Low-Tech Air Conditioning Takes the Sting Out of the Indian Sun


  • a low-cost, low-tech, easy-to-implement air conditioning system for super-hot cities


  • easy to implement, proven technology, super-cheap
  • great solution for large cities where concrete and brick trap inner-city heat


  • the company is currently conducting proof-of-concept tests to see if the basic idea can be used indoors.

Ever been to India? Take it from us: it gets hot. Really hot. As in, back-of-the-shirt-drenched, skivvies-clinging-to-your-nether-regions type hot.

Particularly in large urban centres, where concrete and brick can hold in the summer sun and turn your office or apartment building into a giant clay oven.

Here’s a super-simple, super-low-tech solution to the problem: a “honeycomb” of cone-shaped terracotta pipe—kinda like the drain tile they used around the perimeter of your house, before everyone started replacing it with PVC.

Water drips down from the top of the honeycomb and soaks into the pipe. As hot air passes through the front side, the water-soaked pipe cools it down, and cooler air flows out the back. A pump at the bottom brings the water up to the top of the honeycomb and the cycle begins again. Sort of like the radiator your car uses.

Around here, we call this a “duh” project. As in “Duh—why didn’t someone think of this before?” Think about it: it’s easy to put together, using natural materials that don’t require any energy or rare-earths to make. It looks nice (kinda like an urban art installation), and the whole waterfall thing creates a calming antidote to the noise of inner city India.

Woo-hoo! Everyone in Delhi or Mumbai can throw their air conditioners into the street! Wait just a minute, sunshine. As you can see from the photos, this is a rather large-scale installation, better suited to large, outdoor applications (in a building entrance; in an inter-office courtyard; in front of a diesel generator, etc.) than individual flats or houses. But yeah, it helps. It’ll help cool the ambient temperature of a place. And that will make a difference by reducing the strain on building-wide air conditioning.

But hey—that doesn’t matter to us. Here at FuturePlanet, we’re all about small, incremental changes. Taken together, the little things can add up to a big difference.

So, whoever came up with this one, give yourself a big pat on the back. You’re making life more bearable in the summer. And, you’re moving the needle on this whole make-the-future better thing. Kudos.



Learn more about the project here.