Submitted Successfully!
To reward your contribution, here is a gift for you: A free trial for our video production service.
Thank you for your contribution! You can also upload a video entry or images related to this topic.
Version Summary Created by Modification Content Size Created at Operation
1 + 4973 word(s) 4973 2021-05-27 05:02:26 |
2 natural ventilation; solar chimney; Trombe wall; renewable energy; passive ventilation; building application -15 word(s) 4958 2021-06-03 05:58:08 | |
3 Remove the content except Introduction and Description. -4052 word(s) 906 2022-04-13 11:03:17 |

Video Upload Options

Do you have a full video?


Are you sure to Delete?
If you have any further questions, please contact Encyclopedia Editorial Office.
Zhang, H.; Shi, L. Solar Chimney Applications in Buildings. Encyclopedia. Available online: (accessed on 15 June 2024).
Zhang H, Shi L. Solar Chimney Applications in Buildings. Encyclopedia. Available at: Accessed June 15, 2024.
Zhang, Haihua, Long Shi. "Solar Chimney Applications in Buildings" Encyclopedia, (accessed June 15, 2024).
Zhang, H., & Shi, L. (2021, May 27). Solar Chimney Applications in Buildings. In Encyclopedia.
Zhang, Haihua and Long Shi. "Solar Chimney Applications in Buildings." Encyclopedia. Web. 27 May, 2021.
Peer Reviewed
Solar Chimney Applications in Buildings

A solar chimney is a renewable energy system used to enhance the natural ventilation in a building based on solar and wind energy. It is one of the most representative solar-assisted passive ventilation systems attached to the building envelope. It performs exceptionally in enhancing natural ventilation and improving thermal comfort under certain climate conditions. The ventilation enhancement of solar chimneys has been widely studied numerically and experimentally. The assessment of solar chimney systems based on buoyancy ventilation relies heavily on the natural environment, experimental environment, and performance prediction methods, bringing great difficulties to quantitative analysis and parameterization research. With the increase in volume and complexity of modern building structures, current studies of solar chimneys have not yet obtained a unified design strategy and corresponding guidance. Meanwhile, combining a solar chimney with other passive ventilation systems has attracted much attention. The solar chimney-based integrated passive-assisted ventilation systems prolong the service life of an independent system and strengthen the ventilation ability for indoor cooling and heating. However, the progress is still slow regarding expanded applications and related research of solar chimneys in large volume and multi-layer buildings, and contradictory conclusions appear due to the inherent complexity of the system.

natural ventilation solar chimney Trombe wall renewable energy passive ventilation building application
Due to the potential benefits of passive ventilation systems in economic and energy conservation and resistance against noise and carbon dioxide emission [1][2][3], more research has focused on exploring and improving passive ventilation in the past 20 years. Passive ventilation strategies have been extensively studied over the years. According to local climate conditions and building characteristics, passive ventilation systems show different airflow characteristics and temperature distributions. Simultaneously, some passive ventilation systems also have heat dissipation and heat acquisition functions for space cooling and heating apart from providing adequate ventilation [3][4][5][6][7][8][9]. Most modern buildings rely entirely on mechanical ventilation, i.e., active ventilation systems, to satisfy indoor comfort. The majority of the energy supply is used for those active ventilation systems, occupying usable space due to its relatively large volume and structural complexity. Additionally, buildings with mechanical ventilation are often highly airtight to minimize energy consumption and heat loss, resulting in an inadequate fresh air supply [2].
Passive ventilation systems are increasingly being advocated as low-energy alternatives and low-cost solutions for energy conservation buildings. According to the pressure difference sources, typical modes of passive ventilation are referred to as wind-induced, buoyancy-driven, and hybrid ventilation [10][11]. Corresponding air movement is caused by wind pressure, temperature difference, or both of the above, and humidity difference [12]. It has been found that natural ventilation has the potential to provide adequate capacity for thermal regulation and satisfying indoor air quality in available climatic conditions without reliance on mechanical systems [10][13][14].
Passive ventilation systems rely on natural physical mechanisms, which make many uncertainties occur during operation. Wind-induced ventilation systems are solely dependent on prevailing wind speed and incident angle. The stochastics of wind direction and wind intensity bring significant challenges to system performance evaluation and design [15]. Buoyancy-driven ventilation builds upon the air intensity difference caused by the internal and external temperature difference, ventilating the space even in windless conditions. However, under extremely hot and humid climatic conditions (the temperature difference is insignificant), the system is probably not working properly. Not every passive ventilation system has the dual function of heating and cooling space driven by natural forces. The natural ventilation system can remove the stale warm airflow indoors by accelerating the air movement to provide a space cooling effect. Achieving heating usually requires collecting and storing heat gain and releasing heat when needed to increase the indoor temperature. As the most representative buoyancy ventilation system, the solar chimney has attracted researchers’ attention because of its simultaneous ventilation, heating, and cooling functions.
A typical solar chimney is presented in Figure 1. It consists of an absorption wall, a glazing wall, tuyeres/vents, and heat-insulating materials. Airflow is affected by the air density difference between the internal and external environment and the external wind [16][17][18][19]. Stale air escapes from the purpose-built openings by the thermo-siphoning effect. The solar chimney components can employ direct or indirect solar energy to drive the airflow in the space. Quesada et al. [20][21] comprehensively reviewed the research on transparent and translucent solar facades in the past ten years based on theory and experiment and explored its development and applicability. The solar façade absorbs and reflects incident solar radiation and converts direct or indirect solar energy into usable heat. Jiménez-Xamán et al. [22] verified that a roof-top solar chimney applied to a single room for cooling purposes could increase the ventilation rate by 1.16–45.0%. The numerical code was generated to solve the conjugate turbulent heat transfer in a single room equipped with a solar chimney based on the coupling of CFD and global energy balances.
Solar chimneys stand out among many natural ventilation systems not only because of the convenience of their structural features when they are integrated into buildings or in conjunction with other ventilation systems but also because the solar chimney has heating and cooling modes through the cooperation of damping and openings, which makes the structure more sustainable. Figure 2 presents two modes that a solar chimney can achieve in the cooling season and heating season. In order to improve thermal comfort and enhance the applicability of natural ventilation, Monghasemi et al. [6] summarized the existing combined passive ventilation system based on solar chimneys and investigated the thermal regulation of the selected systems and their ability to improve ventilation efficiency.


  1. Khanal, R.; Lei, C. Solar chimney—A passive strategy for natural ventilation. Energy Build. 2011, 43, 1811–1819.
  2. Geetha, N.; Velraj, R. Passive cooling methods for energy efficient buildings with and without thermal energy storage—A review. Energy Educ. Sci. Technol. Part A 2012, 29, 913–946.
  3. Santamouris, M.; Kolokotsa, D. Passive cooling dissipation techniques for buildings and other structures: The state of the art. Energy Build. 2013, 57, 74–94.
  4. Ascione, F. Energy conservation and renewable technologies for buildings to face the impact of the climate change and minimize the use of cooling. Sol. Energy 2017, 154, 34–100.
  5. Bhamare, D.K.; Rathod, M.K.; Banerjee, J. Passive cooling techniques for building and their applicability in different climatic zones-The state of art. Energy Build. 2019, 198, 467–490.
  6. Monghasemi, N.; Vadiee, A. A review of solar chimney integrated systems for space heating and cooling application. Renew. Sustain. Energy Rev. 2018, 81, 2714–2730.
  7. Sameti, M.; Kasaeian, A. Numerical simulation of combined solar passive heating and radiative cooling for a building. Build. Simul. 2015, 8, 239–253.
  8. Zhai, X.Q.; Wang, R.Z.; Dai, Y.J. Solar chimney combined with underground vent for natural ventilation in energy saving of buildings. In Proceedings of the 3rd International Symposium on Heat Transfer Enhancement and Energy Conservation, Guangzhou, China, 16 January 2004; pp. 1117–1123.
  9. Hughes, B.R.; Chaudhry, H.N.; Ghani, S.A. A review of sustainable cooling technologies in buildings. Renew. Sustain. Energy Rev. 2011, 15, 3112–3120.
  10. Chartier, Y.; Pessoa-Silva, C. Natural Ventilation for Infection Control in Health-Care Settings; World Health Organization: Geneva, Switzerland, 2009.
  11. Awbi, H. Basic concepts for natural ventilation of buildings. In Proceedings of the CIBSE BSG Seminar: Natural and Mixed-Mode Ventilation Modelling, London, UK, 24 May 2010.
  12. Etheridge, D.W.; Sandberg, M. Building Ventilation: Theory and Measurement; John Wiley & Sons: Chichester, UK, 1996; Volume 50.
  13. Ahmed, T.; Kumar, P.; Mottet, L. Natural ventilation in warm climates: The challenges of thermal comfort, heatwave resilience and indoor air quality. Renew. Sustain. Energy Rev. 2021, 138, 110669.
  14. Cheng, X.; Shi, Z.; Nguyen, K.; Zhang, L.; Zhou, Y.; Zhang, G.; Wang, J.; Shi, L. Solar chimney in tunnel considering energy-saving and fire safety. Energy 2020, 210, 118601.
  15. Horan, J.M.; Finn, D.P. Sensitivity of air change rates in a naturally ventilated atrium space subject to variations in external wind speed and direction. Energy Build. 2008, 40, 1577–1585.
  16. Arce, J.; Jimenez, M.J.; Guzman, J.D.; Heras, M.R.; Alvarez, G.; Xaman, J. Experimental study for natural ventilation on a solar chimney. Renew. Energy 2009, 34, 2928–2934.
  17. Lee, K.H.; Strand, R.K. Enhancement of natural ventilation in buildings using a thermal chimney. Energy Build. 2009, 41, 615–621.
  18. Zhai, X.Q.; Song, Z.P.; Wang, R.Z. A review for the applications of solar chimneys in buildings. Renew. Sustain. Energy Rev. 2011, 15, 3757–3767.
  19. Shi, L.; Zhang, G.M.; Cheng, X.D.; Guo, Y.; Wang, J.H.; Chew, M.Y.L. Developing an empirical model for roof solar chimney based on experimental data from various test rig. Build. Environ. 2016, 110, 115–128.
  20. Quesada, G.; Rousse, D.; Dutil, Y.; Badache, M.; Halle, S. A comprehensive review of solar facades. Opaque solar facades. Renew. Sustain. Energy Rev. 2012, 16, 2820–2832.
  21. Quesada, G.; Rousse, D.; Dutil, Y.; Badache, M.; Hallé, S. A comprehensive review of solar facades. Transparent and translucent solar facades. Renew. Sustain. Energy Rev. 2012, 16, 2643–2651.
  22. Jiménez-Xamán, C.; Xamán, J.; Gijón-Rivera, M.; Zavala-Guillén, I.; Noh-Pat, F.; Simá, E. Assessing the thermal performance of a rooftop solar chimney attached to a single room. J. Build. Eng. 2020, 31, 101380.
Contributors MDPI registered users' name will be linked to their SciProfiles pages. To register with us, please refer to : ,
View Times: 3.2K
Online Date: 27 May 2021
Video Production Service