Can we move on from energy-intensive and unhealthy air-conditioning systems before it’s too late?

If our global climate continues to warm, we’re going to use ever increasing amounts of energy on cooling our buildings. If we rely on energy intensive we will only further exacerbate this growing problem.*

*Some estimates suggest that by 2050 as much as 50% of the world’s electricity supply may be used for powering air-conditioning if we do not change course.

Not only are hot arid climate zones expanding around the world, but much of the world’s projected population growth is likely to occur in cities and urban locations within these regions. Urban expansion and population growth in arid zones and the increasing aridity of existing cities will leave increasing numbers of people to deal with the problems of extreme heat in the future.

Evapanel draws inspiration from historic vernacular window technologies used in places like Muscat, Oman, where a porous ceramic pot full of water is suspended in front of a window used for cross ventilation. 

Evapanel is a new flexible new facade technology developed by Heat Island to address this increasingly dramatic issue, acting as a new infrastructure for cooling buildings in hot arid climates with integrated evaporative cooling.

A system of moveable 3D printed porous ceramic panels enable the facade-wrapper to ‘close down’ during the heat of the day, and to open up fully for night time radiant cooling.

Existing technological solutions, dependant on air conditioning, create significant problems of their own, leaving future arid cities increasingly unsustainable, polluting, and vulnerable to interruptions in energy supply.
Rising peak temperatures during summer threaten the comfort and survivability of hot, arid cities all over the world.

“There are some 1.6 billion A.C. units worldwide, accounting for around 10 percent of the world’s electricity consumption. Over the course of the next 30 years, this number will triple globally, to 5.6 billion. That’s 10 new ACs sold every second for the next 30 years”


Evaporation of water within the outer surface of the slab passively cools the ambient hot air flowing over it as the water vaporises through the phenomenon of the latent heat effect.

A simple, low tech, porous ceramic panel is designed to incorporate a fine web of capillary channels maximising the surface area being saturated without waste. 

With peak shade temperatures of over 40 degrees becoming more common, the risk of death from heat exhaustion among vulnerable populations increasingly necessitates the use of artificial cooling of internal spaces, placing additional stress on already-stretched infrastructures of energy generation and distribution. 

  • High thermal mass
  • Semi-porous inner face
  • Can locally produced for low cost
  • Highly efficient
  • Highly customisable
  • Uses recycled water and rainwater
  • Highly configurable, adaptable and connected to local vernacular styles   
  • Either made from open source 3D print files or easily shared, cheap to produce moulds.

An often overlooked aspect of the industrial production of electricity from oil, gas and especially coal is their reliance on use massive quantities of water to generate power. While changing such a course seems like a daunting prospect, it also represents an incredible opportunity to invest in net-positive solutions, both in terms of energy and water use.

Acoustic Baffling

The porosity of the ceramic material makes them acoustically absorbent and their geometry means they provide sound attenuation from the city life beyond. The Evapanel system can scale for schools and other civic or commercial buildings.

Suitable for Buildings of All Scales

For individual dwellings, for a very low cost installation the panel can be filled manually into a water reservoir within the unit.  Simple sliding shutters and bifold configurations of the panel can be fitted to existing openings without significant disruption.