How did Gulf Arabs keep cool before AC?

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Dalia Hamati



Original Date

June 11, 2017


The UAE currently represents one of the largest carbon footprints per capita in the world, largely due to the building and operating of climate controlled buildings in its inhospitable climate. This begs the question, how did its residents manage to keep cool before oil was discovered in 1966?This presentation explores the sophisticated techniques that were used for climate management, ranging from the use of specific construction materials to urban planning as a device for solar shading. Central to their techniques was the use of windtowers (barjeel), the earliest records of which are found in ancient Egypt. The presentation examines the thermodynamics behind how they work as well as how they promoted an urban seasonal lifestyle, ending with the potential role they can play in a more sustainable future.

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