Air-conditioning with no Electricity - The Synergy of Natural Forces
The Porter Building makes optimal use of renewable energy resources and natural forces that work in synergy to achieve a very pleasant indoor atmosphere without having to use electrical air-conditioning throughout the building.
This synergy of natural elements - using solar power and natural sunlight, water, air and wind, earth and vegetation, all together they contribute to a holistic system that greatly reduce the need for electricity.
- Air and Wind - natural passive ventilation. The building was placed intentionally to face the breeze from the Mediterranean sea on its western facade - the main entrance. Special motorized windows are stationed to allow the wind in, flowing gently through the building and going out on the eastern side.
The atrium is designed with a slope that creates a Venturi effect, further facilitating the natural flow of air. In addition, nine chimneys at the top draw hot and humid air out of the building.
The passive airflow has multiple benefits. It draws hot air and humidity outside of the building, provides fresh oxygen, improves air quality and provide a pleasant and healthy atmosphere for people within the building
Natural Sunlight. The massive glass walls and skylight ceiling allow a fascinating view outside to the metropolitan landscape while they also allow diffused natural sunlight in.
Natural sunlight is healthy, inducing natural biorhythm and important physiological cycles of serotonin and melatonin. It is much healthier than artificial light and it also saves electricity because there is no need to use artificial light during the daytime.
Sun and Water - the Thermal-solar tubes. On the Eco-Wall, positioned in the sun-exposed southern façade, thermal-solar tubes were installed to absorb the sun's radiation and heat water. The hot water goes up through vertical pipes to drive the absorption chiller on the roof, which activates the entire building's air-conditioning system by creating cold water that flow in a second closed system.
The flow of both cold and hot water is regulated by a computer system. Under the floor of the atrium there is a dense network of water pipes and in the ceiling of the rooms there are chilled beams that again use the water pipes to create, with a very gentle effect, the required air-conditioning. The system directs airflow across the chilled beams to control air temperature.
This way, the Building's AC system does not rely on the national electricity grid at all.
- Soil and Vegetation - the remarkable impact of the green roof. The garden on the roof is a very pleasant place to be and is useful for peaceful work, meetings and learning. But it also a component of the air-conditioning system because it insulates the building from above and keep it free from the heat generated by direct sunlight.
The light soil and crushed volcanic rock maintains intact air and moisture, the plants and ground water further contribute to a fantastic conditioning, cooling effect.