Politecnico di Torino (logo)

An investigation on wind-catcher technology and its applicability in passive cooling

Mehrnoosh Ahmadi

An investigation on wind-catcher technology and its applicability in passive cooling.

Rel. Mario Grosso. Politecnico di Torino, Corso di laurea magistrale in Architettura Costruzione Città, 2015


Today, depletion of natural resources, global warming and increase of fossil fuel price is a real concern of human beings. Moreover, the energy used in buildings for ventilation, heating and cooling purposes, accounts for more than 40% of total buildings energy consumption. However, the increasing level of damage to the environment has led researchers, environmentalists and architects to use passive cooling techniques to satisfy cooling needs. As a natural ventilation device, wind-catchercan be utilized as a sustainable attempt for cooling and ventilation purposes.

The objective of this thesis is to review and provide a comprehensive literature on wind-catcher systems and to investigate the effect of them in natural ventilation. For this purpose, SperaVent as a simulation software for evaluating summer energy performance of naturally ventilated buildings has been used to study various configurations of one-sided wind-catchers in Palermo city, the climatic characteristic of which is quite similar to Middle East area as the origin of this architectural phenomenon.

The effect of height, size and direction of inlet and outlet apertures and orientation of tower respect to building has been studied. The result of the experiment shows that with a proper positioning of the tower, approximately 60 percent of reduction in energy requirements can be achieved. It is also evident that increasing the height of tower and enlarging the building's aperture can increase wind-catcher's efficiency.

Finally, the amount of saved electricity is estimated assuming the installation of wind towers in future residential buildings in hot- dry and hot-moderate provinces of Iran.

Relators: Mario Grosso
Publication type: Printed
Subjects: T Tecnica e tecnologia delle costruzioni > TC Protezione degli edifici
Corso di laurea: Corso di laurea magistrale in Architettura Costruzione Città
Classe di laurea: UNSPECIFIED
Aziende collaboratrici: UNSPECIFIED
URI: http://webthesis.biblio.polito.it/id/eprint/3588






1-1 Passive Cooling

1-1-1 Heat Protection Techniques

1-1-2 Heat Modulation Techniques

1-1-3 Heat Dissipation Techniques

1-2 Controlled Natural Ventilation

1-2-1 Controlled Natural Ventilation Devices

1- 2-2 Advantages and Disadvantages of Natural Ventilation Systems


2- 1 Wind-Catchers in Persian Literature

2-2 Wind-Catchers from Foreign Travelers’ Account

2-3 Wind-Catchers Reported in Iranian Architecture

2- 4 Wind-Catchers in Arabic Architecture


3- 1 Climatic Architecture of Central Iran

3-2 Classification of Wind-Catchers

3-3 Construction of Wind-Catchers

3-3-1 Construction of One-Sided Wind-Catchers in Ardakan and Meybod

3-3-2 Construction of Four-Sided Wind-Catchers in Yazd

3-3-3 Details of Yazdi Wind-Catchers

3-4 Unique Wind-Catchers of Iran

3-5 Wind-Catchers in Other Countries



5-1 Sohrabji Godrej Green Business Centre, India

5-2 Zion National Park Visitor Centre, United States of America

5-3 UCL School of Slavonic and Eastern European Studies, UK

5-4 The Lanchester Library, UK

5-5 Bluewater Shopping Mall, UK

5- 6 Air Tree Structures, Spain


6- 1 Climate of Palermo

6-2 SperaVent Simulation

6-2-1 Basic Model

6-2-2 Orientation

6-2-3 Height of Tower

6-2-4 Outlet Size and Position

6-2-5 Window Size and Position






- MAHLIA, SAIDUR, R„ MEMON, L.A., ZULKIFLI,N.W.M. & MASJUKI, H.H. (2010) A review on fuel economy standard for motor vehicles with the implementation possibilities in Malaysia. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews. 14. p.3092-3099.

- MASOSO, O.T. & GROBLER, L.J.^2010) The dark side of occupants' behavior on building energy use. Energy and Buildings. 42 (2). p.173-177.

- CHAN, H.Y., RIFFAT, S.B. &ZHU, J. (2010) Review of passive solar heating and cooling technologies. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews. 14 (2). p.781-789.

- NILES, P.W.B & HAGGARD, K.L. (1980) Passive Solar Handbook. Sacramento: California Energy Commission.

- GEETHA, N.B. & VELRAJ, R. (2012) Passive cooling methods for energy efficient buildings with and without thermal energy storage-A review. Energy Education Science and Technology Part A: Energy Science and Research. 29 (2). p.913-946

- GIVONI, B. (1991) Impact of planted areas on urban environment quality: a review. Atmospheric Environment. 25 (3). p.289-291.

- BROWN, G.Z. & DEKAY, M. (2001). Sun, Wind, and Light: Architectural Design Strategies. 2nd Ed. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

- CALDAS, L. (2008) Generation of energy-efficient architecture solutions applying GENE_ARCH: An evolution-based generative design system. Advanced Engineering Informatics. 22 (1). p.54-64.

- ONG, K.S. (2011) Temperature reduction in attic and ceiling via insulation of several passive roof designs. Energy Conversion and Management. 52 (6). p.2405-2411.

- BROWN, M. (1990) The thermal mass of buildings in reducing energy consumption. Solar Energy Engineering. 112. p.273-279.

- SANTAMOURIS, M. & ASIMAKOUPOLOS, D. (1996) Passive cooling of buildings. London: James & James (Science Publishers) Ltd.

- GIVONI, B. (1991) Performance and applicability of passive and low-energy cooling systems. Energy and Buildings. 17 (3). p.177-199.

- LECHNER, N. (2009) Heating, Cooling, Lighting: Sustainable Design Methods for Architects. 3rd Ed. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

- ELEY ASSOCIATES (2004) Hawaii Commercial Building Guidelines for Energy Efficiency. Honolulu: Department of Business Economic Development & Tourism.

- BATTLE MCCARTHY CONSULTING ENGINEERS (1999) Wind Towers, Detail in Building. West Sussex: Academy Press.

- ROULET, C.A. & GHIAUS, C. (2005) Specific Devices for Natural Ventilation. In ALLARD, F. & GHIAUS, C. Natural Ventilation in the Urban Environment: Assessment and Design. London: Earthscan.

- BAKER, N. & STEEMERS, K. (2000) Energy and Environment in Architecture: A Technical Design Guide. London: E&FN Spon.

- FARSHAD, M. (1997) The History of Engineering in Iran. Tehran: Balkh Publication.

- ROSENTHAL, F. (1977) Poetry and architecture: the Badhanj. Journal of Arabic Literature. 8 (1). p.1-19

- KHOSROW, N. (1977) Travel Account. Tehran: Ketabhaye Jibi.

- KATEB, A. (1966) The Contemporary History of Yazd. Tehran: Amir Kabir

- MOSTOUFI BAFGHI, M.M. (1963) Jame Mofidy. Tehran: Asadi.

- PIRNIA, M.K. (1971) Baudgeer and Khishkhan. Art and Architecture. 10. p. 19-30.

- YULE, H. (1871) The Book of Sir Marco Polo the Venetian: Concerning the Kingdoms and Marvels of the East. London: John Murray.

- GABRIL, A. (2002) Marco Polo in Iran. Tehran: Assatir.

- FIGUEROA, G.S. (1984) Travel Account. Tehran: Nashre-e-No.

- CHARDIN, J. (1686) Journal du Voiage du Chevalier Chardin en Perse. Amsterdam: Wolter & Haring, p.209-210.

- TAVERNIER, J.B. (1957) Travel Account of Tavernier. 3rd Ed. Isfahan: Sannaie. p.676.

- FLANDEN, O. (1945) Travel Account of Osuen Felande in Iran. 2nd Ed. Tehran: Naghsh-Jahan Newspaper.

- POLAK, E.J. (1982) Iran and Iranians. Tehran: Kharazmi. p.50-55.

- MACGREGOR, C. (1987) A Trip to Khorasan Province. Mashhad: Astane-Qudes Razavi.

- SYKES, P. (1984) Ten Thousand Miles in Iran. Tehran:


- BROWN, E.G. (1997) One Year with Iranians. Tehran: Saffar.

- RICHARDS, F.C. (1964) Travel Account of Fred Richards. Tehran: Tarjomeh & Nashre Ketab.

- NIDERMAYER, O.F. (1984) Burning Sun of Iran. Tehran: Tarikh-e-lran.

- ROAF, S. (1988) The Wind Catchers of Yazd. Ph.D. Thesis. Department of Architecture. Oxford: Oxford Polytechnic.

- NICOL, J.F. & ROAF, S. (2007) Progress in Passive Cooling: Adaptive Thermal Comfort and Passive Architecture. In SANTAMOURIS M. (ed.) Advances in Passive Cooling. London: Earthscan.

- ROAF, S. (1982) Wind Catchers, Living with the Desert. In BEAZLEY, E. & HARVERSON, M. (ed.) Living With the Desert. Wilts: Airs & Philips.

- FRYER, J. (1698) A New Account of East-lndia and Persia in Eight Letters, Being Nine Years Travels, Begun in 1672, and Finished in 1681. London: Chiswell.

- MORIER, JJ. (1812) Journey through Persia, Armenia, and Asia Minor to Constantinople in the Years 1808 and 1809. London: M. Carey, Philadelphia and Wells and Lilly, Boston.

- MALCOLM, J. (1829) The History of Persia. Vol. 2. London: John Murray.

- THEVENOT, M. (1686) The Travels ofMons. DeThevenot into the Levant. London: H. Clark.

- ALI KHAN VAZIRI, A. (1996) The History of Kerman. 4th Ed. Tehran: Elmi.

- ANON. (1983) Bounderies of the World from the East to the West. Tehran: Tahouri.

- O'KANE, B. (1976) The Madrasa Al-Ghiyasiyya at Khargird. In Iran. Vol. 14. London: British Institute of Persian Studies, p.85.

- MOLLAZADEH, K. & MOHAMMADI, M. (2000) The Encyclopedia of Historical Architectures of Iran in The Islamic Era. Public buildings. Vol. 4. Tehran: Sooreh. p.243

- ZOKA, Y. (1970) The History of the Imperial Citadel of Tehran. Tehran: National Heritage Board, p.278-281.

- VARJAVAND, P. (1996) Encyclopedia of Islamic World. Vol. 1. Tehran: The Great Encyclopedia Institution, p.161.

- VARJAVAND, P. (1993) The Shiite Encyclopedia. Vol. 3. 2nd Ed. Tehran: Shiite Encyclopedia Institution, p.162.

- CRESWELL, K.A.C. (1952-1959) The Muslim Architecture of Egypt. Vol. 2. Oxford: Clarendon Press, p.284-285.

- LANE, E.W. (1986) An Account of the Manners and Customs of the Modern Egyptians. London: John Murray, p.38.

- NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC (n.d.) Iran Facts. [Online]

Available from: http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/countries/iran-facts/

- MARES, M.A. (1999) Encyclopedia of Deserts. Oklahoma: University of Oklahoma Press, p.302.

- HABASHI, F. (2000) Zoroaster and the theory of four elements. Bulletin for the History of Chemistry. 25 (2). Washington: American Chemical Society, p.109-115.

- ZOMORSHIDI, H. (1994) Persian Architecture, Constructing Traditional Structures. Tehran: Zomorrod.

- WEATHER BASE (2015) Yazd-East, Iran. [Online] Available from:


- MOSTOFIOL-MAMALEKI, R. (1997) The Geography of Yazd. In YAZD PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT OFFICE (Ed.) Yazd: The Gem of the Desert. Yazd: The Society of Yazd Public Libraries, p. 25-52.

- TAVASOLLI, M. (1981) Civil Engineering and Architecture in Dry and Arid Land of Iran. Tehran: Payam and Peyvande No. p.82-92.

- BAHADORI, M.N. (1986) Thermal performance of adobe structures with domed roofs and moist internal surfaces. Solar Energy. 36 (4). p.365-375.

- BAHADORI, M.N., DEHGHANI, A. & SAYIGH, A. (ed.) (2014) Wind Towers: Architecture, Climate and Sustainability. New York: Springer.

- MEMARIAN, GH. (1996) Familiarization with Iranian House-Architecture: Interior Typology. Tehran: Iran University of Science and Technology.

- BOUSTANI, F. (2008) Sustainable Water Utilization in Arid Region of Iran by Qanats. international Journal of Social, Management, Economics and Business Engineering. 2 (7). China: International Science Index.

- KHEIRABADI, M. (1991) Iranian Cities: Formation and Development. Austin: University of Texas Press.

- MEMARIAN, GH. (1993) Architecture of Yazd Public Cisterns. Tehran: Iran University of Science and Technology.

- SHARIAT ZADEH, A.A. (1966) Baudgeers of Yazd and the construction methods of them. In AFSHAR, I. Yazdnameh. Vol. 1. Tehran: Jodaganeh. p.300-345.

- SHARIAT ZADEH, A.A. (1995) The role of Baudgeer in the Southern Area of Dasht-e Kavir. In Proceedings of History of Iran's Architecture and Urbanism. Vol. 2. Tehran: Iranian Cultural Heritage, p. 220-226.

- MOSTAFAVI, M.T. (1992) Baudgeers, easy yet difficult phenomena in the original Iranian architecture. In AFSHAR, I. Yazdnameh. Vol. 1. Tehran: Jodaganeh. p.337-344.

- GHOBADIAN, V. (1994) A climatic study of the traditional buildings in Iran. Tehran: Tehran University Publication.

- SHAHROM, G.H. (1991) Yazd and its wind-catchers. Hamahang Journal. 21. p.26-35.

- TAHMASBI, E. (2007) Wind-catchers of Yazd: a Survey on Construction and Performance of Wind-Catchers in Houses of Yazd (Structure and Conventional Materials). Master Thesis. Department of Architecture and Urabnism. Tehran: University of Shahid Behshti.

- MAHMOUDI, M. (2009) Analysis on Iranian wind- catcher and its effect on natural ventilation as a solution towards sustainable architecture. World Academy of Science, Engineering and Technology. 54. p.574-579.

- MAHMOUDI, M. & GHAEMMAGHAMI, P.S. (2005) Wind tower: a natural cooling system in Iranian traditional architecture. In Passive and Low Energy Cooling for the Built Environment Conference. May 2005. Santorini. Greece, p.71-76.

- MAHYARI, A. (1996) The Wind Catcher: A Passive Cooling Device for Hot Arid Climate. Ph.D. Thesis. Department of Architectural and Design Science. Sydney: University of Sydney.

- MOUSAPOUR, H. (2011) Study of Branching Wind- Catchers in Abb Mahi House, Kashan. Seminar of Masters Students. Department of Art and Architecture. Tehran: Islamic Azad University, Central Branch.

- POTTINGER, L.H (1816) Travels in Beloochistan and Sinde: Accompanied by A Geographical and Historical Account of Those Countries; With A Map. London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, And Brown.

- BAHADORI, M.N. (1994) Viability of wind towers in achieving summer comfort in the hot arid regions of the Middle East. Renewable Energy. 5 (5-8). p.879-892.

- KALANTAR, V. (2009) Numerical Simulation of Cooling Performance of Wind Tower (Baud-Geer) in Hot and Arid Region. Renewable Energy. 34 (1). p.246-254.

- HE, J & HOYANO, A. (2010) Experimental study of cooling effects of a passive evaporative cooling wall constructed of porous ceramics with high water soaking-up ability. Building and Environment. 45. p.461-472.

- BOUCHAHM, Y„ BOURBIA, F. & BELHAMRI, A. (2010) Performance analysis and improvement of the use of wind tower in hot dry climate. Renewable Energy. 36 (3). p.898-906.

- BADRAN, A.A. (2003) Performance of cool towers under various climates in Jordan. Energy and Buildings. 35 (10). p.1031- 1035.

- KIRK, S. & KOLOKOTRONI, M. (2004) Windcatchers in modern UK buildings: experimental study. International Journal of Ventilation. 3 (1). p.67-78.

- HUGHES, B.R. & CHEUK-MING, M. (2011) A study of wind and buoyancy driven flows through commercial wind towers. Energy and Buildings. 43 (7). p.1784-1791.

- KAZEMI, M.E., DEHGHAN, A.A., DEHGHAN, M.M. & MOHAGHEGHIAN, S. (2012) Visualized flow structure around and inside of one-sided wind-catchers. Energy and Buildings. 55. p.545- 552.

- DE HERDE, A. & ATTIA, SH. (2009) Designing the Malqaf for Summer Cooling in Low-Rise Housing: an Experimental Study. In 26th Conference on Passive and Low Energy Architecture. June 2009. Quebec. Canada.

- MONTAZERI, H. & AZIZIAN, R. (2008) Experimental study on natural ventilation performance of one-sided wind catcher. Building and Environment. 43(12). p.234-244.

- MONTAZERI H. & AZIZIAN, R. (2008) Experimental study on natural ventilation performance of a two-sided wind catcher. In Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. Part A: Journal of Power and Energy. 223. p.387-400.

- MONTAZERI, H. (2010) Experimental and numerical study on natural ventilation performance of various multi-opening wind catchers. Building and Environment. 46 (2). p.370-378.

- ELMUALIM, A.A. & AWBI, A. (2002) Wind tunnel and CFD investigation of the performance of windcatcher ventilation systems. International Journal of Ventilation. 1 (1). p.53-64.

- ELMUALIM, A.A. (2006) Verification of design calculations of a wind catcher/tower natural ventilation system with performance testing in a real building. International Journal of Ventilation. 4 (4). p.393-404.

- LIU, S., MAK, C.M. & NIU, J. (2011) Numerical evaluation of louver configuration and ventilation strategies for the windcatcher system. Building and Environment. 46 (8). p.1600- 1616.

- GHADIRI, M.H., IBRAHIM, N.L.N. & MOHAMED, M.F. (2013) Performance evaluation of four-sided square wind catchers with different geometries by numerical method. Engineering Journal. 17 (4). p.9-17.

- GHADIRI, M.H., IBRAHIM, N.L.N. & AAYANI, R. The effect of wind catcher geometry on the indoor thermal behavior. Australian Journal of Basic and Applied Sciences. 5 (9). p.381-385.

- BANSAL, N.K., MATHUR, R. & BHANDARI, M.S. (1994) A study of solar chimney assisted wind tower system for natural ventilation in buildings. Building and Environment. 29 (4). p.495- 500.

- HUGHES, B.R., GHANI, S.A.A.A. (2010) A numerical investigation into the effect of Windvent louvre external angle. Building and Environment. 45 (4). p.1025-1036.

- ELMUALIM, A.A. (2006) Effect of damper and heat source on wind catcher natural ventilation performance. Energy Building. 38 (8). p.939-948.

- HUGHES, B.R., GHANI, S.A.A.A. (2009) A numerical investigation into the effect of windvent dampers on operating conditions. Building and Environment. 44 (2). p.237-248.

- HYDERABAD (n.d.) Location of Hyderabad. [Online]

Available from: http://www.hyderabad.org.uk/facts/location.html

- ANON, (n.d.) Sohrabji Godrej Green Business Centre, Hyderabad. In PHDC (ed.). Case Study Buildings.

[99] SOLARPEDIA (2004) Godrej Green Business Centre in Hyderabad. [Online] Available from: http://www.solaripedia.com/13/94/814/godrej_green_business_center_wind_tower_%28india%29.html

- TORCELLINI, P., JUDKOFF, R. & HAYTER, S. (2002) Zion National Park Visitor Center: Significant Energy Savings Achieved through a Whole-Building Design Process. In American Council Conference for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings. August 2002. Pacific Grove. USA.

- ANON, (n.d.) Zion National Park Visitor Centre, Springdale, Utah. In PHDC (ed.). Case Study Buildings.

[102] SHORT AND ASSOCIATES (n.d.) Short and Associates: Projects. [Online] Available from: http://www.shortandassociates. co.uk/projects.asp

- YUDELSON, J. (2012) Green Building Trends: Europe. Washington: Island Press.

- COOK, M.J. & PAINTER, B. (n.d.). Case Study No 17: Fredrick Lanchester Library, Coventry, United Kingdom. Building Advanced Ventilation Technological Examples. IEE: Building AdVent.

- NOON, P. (2008) The Lanchester library-building a sustainable library. Liber Quarterly. 18 (2). p.129-136.

- BATTLE MCCARTHY (n.d.) Office and Commercial Projects: BlueWaterShopping Centre, Kent. [Online] Available from: http://www.battlemccarthy.com/projects/offices/bluewater.htm

- ELMUALIM, A.A. & AWBI, H.B. (2004) Evaluating a Control Strategy for a Hybrid Air-Conditioning and Windcatchers Ventilation System. In CIB World Building Congress. May 2004. Toronto. Canada.

- HOLCIM FOUNDATION (2010) Ecological Boulevard in a New Urban Quarter, Madrid, Spain. [Online] Available from: http://www.holcimfoundation.org/Article/ecological-boulevard-in-a-new-urban-quarter-madrid-spain

- CLIMA TEMPS (n.d.) Palermo, Sicily Climate and Temperature. [Online]

Available from: http://www.palermo.climatemps.com/

- IL PORTALE DEL SUD (2008) I Qanat di Palermo. [Online]

Available from: http://www.ilportaledelsud.org/qanat. htm

- WIND FINDER (n.d.) Wind and Weather Statistics Palermo City. [Online] Available from: http://www.windfinder. com/windstatistics/palermo_city

- SANTAMOURIS, M. & ALLARD, F. (1998) Natural Ventilation in Buildings: A Design Handbook. London: James & James (Science Publishers) Ltd.

- IRAN ENERGY EFFICIENCY ORGANIZATION (2014) 26 Percent of Electricity Consumption Used for Cooling. [Online] Available from: http://www.saba.org.ir/fa/news/3457

- IRAN POWER AND ENERGY AFFAIRS (2013) Energy Balance Sheet of 2012. Tehran: Power Ministry, p. 164-195

- TABNAK NEWS (2015) The Continued Slowdown of Construction in the Country. [Online]

Available from: http:// www.tabnak.ir/fa/news/489282/%D8%AA%D8%AF%D8% A7%D9%88%D9%85-%D8%B1%D9%83%D9%88%D8%AF- % D 8 % B 3 % D 8 % A 7 % D 8 % A E % D 8 % A A % E 2 % 8 0 % 8 C - %D9%88%E2%80%8C-%D8%B3%D8%A7%D8%B2-%D8%AF%D- 8% B1-% DA%A9% D8% B4% D9%88% D8% B1

- TASNIM NEWS (2015) The New Tariffs of Electricity in Residential Sector in 2015. [Online] Available from: http://www. tasnimnews.com/Home/Single/701604

- PARSINEH NEWS (2013)ConstructionCostofC)neSquare Meter of Residential Buildings. [Online] Available from: http://www. parsine.com/fa/news/98664/%D9%87%D8%B2%DB%8C%D9%86 %D9%87-%D8%B3%D8%A7%D8%AE%D8%AA-%D9%87%D8%B1%D9%85%D8%AA%D8%B1%D9%85%D8%B1%D8%A8%D8%B9-%D9%88%D8%A7%D8%AD%D8%AF-%D9%85%D8%B3%DA%A9%D9%88%D9%86%DB%8C-%DA%86%D9%86%D8%AF%D9%87

Modify record (reserved for operators) Modify record (reserved for operators)