Originally posted on TED Blog:
Going to an outdoor event during the steamy months of summer generally involves packing a miniature fan and slathering yourself in sunscreen, as most venues do little to shade attendees in the cheap seats. This is something Wolfgang Kessling, of the German climate engineering firm Transsolar, would like to change. In a talk at the TEDxSummit in Doha, Kessling describes the challenge of designing an open-air stadium in Qatar to host the World Cup in June 2022, which would keep both the players and fans feeling cool in Doha’s legendary heat (in the month of June, the daily high temperature is around 106F / 41C, according to Weather.com). Not a proponent of blasting attendees with energy-wasting cold air, Kessler suggests several innovations—for example, PV membranes that collect solar energy as they shade a stadium, and “radiant cooling” achieved by piping chilled water through a stadium floor.
“Our general approach is to enhance outdoor comfort by considering shading, wind, sky cooling, thermal mass,” Kessling tells the TED Blog. “Active solar cooling systems are the [best] choice in areas that get very hot. They turn the high solar radiation of these areas from a problem into an opportunity.”
We’ll see how it goes in 2022. In the meantime, here’s a look at 5 other public spaces—both existing and in the works—that harness innovative cooling strategies.