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Pergamon

PII:

Renewable Energy, Vol. 14. Nos. 1-4, pp. 357-363, 1998


1998 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved
Printed in Great Britain
S 0 9 6 0 - 1 4 8 1 (98) 0 0 0 9 0 - 1
0960-1481/98 $19.00+0.00

A R O O F S O L A R C H I M N E Y ASSISTED BY C O O L I N G CAVITY F O R N A T U R A L VENTILATION IN


BUILDINGS IN H O T ARID C L I M A T E S : A N E N E R G Y CONSERVATION A P P R O A C H IN AL-AIN CITY
M O I t S E N M. ABOULNAGA
Department o f Architectural Engineering, Faculty o f Engineering, UAE University,
P. O. Box 17555, AI- Ain, UAE,. E-mail: anaga@eclsun.uaeu.ac.ae

ABSTRACT
The paper presents a parameteric analytical study of roof solar chimney coupled with wind cooled cavity using spread-sheet
computer program. Detailed description and sizing of such system are presented. Separation between the external leaf and solar
chimney's extemagazingisptimized.Theprpsedrfsarchimneyaneisabetcreateanairwrateupt
1.6kg/s
at a mean incident solar radiation of 850W/m 2. The maximum air velocity derived in the chimney is about 1.1m/s. At an
average incident solar radiation 575W/m 2, and air velocity in the chimney of 0.9m/s, the average mass flow rate is found as 1.3
kg/s. For a wind speed of 4.0 m/s the cooled cavity can create a mass flow of 0.35 kg/s. The system may be applied to more
than one storey building. It is however, useful to be incorporated with a stand-alone building or with a cluster of buildings.
1998 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.

KEYWORDS
Solar chimney; Natural ventilation; Passive cooling systems; Energy conservation; Hot-Arid climates, UAE.

1NTKODUCTION
International growing interest in alternative energy techniques is propelled by environmental and economic
benefits. Solar energy, especially radiant heat is the most important source o f heat gain in and through buildings
envelope. A primary strategy for cooling building without mechanical intervention in hot humid climates is to
promote natural ventilation. With ambient air temperatures almost between 42-47C during the over-heated period
in hot-arid regions, direct ventilation is not recommended due to undesirable body heat gain by convection. This
problem can cause thermal discomfort for building occupants. Inappropriate climatic-responsive buildings utilize
enormous cooling energy to counterbalance the overall heat gain caused by the above mentioned stresses. Most
buildings consume energy mainly for cooling, heating, and lighting purposes. Residential and commercial
buildings in Europe consume more than one-third o f energy for heating. Energy values in office buildings are
estimated as 300 kWh/year/m s (Campbell, 1988) and (Amouris et aL, 1994). In some hot regions, particularly in
the Gulf, research work has shown that the building sector is consuming a great portion o f the state energy. The
statistical data for Riyadh (1988) indicated that the electrical energy consumption by residential buildings is about
59% o f the total division (Saeed, 1997). Almost 37% of the total annual electrical energy in residential buildings
are consumed for cooling. Recent published research work showed that energy consumed for cooling in a twostory residential building in A1-Ain city, UAE, is estimated as 186 kWh/m 2. Cooling energy breakdown for
examined prototype buildings as an output o f EnerFace simulation run are presented in Table 1, (AboulNaga et al.,
1997). It is clear that the cooling energy required to offset heat gain from the building walls and roof is almost
50% o f the total percentage of energy. The mean annual total consumption is 82kWh/m 2. The highest values were
reported as 156 kWh/m 2 and 137 kWh/m 2 whereas lowest values were as 73 kWh/m 2 and 60 kWh/m 2. Almost 80%
o f energy consumption in examined buildings is used for cooling.
357

358

M . M . ABOULNAGA

Buildings could be cooled by the use of solar energy. Those buildings that utilize solar energy are usually referred
to as solar houses. The cooling and heating of a building can be achieved by either passive or active means. To
control the energy consumption in buildings passively several cooling approaches could be implemented. (Sodha
et al., 1986) and (Kaushik et aL, 1988) have described various passive techniques for cooling and heating that
could be integrated into buildings. For cooling, there are various concepts namely, water film (Tiwari et al., 1982),
roof pond (Sodha et al., 1981) and (Raeissi and Taheri, 1996), roof garden, movable insulation, plantation of
vegetation over the roof, (Nayak et al., 1981) and air cavity in wall (Singh, 1982; and AboulNaga, 1990). Most of
the above techniques use water in their operations. Due to the scarcity of water in hot-arid regions these techniques
are considered improper. The use of earth air tunnel is also considered as a promising mean (Singh, 1987).
Glazing and shading could be an alternative for regulating the solar heat gain into buildings, thus helping to reduce
the consumption of conventional energy for cooling, ventilation, and daylighting (Imbabi et al., 1995).
Architects frequently tend to imitate building elements that are related to south European configuration such as
Spanish roofs to give a good image to building appearance (Fig. 1). Without awareness of the implication of such
approach, the heat transmission into buildings through the roof directly contributes towards increasing internal
surfaces temperatures, resulting in a higher radiant heat, as well as higher consumption of energy for cooling. In
view of Sustainable Development it is high time for architects, urban planners, and engineers, to find means and
ways to create a healthy, sustainable, built environment (Celik, 1994).
Aeromotive building elements such as wind towers have been extensively used in different countries particularly
Egypt, Iran, and the Gulf as a natural ventilation for passive cooling. The wind tower is designed to catch the
breeze at higher elevations and descend it into internal spaces using thermal and pressure gradients (Bansal, 1992).
Forced ventilation for cooling in wind towers exploiting evaporation has been reported (Bouhadri, 1978).
However, cooled natural ventilation induced by evaporation under buoyancy air flow in a vertical cavity has been
investigated and developed (Aboul Naga, 1990). A solar chimney employs convective currents to draw air out of
the building. By creating a hot zone with an exterior outlet, air can be drawn into the house ventilating the
structure, and also occupants. However, applications of the solar chimneys in buildings were limited to external
walls (Buchart, 1991). Integrating a solar chimney with an evaporative cooled cavity could result in better cooling
effect. The paper focuses on the incorporation of roof solar chimney assisted wind cooling cavity into building
external envelope to promote natural cooling. Since solar energy in such region is immense, the hot zone created
with a black metal sheet on the glazing sheet can draw hotter air at a slightly high speed. With the assisted air flow
cooling cavity the air current may be even higher.

THE CASE STUDY


The study is limited to one type of residential building that is very common in AI-Ain city. This type includes two
floors with two apartments located symmetrically in each floor. Nearly all residential fiats are air-conditioned
during summer months (April to October) with wall mounted (split unit) air-conditioners.
Table 1. Percentage of cooling energy breakdown of examined buildings according to AboulNaga et al., 1997
Items
Building No. 1
BuildingNo. 2
BuildingNo. 3
BuildingNo. 4
Wall & Roof
39.80
43.20
45.10
42.20
Glazing
7.10
7.60
6.50
9.70
Solar
28.80
27.70
29.30
28.60
Ventilation
4.90
3.10
1.70
2.90
Lights
13.60
14.70
15.40
13.10
Occupants
5.80
3.70
2.00
3.50
Table 2. Energy consumption and annual cost of examined buildings according to AboulNaga et al., 1997
Items
Building No. 1
BuildingNo. 2
BuildingNo. 3
BuildingNo. 4
Floor perimeter (m)
119.00
117.30
79.00
98.40
No. of fiats/Building
4
2
3
2
Flat area (m2)
149.00
271.50
200.60
277.00
Orientation (long elevation)
North-South
East-West
West-East
East-West
Mean annual total consumption (k'~h/h/m2)
137.40
60.11
72.82
156.02
Mean annual cost ($/kWh/m2)
5.60
2.45
2.97
6.36
* Cost of Electricity rate/kWh is based accordingto the UAE Government,Dept. of Water and Electricity, AI-Ain, 1997.

Energy conservation approach in A1-Ain city

Main elevation (Bldg. 1)

Side elevation (Bldg. 1)

359

Side elvevation (Bldg. 2)

Main elevation (Bldg. 2)

Fig. 1. Typical Residential Houses used in the analysis, AI-Ain -UAE.


Slope angle fl

Absorber plate

Natural flow (V)

~y
Cavity Inlet/, Cavity C, Room inlet i
~yheight h, chimneyS, outlet O, Width W
Section

Fig. 2. Proposed roof solar chimney assisted by cooled cavity for a residential building, AI-Ain -UAE.

THEORETICAL ANALYSIS
The proposed system is comprised o f a cooling cavity with uniform cross-section area, system inlet, connected to a
room to be ventilated. A solar chimney is integrated on inclined roof, system outlet (Fig. 2.). The wind cavity
flow system is acting as a supply system. The relative cooler outdoor air is captured through the cavity inlet,
descends downwards, then into the room. The air motion force available due to difference in pressure between the
inlet and the outlet o f the system is used up partly in imparting kinetic energy to wind and partly in over coming
the resistance to the air flow. For a uniform and persistent flow, the pressure difference APw between the point of
air flow entry and exit with usual notification is given by:
]
AP~= 7Xp

Vo

1
2
+ TKopoVo

(1)

The air flow rate equation in the solar chimney (Q) due to the stack effect in the cross section area
inclined surface at an anglefl with the horizontal surface (proposed roof) is given by:

(/i) o f an

1 2 ( @ ) ( g h sin fl)
o = x Ao

"~'; 7 5 7

(2)

Assuming the density o f the air (,o) is constant through the system the continuity equation becomes:

pA,V,~pAoVc=pZ

A v=pZA
.

V ++pZ
.

A oVo

(3)

360

M.M. ABOULNAGA

For the air flow incident directly on the cavity and the room outlet facing leeward side, the value of the pressure
coefficient (X) is 1.1, (Chand and Bhargava, 1990). The stack effect in wind cavity could be neglected since the
temperature drop or temperature rise across the cavity is nearly negligible (Mathur et al., (1992)and (CIBSE
Guide, 1987). The total pressure loss across the system can expressed as:
A PL = A PI + A Pc + A Pi + A PR + A Po

(4)

In the expression of velocities at different points in term of velocity at the inlet of the cavity (V/), equations (3)
and (4) could be written as:
I ~ 1~ L

T pvl

c,(A,) 2+ C c AA c.V~~

+C

A V
ZAiVi

A V
+ C I~ ~
T ARVR

. . . .

A V

+C o

ZAoV

. . . .

(5)

Using equation (5) could be rewritten as:

APL = 7pv,

C,(A,)'+C<

tnA, )

tnAo ;

(6)

By substituting the values of coefficient (C) in equation (6) and using equation (1) we find:

iXpVo

+-2KsPV

=7pV,

0.901

+0.075

t.

+0.7
\

c/

+0.
k

i)

o/

(7)

The energy balance for a unit area of the absorber plate (chimney) is found as (Duffle and Beckman, 1980):
( a r ) S ( t ) = hf(Tp - ~f ) + U L ( T -

T)

(8)

where c~ is absorpatance of chimney plate, x is transmittance of glazing, S(t) is the average impinged solar radiation
on the inclined surface, hf is the heat transfer coefficient, Tp is absorber plate temperature,Tfis average air
temperature and T a is ambient air temperature. The energy balance for the flowing air is expressed as (Duffle and
Beckman, 1980):
fn
dT)
--c
AX = h / w A x ( T p - T / )
n " dX
(9)
With the boundary conditions at X=0. Tf = TR ; the solution of equation (9) is :
T/(X) = (T-

TR ) e x p ( - Z x )

(10)

Z=-~--~mop , The average air temperature (Tf) is given by:


where
:

(x)ax

(11)

(a r ) S ' ( t ) + ULT, + U,TR


Tv =
UL+U '

(12)
h.
exp( - Z L )]
ZL L
(13)
The outlet fluid temperature (Tfo) can be calculated from equation (10), using the boundary conditions at x=L, Tf
Tf =Tfo.. The temperature difference (AT) between outlet and fluid temperature ( T f o ) a n d room (TR)can be
expressed as:
AT=(T
- TR ) [ 1 - e x p ( - Z L ) ]
(14)
v,

= ----'-/1-

Using equations (2), (7), and (12), the volume rate of air coming out of the system (chimney) is:
Q = sK A ~]2(gh sinTR(1
+A))fl)[1
- exp(-ZL)] L[-(ar)S(t)(uL+u,)*
U,,T + UtTn _ 1" I"
(15)

Energy conservation approachin Al-Ain city


O u t l e t area = ~ 2 9 m ~ & c h t m n e y a i r g a p = 0 . 0 8 m

361

Outlet are# = ~ 3 6 m z & chirnney a i r gap = 0.10 m

max. m a z s l l o w r a t e ~ 9 . 1 5 k g / s a t 8 5 0 W / m z

max. m a s s / l o w rate~0.24 k t / s at 850 W/m e

OO9

ol4

006

I- 1
O02

;~

2OO

4OO

~0~

SO0

only

oo2

..

OOl

~ v l t y natural f l ~

o~
o~

..

i
o

20o

i
#

i
Ion

ioo3

iooo

A v e r a g e s o l a r r a d i a t i o n ON/m z)
A v e r a g e s o l a r r a d i a t i o n ( W / m z)

Outlct srea = ~ 72 m e & c h i ~ c y

a~hg~p = ~ 2 0 m

Oulet = 0.90 m z & c h i m n e y M r g l p = a 2 5 m

max. m ~ s f l o w mtc-~, ,49kg/s at 8 5 0 W / m ~

o 2~

~.

wl~h ~ l a r chimney

~=

o15

l l o w mte=~5O kl~s at #50 W/m z

ml~chimney

o3
o25

wi
with =

o2
ol5

005

~
. . . . .
cavity with natural air fl

withmaundmrflew~ly

oo5

0 ~

209

400

/-

600

800

1000

A v e r a g e ~ o l a r r a d i a t l o n (w/m 2)

203

409

6~

B09

10O0

A v e r a g e s o l a r r a d i a t i o n (Vc'/m 2)

[
~x

Outlet = O 72 m e & c h t ~ y M r p p = ~ 20 m
A n . V ~ . 9 m/s, A ve ~
tlow ~ t e 1 . 2 9 kg/s at 575W/m 2

Inlet Ca via)" ~
~3.2 ra2& Inlet height = 0.88 m
m ~ s n o w ~ t e = a 30 kg/s at wind s ~ e d 4.25 m/s

014

n o s ] - ~ wsolari tchimney
h

o,

d
~

04 ] ]

oo2

AlIAs -{Ar)= 2 5

::_-::::2::
0

203

409

600

803

10GO

Average solar radiation (w/m:)

Wind speed (m/s)


e

Outlet &.e~e = O. 72 m ~ & c h i m n e y air gap = 0.20 m


Ave. V=O.gra/& Ave. n m ~ l l o w m t e L 1 4 kg/s at 2 7 C
I

os

o~

09

o,
07

04

O3

02
Ot

o
o

io

20

3o

io

200
Average ambient Temperatnre

6~

800

(C)
A v e r a g e S o l a r r a d i a t i o n 0 ~ / m 2)

g.

Fig. 3. Volume

flow rates induced by the proposed roof solar chimney

10430

M. M. A B O U L N A G A

362

Table 3. Thermal parameters of the system.


1. Absorpatance - transimittance of the plate and glazing (chimney)
2. Specific heat capacity of the air
3. Heat Transfer Coefficient
4. Acceleration of gravity
5. Coefficient of discharge of solar chimney
6. Inclined of the chimney with horizontal
7. Overall heat loss coefficient of the chimney

0.8
lO00.O
3.0
9.8
0.5
25-35
5

Table 4. Physical dimensions of the cavity and solar chimney.


1. Length of the plate and glazing (chimney)
2. Width of the chimney
3. Air gap in the chimney
4. Distance between inlet and outlet of the chimney
5. Area of the inlet of cavity
6. Area of the cavity
7. Inlet of the room
8. Chimney inlet and outlet area

1.50
3.60
0.10- 0.25
0.20
3.20
1.00
0.15
0.30-0.90

(J/kg/K)
(W/m2K)
(m/s2)
(W/m2K)

(m)
(m)
(m)
(m)
(m2)
(m2)
(m)
(m2)

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION


To find the induced air flow rates through the cavity and the solar chimney system equations (2) and (15) should be
solved. A spread-sheet computer program is written and used in the parameteric analysis to determine the induced
volume flow rates and mass flow rates at different averages solar radiation on inclined surface. The separation
between the roof solar chimney walls were varied form 0.08m to 0.25m. If the room size were about 4.80m long x
3.60m wide and the ceiling height is 3.60m, the room volume will be about 72m 3. Dimensions of various
ingredients o f the system are presented as AI/A c =1, AI/A i = 13.33, As/A i = 1.5, and AI/A s = 8.88. If the house is
a one-story n = l , and for two storeys, then n=2. To determine the effect of the natural air flow cooling cavity, the
thermal parameters needed for calculation. These are given in Table 3. The physical dimensions o f the cavity and
chimney are given in Table 4. The average solar radiation on an inclined surface in AI-Ain is taken as S(t) 300900 W/m 2. Average room air temperature is taken as 23C and the ambient air temperature is 27C. The roof
inclination is taken to be 25-35 system is proposed to perform in accordance w i t h t h e recommended airflow
velocity in the room in hot climates to achieve thermal comfort (CIBSE, 1987) & (ASHREA, 1993). Air velocity in
the room therefore should reach a m a x i m u m of 0.3 m/s. Results o f the analysis are shown in Fig. 3. (a, b, c, d, e, f,
g, and h). The natural volume air flow expected in the cavity inlet without the incorporation o f the roof solar
chimney to be 0.9m/s (Fig. 3 .g). At an average solar radiation on an inclined surface o f 850 W/m 2 the m a x i m u m
mass flow rate 1.60 kg/s (volume flow rate is 0.81m3/s)induced by the roof solar chimney (Fig. 3. f.). For the
room inlet height o f 0.15m (area 0.54m 2) the air velocity in the room found to be 0.27 m/s at 0.90 m from the
floor level. Figure 3. h. shows the results of changing the slope angle o f the solar chimney (25-40). It is clear that
the m a x i m u m mass flow rate has increased from 1.50 kg/s at slope angle 1325 to 1.60 kg/s at slope angle 1330
and has reached the m a x i m u m value (1.75 kg/s) when the slope angle 13is 35 . When the slope angle 13is taken as
40 no increase to the mass flow rate (Fig. 3.h.). A drop has been found (1.70 kg/s). The above results indicate that
the best performance o f the roof solar chimney is at slope angle 13is 35 .
CONCLUSIONS
The natural air flow cooled cavity has less effect in terms o f cooling. To obtain best cooling performance
separation between the chimney wall should be kept apart at 0.20m and ratio (Ar), Ai/As, should also be 2.5.
Separation less than 0.10 m is not recommended. The incorporation of an inclined roof solar chimney to a single
house in AI-Ain (a hot-arid climate area) has shown a promising results. The parameteric study yields a m a x i m u m
volume flow rate equivalent to 0.81m3/s and mass flow rate 1.60 kg/s at an average solar radiation o f 850 W/m 2.
Further work is presently in progress to identify and determine the flow isotherm and pattern in the system (cavity,
room and the solar chimney) utilizing Fluid Simulation Package FIDAP.
NOMENCLATURE
"F
C
g

average air temperature (C)


pressure loss coefficient
acceleration of gravity (m/s2)

W
h
X

width (m)
stack height (m)
pressure coefficient

Energy conservation approach in AI-Ain city

363

hf
th

heat transfer coefficient (W/m2 C)


mass flow rate (kg/s)

K
A

coefficient of discharge
area (m2)

(t)
P
z
Cp

average solar radiation (W/mz)


pressure (N/m2)
constant
specific capacity of the air

Q
U
V

volume flow rate (m3/s)


heat coefficient (W/m2 C)
air velocity (m/s)

c~
r

Greek
absorpatance
transimittance

fl
p

slope ()
Density (kg/m 3)

a
D
i
L
O
R

Subscripts
ambient
discharge
room inlet
losses
outlet
room

s
f
1
r
p
c

chimney
fluid
cavity inlet
ratio
plate
cavity

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