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Tsing Hua University

Educational - University Building
Hsinchu, Taiwan

Credit: Bio-architecture Formosana

This project has been undertaken during employment at Bio-architecture Formosana (2011).


Solar Chimney Performance Optimization

The aim of this study was to evaluate techniques that would provide cooling by natural ventilation. Strategies were assessed and chosen to incorporate a reversible system: a solar/thermal chimney to provide the building with ventilation, cooling and heating when needed. We used CFD simulations to develop the chimney's concept, adjust its design features and prove its effectiveness and performance.

Client: Tsing Hua University

Architect: Bio-architecture Formosana

Gross Floor Area: 19,885 m² on 9 floors


  • Conceptual studies and technical specifications

  • Green design strategy development based on weather data and thermodynamic models

  • Solar chimney's feasibility and efficiency analysis

  • Computational Fluid Dynamics modeling and analysis for natural ventilation potential

  • Design Validation

Context Analysis​

Prior analysis was undertaken to understand how airflow is impacted by the architectural design. This analysis defined our benchmark for natural ventilation potential and helped us develop passive design techniques to enhance wind induced ventilation.

Summer Scenario

Winter Scenario

Concept Development

Thermal chimneys also called solar chimneys are built to ventilate the hot and stale air out of a space by providing new fresh air from lower vents. The hot air exists from higher vents, usually located at the top of the chimney.

In summer, hot air is extracted from the top chimney vents, keeping the indoor spaces cool and ventilated.

In winter, the top chimney vents can be closed to trap hot air which will then be distributed in the indoor spaces of the building to comply with the heating needs.

Solar Chimney Concept; summer and winter scenario

Design Validation

CFD modeling and simulations were used to predict and evaluate airflow patterns. Several simulations were conducted during the summer and winter scenario, to optimize the design's effectiveness for natural ventilation implementation. These simulations included inlet size and location, window dimension  and location, wind catchers an specific solar chimney design options such as chimney  location, height, inclination, vents and materials.

CFD Simulation results: air velocity profie through operable windows

CFD Simulation results: air velocity profie through thermal chimney

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