There is a room on the south side of the building, which doesn't have any ventilation vents, but does have a window.

Opening a window doesn't cause good air circulation (by which I mean that the air in the room is still hot, and the air on the street is still cold).

How does one create good air circulation in a room --with a single window- without using a fan or air conditioner?

  • $\begingroup$ Apparently the question is about using the single window to create an air circulation inside the room. And I believe the question is asking for novel ideas and preferably "passive" systems that do not use electricity. is it? $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 29, 2015 at 16:42
  • $\begingroup$ That's different then when I answered. If there was a breeze outside, there would be two options. First would be a vane - which, if the breeze was consistent enough, might be able to direct the cool air in. A second would be to employ a paddle wheel in the middle of the frame to allow the breeze to push new air in - not very passive. Finally, if you want non-electric but non-passive, a Stirling Heat Engine might be able to power a fan if the heat difference was enough. None of these are very "passive" in the sense of keeping your neighbors happy though. $\endgroup$
    – Mark
    Commented Jun 29, 2015 at 17:18
  • $\begingroup$ @ Gürkan Çetin, you're right! $\endgroup$
    – PaulD
    Commented Jun 29, 2015 at 20:00

3 Answers 3


For simple ventilation, opening a single window may not mean a lot of circulation. Air has to come in and out of the same window, so it just leads to eddies and turbulence next to the window, with conduction doing most of the work.

Opening two windows allows a pathway for the air to flow in and out, and allows the air to mix in, which creates an open heat exchanger, fueled by the more effective convection.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I'd say, if you open two windows (preferably on two different sides of a building) the flow is pressure driven. The pressure difference between the two sides of the building will cause the air to flow in at the high pressure side and exit on the low pressure side. $\endgroup$
    – Knigge46
    Commented Jun 30, 2015 at 12:44
  • $\begingroup$ I wondered why this answer hadn't been down-voted for not answering the question, but I see that the "(with a single window)" was added to the Title shortly after this answer was submitted. $\endgroup$ Commented May 21, 2019 at 12:39

The fundamental problem is that hot air must leave the room and cold air must enter it, both at the same time through the same single opening. The conflicting forces will mostly cancel each other out, resulting in very little actual exchange of air.

What you really need is old technology.

Double hung windows are what our ancestors used. The bottom sash lifts, just as in most windows, but the top sash, rather than being fixed, can be lowered to create an opening at the top.

With both a high and a low opening in the window, hot air tends to be forced out the top as cooler air enters at the bottom.


Raise the ceiling level in one side of the room, likely away from the window, this would allow a heat biasing movement vertically which would induce a very small air flow.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.