Image: Wikimedia Commons

Marco Polo noticed an interesting feature in the architecture of Hormuz: “The heat is tremendous, and on that account their houses are built with ventilators to catch the wind. These ventilators are placed on the side from which the wind comes, and they bring the wind down into the house to cool it. But for this the heat would be utterly unbearable.” This technique has been used for thousands of years, originally in ancient Iran and now throughout West Asia: By catching the prevailing wind and directing it through the interior of a house, the residents can greatly increase air circulation while avoiding the sun’s heat.

In 2005 tests using a wind tunnel, Vipac Engineering confirmed that windtowers are effective in reducing the impact of summer climate — and their passivity makes them valuable for energy conservation.

(Anne Coles and Peter Jackson, Windtower, 2007.)