Project Files: Green Buildings

COMPANY: Ruskin, Kansas City, Mo.

INSTALLATION: Passive Cooling System


CUSTOMER: Stanford University, Stanford, Calif.

OBJECTIVE: Taking advantage of nature’s basic laws and passive air management, Stanford University is lowering its carbon footprint.

DESCRIPTION: In order to meet Stanford’s interest in creating a modern building, yet retain the classic form of the other structures on campus, Ruskin provided combination louvers faced with Reliable atrium grills. Combination louvers combine the aesthetic appearance of stationary louvers with positive airflow shutoff capabilities. Known as the “lungs of the building,” each of the four atriums rises up 89 feet - 24 feet and 6 inches above the roof. At night, when the outside air drops to around 60°F, the louvers open. At the same time, a computer analyzes the indoor air temperature and determines which windows within the building to open. Then, the louvers above each atrium pull the warm air up and discharge it from the building. This passive cooling system is expected to provide a 50 percent reduction in resource usage.

“Through a creative use of stacked louvers in the atriums, we’re able to provide a system that automatically delivers cool air throughout the day while minimizing energy consumption.”
- Tom Edwards, Ruskin president

Publication date: 10/13/2008

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