An Electricity-Free Solution to AC- Terracotta Cooling Systems

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Summer 2022 was one of the hottest summers on record, with temperatures reaching 40+ degrees across Europe. It was so bad that the European Union saw an excess of 53,000 deaths which were brought on due to the tremendous heat. I don’t know about everyone else, but I became so reliant on my AC unit. What’s scary is that summer 2022 is appearing to become the new norm.

However, what if I told you that there is a new innovative solution to cooling which requires no electricity?

Using the basic elements from Egyptian architecture and traditional Palestinian cooling systems, Israeli designer, Yael Issacharov, has introduced a natural energy-free air conditioner that uses the cooling properties of terracotta to regulate temperatures while maintaining a stylish aesthetic that can be implemented in any space.

Yael Issacharov's Nave- an electricity free, traditional cooling system using terracotta.
Yael Issacharov’s Nave- an electricity-free, traditional cooling system using terracotta.

How Does It Work?

Issacharov’s Nave Air Conditioning System uses terracotta’s evaporative cooling abilities to naturally regulate temperatures by simply running water through the entry point in the structure. The water then evaporates, turning into water vapour as the water seeps through the terracotta due to the heat in the air, producing a cooling effect. This is all without the use of electricity, posing the new design as a sustainable solution to traditional AC systems.

Terracotta Cooling System Designs

Issacharov’s Nave’s design drew inspiration from Egyptian architecture and traditional Palestinian cooling systems which have been around for centuries, shielding its inhabitants from the brutal heat of the Middle East and Africa.

Palestinian Jara or traditionally known as the Palestinian pot was a water cooling system which Palestinians used for hundreds of years to keep drinking water at home cool. The clay used to make the pots has natural cooling abilities and was also believed to make the water taste better.

Palestinian women carrying the traditional Palestian Jarra Pots
Palestinian women carrying the traditional Palestinian Jarra Pots

Similar designs have been implemented in subway stations and in low-tech cooler-humidifiers for small apartments. However, my personal favourite was seeing a similar design being used for both heating and AC in Mo de Movimiento, a restaurant in Madrid which aims to bring seasonal dishes to their clients in order to reduce their carbon footprint aka “miles to table”.

Mo de Movimiento Madrid
Mo de Movimiento Madrid

As a result of this innovative design, which is both sustainable as it is stylish, the Nave Air Conditioning System is a winner of the A’ Design Award for the year 2022.

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