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How ancient 'skywells' are keeping Chinese homes cool

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By illuminem briefings

· 2 min read

illuminem summarizes for you the essential news of the day. Read the full piece here in BBC or enjoy below

🗞️ Driving the news: The traditional Chinese architectural feature of skywells, or "tian jing," is making a comeback
• Today, architects are incorporating the principles of skywells into modern building designs to save energy and promote sustainability

🔭 The context: Skywells are smaller, less exposed spaces within a building and were a typical feature of homes in southern and eastern China, dating back to the Ming and Qing dynasties
• Skywells were originally designed to cool buildings before air conditioning and to allow in light, improve ventilation, and harvest rainwatee

🌎 Why does it matter for the planet: Utilizing skywells can help reduce energy consumption in buildings, as they improve natural lighting and ventilation
• Functioning  as a sustainable solution  and reducing  greenhouse emissions

⏭️ What's next: Despite the challenges of incorporating skywells into modern designs, due to their need to be site-specific and adapted to the building's context, their use is likely to continue growing

💬 One quote:"I expect skywells, as an architectural feature, to be 'more and more popular' among younger generations because of their ventilation and lighting functions, especially as sustainability becomes an important element for new buildings." (Yu Youhong, expert in skywell homes)

📈 One stat: A 2021 study found that the temperatures inside some skywells in southern China were up to 4.3C lower than the outside temperatures, demonstrating the effectiveness of their design for passive cooling

Click for more news covering the latest on Sustainable Lifestyle

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