Not Only Does New Solar Chimney Design Cut Energy Costs By 50%, It Can Also Save Lives During a Fire

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Discussion posted by: David McNamara

A must-have in green building design, solar chimneys can slash energy costs up to 50%—now research reveals they could also help save lives in a building fire. In a world-first, researchers designed a solar chimney optimized for both energy saving and fire safety, as part of the sustainable features of a new building in Melbourne, Australia. Modeling shows the specially-designed solar chimney radically increases the amount of time people have to escape the building during a fire—extending the safe evacuation time from about 2 minutes to over 14 minutes. A solar chimney is a passive solar heating and cooling system that harnesses natural ventilation to regulate the temperature of a building.