Energy Saving through Connection of Sunken Garden with Nature and Passive Cooling in Traditional Buildings of Hot and Dry Climate of Iran

Document Type : Technical Note


Department of Architecture, Faculty of Engineering, Shahid Chamran University of Ahvaz, Ahvaz, Iran


Sunken garden is one of the elements of traditional Iranian architecture, formed with the attitude of conservation of environment and organizing a meaningful relationship with its surroundings. Many studies have been conducted to identify this element of traditional architecture and its functions, endorsing its valuable and considerable properties in respect for nature, harmony with the aims of sustainable development and energy conservation. One of the most important functions of this elements is providing cooling needs for residents in the hot summer months of desert areas of Iran without the need of fossil fuels consuming. The current article, as a descriptive-analytic study, aimed at a more comprehensive knowledge of passive cooling in sunken garden. To reach this goal, passive cooling and its types and sunken garden were first introduced. Then, their relationship with natural elements and the role of each element in achieving passive cooling in sunken garden were evaluated. The results revealed that sunken garden has been linked with natural elements in a way which cools this underground space of traditional buildings of hot and dry climate of Iran through heat prevention, heat modulation and heat dissipation.


1. Vaezizadeh, F., Rashidisharifabad, S. and Afhami, R., 2016. Investigating the Cooling Effect of Living Walls in the Sunken Courtyards of Traditional Houses in Yazd. European Journal of Sustainable Development, 5(2), pp.27-27.
2. Vakilinezhad, R., Mehdizadeh Seradj, F. and MofidiShemirani, S.M., 2013. Principles of Passive Cooling Systems in Vernacular Architectural Elements of Iran. Journal of Iranian Association of Architecture & Urbanism, 4(5), pp.147-159.
3. Geetha, N.B. and Velraj, R., 2012. Passive cooling methods for energy efficient buildings with and without thermal energy storage–A review. Energy Education Science and Technology Part A: Energy Science and Research, 29(2), pp.913-946.
4. Panchabikesan, K., Vellaisamy, K. and Ramalingam, V., 2017. Passive cooling potential in buildings under various climatic conditions in India. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 78, pp.1236-1252.
5. Prieto, A., Knaack, U., Klein, T. and Auer, T., 2017. 25 Years of cooling research in office buildings: Review for the integration of cooling strategies into the building façade (1990–2014). Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 71, pp.89-102.
6. Moore, F. and McGraw-Hill architecture and urban planninig series, 1993. Environmental control systems: Heating, cooling, lighting. New York: McGraw-Hill.
7. Shafiei-Ardestani, L. and Mofidi-Shemirani, S.M., 2009. Geographical factors and static cooling in residential complex. Scientific-Research Quarterly of Geographical Data (SEPEHR), 18(71), PP.38-46. [In Persian]
8. Ahadi A.A. and Alirezaei Vernosfaderani, B., 2015. Evaluating appropriate roof shape and efficiency of wind tower and wind scoop for natural ventilation in residential buildings of Chabahar. Journal of Housing and Rural Environment, 33(148), pp.33-44.
9. Solgi, E., Kari, B.M., Fayaz, R. and Taheri, H., 2017. The impact of phase change materials assisted night purge ventilation on the indoor thermal conditions of office buildings in hot-arid climates. Energy and Buildings, 150, pp.488-497.
10. Mohammad Alinezhad, F., 2019. Passive Cooling in Shavadoon of Traditional Buildings of Dezful City: Cooling Through Renewable Energy Sources. Iranian (Iranica) Journal of Energy & Environment, 10(2), pp.115-120”
11. Pourahmadi, M., 2013. The Examination of Sustainable Patterns in the Architecture of Mehriz Traditional Houses. Journal of Architecture in Hot and Dry Climate, 3(3), pp.55-64. [In Persian]
12. Nasiri, S., 2018. A Study on the Role of Sunken Courtyard in Sustainable Architecture of Iranian Desert Cities (Case Study: Olumi House in Yazd). In: Kerpic’18 – Back to Earthen Architecture: Industrialized, Injected, Rammed, Stabilized 6th International Conference Hasan Kalyoncu University, Turkey, pp.229-238.
13. Ahmadi, Z., 2012. Recognize the missing role of central courtyard to achieve sustainable architecture. Journal of Architecture in Hot and Dry Climate. 2(2), pp. 25-40. [In Persian]
14. Zarei, E.M., Ashkezari, S.F.M. and Yari, M., 2017. The investigation of the function of the central courtyard in moderating the harsh environmental conditions of a hot and dry climate (Case study: City of Yazd, Iran). Spatium, 38, pp.1-9.
15. Soltanzadeh, H., 2011. The role of geography in forming different types of courtyards in the traditional houses of Iran. Geographical Research Quarterly, 42, pp.69-86.
16. Ahmadi, F., 2006. Central courtyard city-house: sustainable city-house, Spiritual city-house. Soffeh Journal. 15(41), pp. 90-113.
17. Tafti, F.A., Rezaeian, M. and Razavi, S.E., 2018. Sunken courtyards as educational environments: Occupant’s perception and environmental satisfaction. Tunnelling and Underground Space Technology, 78, pp.124-134.
18. Beigli, F. and Lenci, R., 2016. Underground and semi underground passive cooling strategies in hot climate of Iran. Journal of Environmental Science. 5(3), pp.1-12.