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Integrating passive cooling into sustainable housing has been a must for most designers for a while now. And with the creation of the so-called Cool Bricks by the design firm Emerging Objects this feat just got a little simpler. Cool Bricks are 3D printed bricks that can be filled with water to bring the temperature in homes.

Cool Bricks work on the principle of evaporative cooling, which works on the basis of adding water vapor to air in order to lower the temperature in a room. The bricks feature a three dimensional ceramic lattice-like structure, which is capable of holding water in the pores just like a sponge does. The movement of air through the pores absorbs evaporated water vapor, turning cooler as it does so. The designers of the brick believe that if an entire house were built using these bricks, it would offer a great alternative to traditional air conditioning.

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Cool bricks are made so they can easily interlock to form a wall with the addition of mortar. The bricks are also shaped in a way that provides some shade, shielding the wall from the sun in order to improve the passive cooling performance of the bricks. The designers are still testing the prototype, but they are confident that these bricks would be effective in cooling large rooms, while they may even be suitable for agricultural uses.

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How well the passive cooling provided by these bricks works would depend on the wall’s size, the amount of water used and whether the airflow is passive or active. The bricks can be filled with water either manually or with the air of a pump.

Using these bricks seems like a pretty novel way of passively cooling a home. But it also seems like their adoption is only suitable in hot and humid areas, since the addition insulation to the bricks would likely block the pores on the Cool Bricks and render them pretty useless.