Natural Ventilation in Historic Buildings: The Kalteyer House in San Antonio, Texas

Jun 14, 2017

Much can be learned from the study of historical buildings where sensitive design approaches were implemented with respect to natural ventilation strategies. An excellent example of a passive stack effect design employing skylights to take advantage of convective air flow is found in the Kalteyer House located in San Antonio, Texas. Here, the difference in temperature and pressure between two different zones of the house, enhanced by the presence of the skylight, creates naturally occurring convection air flows without the aid of mechanical systems. Natural ventilation can be an incredible resource for implementing passive cooling of buildings.

This paper aims to investigate how to maximize the potential offered by these passive design strategies by developing an understanding of how they have been historically implemented, specifically in the Kalteyer House, and then exploring their potential as a valid alternative for achieving thermal comfort in newly-designed residential buildings. The effectiveness of this passive-cooling strategy is determined through an in-depth case study analysis and critical understanding of the passive system designed by James Riely Gordon, evaluated through CFD software simulations to determine how to maximize the potential of stack ventilation, which is currently underutilized due to the advent of mechanical-cooling systems.

The goal of the analysis is to achieve the best performance in terms of thermal comfort with the minimum amount of energy consumption, thus reducing the resulting environmental impact.

keywords: Kalteyer House, historic buildings, natural ventilation, hot-humid climate, software simulation

Eleonora Laurini (Universita' degli Studi dell'Aquila, Italy)
Angela Lombardi (University of Texas at San Antonio)
Hazem Rashed-Ali (University of Texas at San Antonio)
Pierluigi De Berardinis (Universita' degli Studi dell'Aquila, Italy)
Simonetta Cirrana (Universita' degli Studi dell'Aquila, Italy)
John Murphy (University of Texas at San Antonio)
Michael Carroll (University of Texas at San Antonio)
Presented at: 
ARCC 2017 Conference – Architecture of Complexity (Salt Lake City, UT)
Published & professionally reviewed by: 
Architectural Research Centers Consortium (ARCC)
University of Utah

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