The Index Project
Index Award 2019 Finalists
CoolAnt Beehive
Pottery stacks that cool us down without heating the earth

As the globe gets warmer, people are in dire need for some cold, fresh air. Unfortunately, the need for cold air in warm climates is making the world even hotter. Air conditioners have a heavy electricity consumption, high carbon footprint and contribute to an annual rise of 0.9°C to the planet’s average surface temperature.

A normal air conditioner uses 9 kilowatts per hour to reach the thermal comfort of 27°C inside on a 38°C summer day. Now, a new type of air cooler does the same but with only 3.06 kilowatts per hour and with 65% less CO2 emissions. Sounds like a really good deal for the environment and us, right? 

New Delhi-based company Ant Studio has developed the CoolAnt Beehive, which is an outdoor and semi-outdoor cooling solution. Based on the idea of earthen pots cooling water through evaporation, the Beehive uses the same principle in reverse. It works by soaking hundreds of stacked earthen pots in water and letting the air pass through.

Made of terracotta provided by local potters, the CoolAnt Beehive also generates employment in this line of craft. By making sure that their potters’ stories reach clients, they generate inquiries for the pottery community and engage people in the craft’s art and evolution.

The beehives can be installed in public plazas, markets, government buildings, schools, shopping centres, hospitals and more. And, in winter, it can serve a double function as an air purifier with auxiliary ferns and moss plants. 

What’s more, the designers behind the Beehive are looking to transform the design into a solution for low-income households, who often suffer during high temperatures. That’s why they’re working on a simpler, less expensive version.

Right now, their Beehive has a diverse range of customers including heritage projects, outdoor soccer fields, greenhouses, tea processing fermentation plants and data centres.

Designers: Monish Siripurapu | Ant Studio - India
UN SDGs: Affordable and clean energy & Industry, innovation and infrastructure

CoolAnt Beehive from The Index Project on Vimeo. Music: Lee Rosevere