Evaluating the effectiveness of outdoor evaporative cooling in a hot, arid climate

Jay Dhariwal, Prajowal Manandhar, Lindita Bande, Prashanth Marpu, Peter Armstrong, Christoph F. Reinhart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


In a previous paper, we presented a novel approach to validate the capability of the biometeorological index, Universal Thermal Climate Index (UTCI), to predict the likelihood of urban dwellers to be outside in a public space for the heating dominated climate of Cambridge, MA. Occupancy patterns were recorded based on Wi-Fi data. The present study extends this approach to the hot and arid climate of United Arab Emirates (UAE) to evaluate the effect of outdoor evaporative coolers on resident presence in a public courtyard. Over a period of ten months, outdoor Wi-Fi access point data was collected in the public courtyard located on a university campus in Abu Dhabi. An analysis of the resulting MacID probes yields a population of 1200 regulars and 3800 visitors present in the courtyard at some point during the study period. Coincident UTCI simulations using ENVI-met strongly correlated with the number of regulars present during lunchtime both during times when the evaporative coolers were on (R 2 = 75%) and off (R 2 = 61%). Lunchtime attendance peaked for UTCI values in the thermal comfort range of around 24 °C during all seasons. The outdoor evaporative coolers were able to bring the UTCI down from very strong heat stress to between thermal comfort and moderate heat stress range. These findings confirm that UTCI can be used as a reliable environmental performance metric to support the design and preservation of comfortable outdoor spaces both in a hot and a cold climate, across a variety of cultural settings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)281-288
Number of pages8
JournalBuilding and Environment
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2019


  • Biometeorological indices
  • Evaporative cooling
  • Outdoor thermal comfort
  • Universal thermal climate index (UTCI)
  • Wi-Fi data

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Building and Construction


Dive into the research topics of 'Evaluating the effectiveness of outdoor evaporative cooling in a hot, arid climate'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this