimize cooling efficiency. By circulating recycled water at room temperature over the surface of these cylinders, the hot air passing through multiple terracotta cones is effectively cooled. CoolAnt currently has a few designs apart from their Beehive Biomimetic Cooler like 'Binary' and 'Aerofils' that work with the same principle through different shapes.
This zero-energy design not only demonstrates energy efficiency but also proves to be a cost-effective alternative to traditional air conditioning. With the faint trickling waterfall and the fragrance of petrichor in the air, CoolAnt's geometric terracotta structures are also no less than artistic examples of great cultural design that can be used as installations in homes, offices and public spaces operating at the intersection of ingenuity, sustainability and natural, indigenous solutions.
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