January 24 2008

Hot and Dry down South

evaporative cooling  And by down south I mean South America, specifically Santiago, Chile, where I recently spent a few weeks vacation. Summers are hot, dry, and windy, and the culture of air conditioning is limited to say the least. Who needs air conditioners when a fan and a water jet have equal if not superior effect!This example is in the Santiago subway system - back to back high power fans and water jets are positioned about 9 feet above the platforms and are programmed to switch on about every 5 minutes for 15 seconds. . Given the low humidity, the result is an almost instantaneous cooling of the air as the water vapor evaporates. An additional benefit is a pleasant and surprising freshness of the indoor air quality. Train cars are not air conditioned either. It was one of many excellent, low-tech strategies for keeping comfort levels spot-on without excessive use of energy resources.

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