11:36
TEDxSummit

Wolfgang Kessling: How to air-condition outdoor spaces

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During the hot summer months, watching an outdoor sports match or concert can be tantamount to baking uncomfortably in the sun -- but it doesn’t have to be. At the TEDxSummit in Doha, physicist Wolfgang Kessling reveals sustainable design innovations that cool us from above and below, and even collects solar energy for later use.

- Physicist
Wolfgang Kessling and his team at Transsolar designed the solar cooling and comfort concepts that helped Qatar win the bid for the 2022 football World Cup. Full bio

Good evening.
00:17
We are in this wonderful
00:18
open-air amphitheater
00:20
and we are enjoying ourselves
00:22
in that mild evening
00:23
temperature tonight,
00:25
but when Qatar will host
00:26
the football World Cup
00:31
10 years from now,
00:32
2022,
00:34
we already heard it will be
00:36
in the hot, very hot and sunny
00:37
summer months of June and July.
00:40
And when Qatar has been assigned
00:43
to the World Cup all, many
00:45
people around the world have been
00:47
wondering, how would it be
00:49
possible that football players
00:50
show spectacular football,
00:52
run around in this desert
00:54
climate? How would it be
00:56
possible that spectators sit,
00:57
enjoy themselves in open-air
01:00
stadia in this hot environment?
01:03
Together with the architects of
01:06
Albert Speer & Partner, our engineers
01:08
from Transsolar have been
01:10
supporting, have been developing
01:12
open-air stadia based on 100 percent
01:13
solar power, on 100 percent solar cooling.
01:17
Let me tell you about that,
01:22
but let me start with comfort.
01:23
Let me start with the aspect
01:25
of comfort, because many people
01:26
are confusing
01:28
ambient temperature
01:31
with thermal comfort.
01:33
We are used to looking at charts like
01:35
that, and you see this red line
01:36
showing the air temperature
01:38
in June and July, and yes, that's right,
01:39
it's picking up to 45 degrees C.
01:41
It's actually very hot.
01:43
But air temperature is not
01:46
the full set of climatic
01:49
parameters which define comfort.
01:50
Let me show you analysis
01:53
a colleague of mine did looking
01:54
on different football, World Cups,
01:58
Olympic Games around the world,
02:01
looking on the comfort
02:02
and analyzing the comfort
02:04
people have perceived at these
02:05
different sport activities,
02:08
and let me start with Mexico.
02:10
Mexico temperature has been, air
02:12
temperature has been something between
02:13
15, up to 30 degrees C, and people
02:15
enjoyed themselves.
02:18
It was a very comfortable game
02:20
in Mexico City. Have a look.
02:22
Orlando, same kind of stadium,
02:24
open-air stadium. People have
02:26
been sitting in the strong sun,
02:29
in the very high humidity
02:32
in the afternoon, and they
02:33
did not enjoy. It was not comfortable.
02:35
The air temperature was not too high, but it was not
02:36
comfortable during these games.
02:38
What about Seoul? Seoul, because
02:41
of broadcast rights, all the
02:43
games have been in the late
02:45
afternoon. Sun has already been
02:47
set, so the games have been
02:48
perceived as comfortable.
02:50
What about Athens? Mediterranean
02:53
climate, but in the sun it was
02:56
not comfortable. They didn't perceive comfort.
02:58
And we know that from Spain,
03:01
we know that "sol y sombra."
03:03
If you have a ticket, and you
03:05
get a ticket for the shade,
03:07
you pay more, because you're
03:09
in a more comfortable environment.
03:11
What about Beijing?
03:15
It's again, sun in the day
03:16
and high humidity,
03:19
and it was not comfortable.
03:21
So if I overlay, and if you
03:22
overlay all these comfort
03:23
envelopes, what we see is,
03:25
in all these places, air temperature has
03:27
been ranging something from 25
03:29
to 35, and if you go on
03:33
the line, 30, of 30 degrees C
03:35
ambient temperatures. If you
03:37
go along that line you see
03:39
there has been all kind of
03:41
comfort, all kinds of perceived
03:43
outdoor comfort, ranging from
03:45
very comfortable
03:47
to very uncomfortable.
03:48
So why is that?
03:50
This is because there are
03:53
more parameters influencing
03:55
our thermal comfort, which is
03:57
the sun, the direct sun,
03:59
the diffuse sun, which is wind,
04:01
strong wind, mild wind, which is
04:04
air humidity, which is
04:06
the radiant temperature of the
04:09
surroundings where we are in.
04:11
And this is air temperature.
04:13
All these parameters go into
04:15
the comfort feeling of our
04:16
human body, and scientists
04:18
have developed a parameter,
04:19
which is the perceived
04:22
temperature, where all these
04:23
parameters go in and help
04:25
designers to understand
04:28
which is the driving parameter
04:30
that I feel comfort or that
04:33
I don't feel comfort.
04:34
Which is the driving parameter
04:36
which gives me a perceived
04:37
temperature? And these parameters,
04:39
these climatic parameters are
04:41
related to the human metabolism.
04:43
Because of our metabolism,
04:47
we as human beings,
04:49
we produce heat.
04:51
I'm excited, I'm talking to you,
04:53
I'm probably producing
04:54
150 watts
04:56
at the moment. You are sitting,
04:57
you are relaxed, you're looking
04:59
at me. It's probably 100
05:00
watts each person is producing,
05:02
and we need to get rid of that
05:04
energy. I need, with my body,
05:06
to get rid of the energy, and
05:07
the harder it is for myself,
05:09
for my body, to get rid of the
05:11
energy, the less comfort I feel.
05:13
That's it. And if I don't
05:15
get rid of the energy,
05:17
I will die.
05:19
If we overlay what happens
05:20
during the football World Cup,
05:24
what will happen in June, July,
05:27
we will see, yes, air
05:28
temperature will be much higher,
05:29
but because the games and
05:31
the plays will be in the afternoon,
05:33
it's probably the same comfort
05:35
rating we've found in other
05:37
places which has perceived
05:39
as non-comfortable.
05:40
So we sat together with a team
05:42
which prepared the Bid Book, or goal,
05:44
that we said, let's aim
05:47
for perceived temperature,
05:49
for outdoor comfort in this range,
05:51
which is perceived with a
05:54
temperature of 32 degrees
05:56
Celsius perceived temperature,
05:59
which is extremely comfortable.
06:00
People would feel really fine
06:03
in an open outdoor environment.
06:05
But what does it mean?
06:07
If we just look on what happens,
06:09
we see, temperature's too high.
06:11
If we apply the best architectural design,
06:13
climate engineering design,
06:16
we won't get much better.
06:17
So we need to do something active.
06:20
We need, for instance, to bring
06:22
in radiant cooling technology,
06:24
and we need to combine this
06:26
with so-called soft conditioning.
06:28
And how does it look like in a stadium?
06:30
So the stadium has a few
06:32
elements which create that
06:34
outdoor comfort. First of all,
06:36
it's shading. It needs
06:37
to protect where the people
06:39
are sitting against strong
06:42
and warm wind.
06:43
But that's not all what we need
06:44
to do. We need to use
06:46
active systems.
06:49
Instead of blowing a hurricane
06:51
of chilled air through the stadium,
06:54
we can use radiant
06:56
cooling technologies, like a
06:58
floor heating system where water
07:00
pipes are embedded in the floor.
07:02
And just by using cold water
07:04
going through the water pipes,
07:06
you can release the heat
07:08
which is absorbed during the day
07:09
in the stadium, so you can
07:11
create that comfort, and then by
07:13
adding dry air instead of
07:14
down-chilled air, the spectators
07:17
and the football players can
07:19
adjust to their individual
07:21
comfort needs, to their
07:23
individual energy balance.
07:25
They can adjust and find
07:27
their comfort they need to find.
07:29
There are 12 stadia probably
07:31
to come, but there are
07:36
32 training pitches where
07:38
all the individual countries
07:40
are going to train.
07:42
We applied the same concept:
07:43
shading of the training pitch,
07:45
using a shelter against wind,
07:47
then using the grass.
07:50
Natural-watered lawn is a
07:52
very good cooling source
07:54
stabilizing temperature,
07:56
and using dehumidified air to
07:57
create comfort.
07:59
But even the best passive design
08:00
wouldn't help.
08:04
We need active system.
08:05
And how do we do that?
08:06
Our idea for the bid was
08:07
100 percent solar cooling,
08:09
based on the idea that we use
08:11
the roof of the stadia,
08:13
we cover the roofs of the stadia
08:14
with PV systems.
08:16
We don't borrow any energy
08:18
from history.
08:21
We are not using fossil energies.
08:22
We are not borrowing energy
08:24
from our neighbors.
08:26
We're using energy we can harvest
08:27
on our roofs, and also on the
08:29
training pitches, which will be
08:32
covered with large, flexible
08:34
membranes, and we will see
08:36
in the next years an industry
08:38
coming up with flexible
08:40
photovoltaics, giving
08:41
the possibilities of shading
08:43
against strong sun and producing
08:44
electric energy in the same time.
08:46
And this energy now is
08:48
harvested throughout the year,
08:50
sent into the grid,
08:52
is replacing fossils
08:53
in the grid, and when I need it
08:55
for the cooling, I take it
08:58
back from the grid and I
09:00
use the solar energy
09:02
which I have brought to the grid
09:05
back when I need
09:07
it for the solar cooling.
09:08
And I can do that in the first
09:09
year and I can balance that
09:10
in the next 10, and the next
09:11
20 years, this energy,
09:13
which is necessary to condition
09:14
a World Cup in Qatar,
09:17
the next 20 years, this energy
09:19
goes into the grid of Qatar.
09:21
So this -- (Applause)
09:23
Thank you very much. (Applause)
09:25
This is not only useful
09:26
for stadia. We can use that also
09:28
in open-air places and streets,
09:30
and we've been working on
09:33
the City of the Future
09:34
in Masdar, which is in the
09:35
United Emirates, Abu Dhabi.
09:37
And I had the pleasure to work
09:38
on the central plaza.
09:40
And the same idea to use there,
09:41
to create outdoor conditions
09:43
which are perceived
09:45
as comfortable. People enjoy
09:46
going there instead of going
09:47
into a shopping mall, which is
09:49
chilled down and which is
09:51
cooled. We wanted to create
09:52
an outdoor space
09:54
which is so comfortable that
09:56
people can go there in the
09:58
early afternoon, even in these
09:59
sunny and hot summer months,
10:02
and they can enjoy and meet there
10:04
with their families. (Applause)
10:05
And the same concept:
10:07
shade against the sun,
10:08
shade against the wind,
10:10
and use, use and take advantage
10:11
of the sun you can harvest
10:15
on your footprint.
10:17
And these beautiful umbrellas.
10:18
So I'd like to encourage you
10:20
to pay attention to your
10:25
thermal comfort, to your
10:27
thermal environment,
10:29
tonight and tomorrow,
10:30
and if you'd like to learn more
10:32
about that, I invite you
10:34
to go to our website.
10:35
We uploaded a very simple
10:37
perceived temperature calculator
10:39
where you can check out
10:41
about your outdoor comfort.
10:42
And I also hope that you
10:43
share the idea that
10:47
if engineers and designers
10:48
can use all these different
10:50
climatic parameters,
10:52
it will be possible to create
10:54
really good and comfortable
10:57
outdoor conditions,
11:00
to change our thermal perception
11:01
that we feel comfortable
11:04
in an outdoor environment,
11:06
and we can do that
11:08
with the best passive design,
11:10
but also using the energy source
11:12
of the site in Qatar which is
11:16
the sun.
11:19
(Applause)
11:19
Thank you very much. (Applause)
11:22
Shukran. (Applause)
11:23
Translated by Morton Bast
Reviewed by Thu-Huong Ha

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About the Speaker:

Wolfgang Kessling - Physicist
Wolfgang Kessling and his team at Transsolar designed the solar cooling and comfort concepts that helped Qatar win the bid for the 2022 football World Cup.

Why you should listen

Wolfgang Kessling is the Director of climate engineering company Transsolar, which aims to build structures that provide the highest possible comfort levels -- with the lowest possible impact on the environment. Kessling focuses on low energy/high comfort concepts for hot and humid climates. He has been a project manager for the Experimental Cloud in Frankfurt, Germany and the Gehry building for Novartis in Basel, Switzerland. In Asia he has worked on the innovative cooling concept of the Suvarnabhumi International Airport in Bangkok and the first Zero Energy Office in Malaysia. Kessling believes that the key to comfort is recognizing that environmental conditions are influenced by all aspects and stages of design.

More profile about the speaker
Wolfgang Kessling | Speaker | TED.com