Coolest Passive Cooling Tower You'll Ever See

November 25, 2013

Walk into the lobby of the Neot Semadar Art Center on the Neot Semadar Kibbutz in the Arava region of Israel, and you’ll feel like you’ve just walked into an air-conditioned oasis in the middle of a scorching desert. Which you have…except for the A/C part.

The Neot Semadar Inn, in the central Arava desert of Israel

As part of  Kinetis-organized tour of Israel’s key sustainability sites, we were treated to an afternoon of wine tasting, organic farm touring, and architectural touring of the Kibbutz that is home to several dozen families who have committed to an eco-friendly lifestyle of living off the land, creating organic agricultural products, and creating big-time sustainability innovations in a challenging landscape.

Being Israel’s only organic winery, Neot Semadar hosts a popular tasting room for visitors to experience fine wines from the region. Maybe it was the incredibly rich wine, maybe it was the desert sun, or maybe it was the dizzying view from the high reaches of the cooling tower, but I began to realize that we’re only limited by our imaginations when it comes to creating a sustainable future for our children. Given the incredible heat (the desert reaches well above 100 degrees Fahrenheit during the day more often than not), the cooling tower was an architectural masterpiece that the Kibbutz then replicated on each of the houses on the Kibbutz itself.

The only energy used in the whole cooling process is the pump that sends minor amounts of water to the top of the tower’s internal machinery, where it trickles down, evaporating and cooling the air as it goes.

The Neot Semadar Kibbutz, with organic agriculture and the Inn’s passive cooling tower behind
Scott Cooney in Israel at Neot Semedar Kibbutz

That’s me, wishing I’d brought my shades, in front of the Neot Semedar Inn’s immense passive cooling tower.

Neot Semedar Kibbutz takes long term volunteers from around the world, teaching them green building techniques and sustainable agriculture practices. For more information, please visit their website.

Photos taken during our tour



Scott Cooney

Scott Cooney is an adjunct professor of Sustainability in the MBA program at the University of Hawai'i, green business startup coach, author of Build a Green Small Business: Profitable Ways to Become an Ecopreneur (McGraw-Hill), and developer of the sustainability board game GBO Hawai'i. Scott has started, grown and sold two mission-driven businesses, failed miserably at a third, and is currently in his fourth. Scott's current company has three divisions: a sustainability blog network that includes the world's biggest clean energy website and reached over 5 million readers in December 2013 alone; Pono Home that won entrance into the clean tech incubator known as Energy Excelerator. In his spare time, Scott surfs, plays ultimate frisbee and enjoys a good, long bike ride.