Site Strategies Overview

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Site Solar Access Diagram (Image: UW/IDL)
Site View and Solar Access Corridor Assessment Diagram (Image: UW/IDL)

For the purposes of daylighting the building site refers to the geographic location, orientation, climate, prevailing sky conditions, landscape, and other specific constraints including the zoning envelope of a building. The geographic location is often characterized by a latitude and longitude which marks its location on the surface of the earth and can be used to extrapolate the sun path across the year via azimuth and altitude angle throughout the year.

Each building site is characterized by climate data which included temperature and sky conditions among other factors. Climate data is available for many locations world-wide through a variety of sources. Solar exposure and sky conditions at a particular site combine with landscape to produce specific patterns of illumination. Landscape can include site topography, vegetation, surrounding structures, and surfaces. Additionally, the site can be constrained by planning or zoning requirements which can limit the buildable area of a site in both the horizontal and vertical direction via height limits, setbacks, and other zoning restrictions.

Site characteristics also include views. The influence of view corridors can have a substantial impact on the site and building design.

In the provision of daylight to building interiors, the assessment of site conditions and the synthesis of site characteristics with building form, patterns of use, and design criteria becomes a crucial aspect of the early design process.

Section Key Resources
  • Brown, G. Z., Dekay, Mark (2000). Sun, Wind & Light: Architectural Design Strategies. Wiley; 2nd Ed.
  • Robbins, Claude L. (1986). Daylighting Design and Analysis. Van Nostrand Reinhold Company, Inc.
  • Carmody, J., Selkowitz, S.E., Lee, E.S., Arasteh, D., Willmert, T. (2004). Window Systems for High-Performance Buildings. New York: Norton & Company.

Lead Author(s): Chris Meek

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