Building sector accounts for more than 60% of total energy consumption in the world while the share of domestic buildings is about 20-40%. The energy consumed is mostly utilised for heating, cooling and ventilation purposes. The energy efficiency of buildings is of prime concern for an occupant who wants to make energy saving especially in HVAC sector. In this instance, it is essential to focus on energy efficient technologies and solutions not only in new buildings but also in existing buildings. One of the energy efficient technologies is evaporative cooling system which is very suitable especially for hot and dry climatic conditions. In this paper, a thorough review of evaporative cooling technologies and their building applications is presented. Evaporative cooling is a novel technology that supplies cool air to the occupants as well as providing a promising way to reduce carbon emissions and energy consumption. Evaporative cooling is a concept that is defined as making air cool via increasing its water vapour content. In other words, air becomes cooler while its humidity level increases. The results show that the evaporative cooling systems have a great potential to save energy in hot and arid climatic zones. It also seems that this novel solution is a very cost effective way compared to the alternative air-conditioning applications. (C) 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.