Thursday, October 25, 2007

Air Conditioning Is Obsolete

Global Ecology Research Center at Stanford University is an extremely low-energy laboratory and office building for the Carnegie Institution of Washington. The mission of the new Department of Global Ecology is to conduct basic research on the interactions between the earth's ecosystems, land, atmosphere, and oceans.

This project unified several buildings and activated spaces on a site that the Carnegie Institution has occupied since 1928, improving contact and circulation between two departments and creating an outdoor collaboration space.

This project was chosen as an AIA Committee on the Environment Top Ten Green Project for 2007. It was submitted by EHDD Architecture, in San Francisco, California.

The cooling system for the Global Ecology Research Center is based on a hydronic system, the first to be used in a laboratory setting. The “coolest” aspect is the night sky cooling system. How it works — at night, water is sprayed on the roof and cooled by the night air. This works well with the Bay Area environment because it rarely freezes, but always gets cold at night. The water is then collected and used to cool the building the next day. Throw in a couple of well-placed fans, and air conditioning is rendered obsolete.

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