The objective of this article is to show the potential of natural ventilation as a passive cooling method within the residential sector of countries which are located in warm conditions using Mexico as a case study. The method is proposed as performing, with a simplified ventilation model, thermal–airflow simulations of 27 common cases of dwellings (considered as one thermal zone) based on the combination of specific features of the building design, occupancy and climate conditions. The energy saving potential is assessed then by the use of a new assessment method suitable for large-scale scenarios using the actual number of air-conditioned dwellings distributed among the 27 cases. Thereby, the energy saving is presented as the difference in the cooling demand of the dwelling during one year without and with natural ventilation, respectively. Results indicate that for hot-dry conditions, buildings with high heat capacity combined with natural ventilation achieve the lowest indoor temperature, whereas under hot-humid conditions, night ventilation combined with low heat capacity buildings present the best results. Thereafter, an average aggregated saving potential of 4.2 TW h for 2008 is estimated, corresponding to 54.4% of the Mexican electric cooling demand for the same year. The practical implications of the study are that the results contribute to an assessment of the economic and environmental benefits for using natural ventilation rather than an active method such as air conditioning. Thereby, the average economic saving is estimated at US$ 900 M and the environmental benefit at an annual average mitigation of 2 Mt CO2eq, both for 2008.
Applied Energy, 2014, Vol 130, Issue October
Natural ventilation; Warm climate; Energy saving potential; Feasibility of use; Building heat capacity