Hot air rises! It is this basic principle that underpins the cooling system for the house – and when physics provides a simple, free solution, why not use it!?
Located over the study, there is a single small upstairs room of 13m2 with windows on all four sides – and they’re not just for providing 360o views of the valley.
Ceiling heights throughout the ground floor are 2.7m. In the study the ceiling is 3.4m. This change in height encourages accumulated warm air throughout the house to channel toward the study, aided by a high window from the connecting hallway that can be opened or closed seasonally. Once in the study, the hot air continues to rise up through the stairwell into the cooling tower. It then flows out of the house through the opened windows, thus cooling the house without any need for air-conditioners, fans or electricity. The air movement is most effective in the evening / night, when outside temperatures have dropped allowing a greater difference in air temperatures between the hot air in the tower and the outside. Standing on the staircase, you can actually feel the breeze flowing up the stairwell as the warm air moves to the just-opened windows – if you’re wearing a skirt, it can almost be a classic Marilyn Munroe moment!
Even after a 40 degree day, we find the cooling system so effective that by about 3am you’re either pulling the doona up over yourself to keep warm in bed, or going upstairs to close the windows!
Of course, in winter, you just keep the windows closed to trap the warmth inside.
The cooling tower room is a lovely warm winter haven, but far too hot to be in during the day in summer! However, there is something magical about this little offset room hiding at the top of a spiral staircase which draws people up whatever the weather…