As scientists we tend to view technology as a scientific system but in fact the success of a particular technology at a particular time may rest less on its efficient performance and more on its 'social' relevance and impact. We now need to identify sustainable design investments for a very uncertain future of expanding populations, scarcer resources and climate change. Buildings in the Iranian desert regions are constructed according to the specific climatic conditions and differ with those built in other climates. Desert buildings are equipped with air traps, arched roofed, water reservoirs with arched domes and ice stores for the preservation of ice. The operation of modern coolers is similar to the old Iranian air traps which were built at the entrance of the house over underground water reservoirs or ponds built inside the house. Lofty walls, narrow and dry streets, highly elevated air traps, big water reservoirs and arched roofed chambers, are the outstanding features of desert towns in Iran. The ever shining scorching sun of the desert has rendered life very difficult for its hardy and warm-blooded inhabitants and has compelled them to resort to facilities that can moderate the unbearable heat. In the following paper, subjects relating to the building materials of desert towns and the method of operation of the traditional cooling systems in the cities with warm and arid climates are described. Herein the great wind catchers of Iran are a zero carbon cooling technology, but because the high towers of the region grew too large during a period of economic boom and soaring social hubris these structures may survive less well than if they had been more modest in their design.