Site Conditions

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Introduction

With respect to daylighting and solar access, site conditions refer to refers to the specifics of a building site including:, climate, prevailing sky conditions, landscape, and other specific constraints including the zoning envelope of a building. Key site conditions that influence daylight are solar exposure and sky conditions, and landscape which includes site topography, vegetation, surrounding structures, and surfaces.

These site conditions are detailed in the entries below.

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Lead Author(s): Chris Meek

The Building Site and Obstructions

Overshadowing and sunpath diagrams for New York Times building, New York, NY. Images: Loisos + Ubbelohde; www.coolshadow.com

Building site and obstructions play a critical role in the character of daylight illumination present at a given location. Obstructions on and around a building site can change both the character and intensity of daylight illumination at any given point within the site area. Common site obstructions include topography, vegetation, and structures. Some of these generally remain fixed throughout the year (such as structure and topography). However some obstructions are dynamic and must be considered on a seasonal basis. Two examples of this include the change in ground reflectance during periods of snow cover, or the change in canopy density when a deciduous tree loses its leaves for the winter.

Site obstructions can fundamentally change the patterns of sunlight and diffuse daylight by blocking solar exposure at a given time or by occluding diffuse daylight from a portion of the sky.

A sun path diagram can be used to calculate the duration of overshadowing from a site obstruction at any given point on a building site vegetation is subject to influences of the sky and to localized. This can be used to design daylight apertures in response to patterns of diffuse daylight and direct beam sunlight relative to site obstructions. This is especially crucial when designing buildings in dense urban areas or where substantial vegetation is present.

Section Key Resources
  • No publications specific to this section have been listed.
Links
  • No links specific to this section have been listed.

Lead Author(s): Chris Meek

Page Key Resources
  • Brown, G. Z., Dekay, Mark (2000). Sun, Wind & Light: Architec daylight through windows. Troy (NY): Lighting Research Center.
  • Carmody, J., Selkowitz, S.E., Lee, E.S., Arasteh, D., Willmert, T. (2004). Window Systems for High-Performance Buildings. New York: Norton & Company.
  • Robbins, Claude L. (1986). Daylighting Design and Analysis. Van Nostrand Reinhold Company, Inc.
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