Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Environmental Design

By Chase Master

                  For this 10th blog I wanted to talk about the process I am with my thesis.  Right now I’m in the initial design stage and am trying to just work with massing shapes that work according to the sun, wind, surroundings in relationship to the site.  First I started with researching the site, its history, climate, and surrounding buildings.  This led me to discover that the site has a high potential for sun and wind affecting the building.  Designing a building with just wind and sun in mind gives a vast amount of opportunities and studying to figure out how to harness the sun for heat during the winter, natural lighting all year round without adding heat in the summer, and to create energy.  With a building you can try to increase or decrease the wind velocity and direction to either create energy, cooling during the summer, keep wind away during the winter, or control where snow falls.  There is many other variables that also go into consideration for design like views, code, occupancy, efficiency, climate, site, ect.; however I am putting a higher focus on wind and sun for a more energy efficient building.
                  There are a few techniques to trying to understand the way wind effects buildings.  One way is understanding the wind rose or charts.  This alone will tell you the direction and intensity of the wind on average over the year or month.  Knowing this you can understand what direction the cold winter winds or the nice summer breeze come from and how to design to these conditions.  There are also programs that tell you this information as well as does some analysis of how the wind affects the building.  One program in particular is Vasari, this will show you the wind chart for the year, month, day, hours of the day.  This program also has a wind tunnel simulation where it shows how the wind goes around the building and how the building effects the wind flow direction and velocity.  This is very beneficial for knowing where to place wind turbines or how to shape the building to increase their performance.  This also gives a better understanding on how to protect the balconies or plaza spaces, or try to utilize the wind for natural ventilation.
                  Then to understand the sun’s effect on a building there is sun diagrams that can help show a timeline when the sun sets or rises, angles of the sun, and direction of sun.  This can help to understand how to shape the building to utilize this for lighting, heating, and harvesting energy.  Again Vasari helps with a sun radiation analysis showing exactly where the sun is effecting the building.  They also have an energy analysis that gives an approximation of energy cost for the building and tips on how to improve the design to achieve a lower cost.

For more information about Vasari go to

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