This ECOTECT tutorial explains how to calculate solar availability using POINT objects in an ECOTECT model.
You will need about 10 minutes to complete this tutorial.
Training and Accreditation
Successfully completing this tutorial fulfills one of the practical skills required for completing Level 2 of the Solar Radiation Analysis training module.
To complete this tutorial, open the Stadium.eco file located in the Examples folder of your Ecotect installation.
Create an array of points in the example file over the stadium pitch, as outlined in the Creating and Editing Points tutorial. However, this time position the point array at the same level as the stadium pitch. Don't ungroup the POINT array, otherwise you'll spend the rest of the day individually selecting POINT objects!
You may also wish to compare the results from this tutorial with the results derived from the Solar Availability Using Analysis Grid.
- Select the POINT array you have created. Go to the Calculate menu, and select the Solar Access Analysis... menu item.
Display the default analysis grid in the example file.
- The following wizard dialogue box appears, presenting a series of options on how solar availability can be analysed. Any of these options will provide some kind of information on solar availability, such as number of daylight hours, watt hours, megajoules per square metre, or as percentage values. For this tutorial, select the Shading, Overshadowing and Sunlight Hours radio option and then click Next.
Select the Shading, Overshadowing and Sunlight Hours radio option.
- Specify the calculation period for the solar availability - this can be for a specific date and time, the current day (as set in the model), or for a particular time period. For this tutorial, select For Current Day, being the 21st March.
Set the calculation period.
- The analysis values for the period can be displayed in a number of ways, such as cumulative, average or peak values. When calculating solar availability, read carefully how each of period-based values are calculated, and then select the most appropriate option for your needs. For this tutorial, select the Cumulative Values radio option, and then click Next.
Select how the analysis values will be totalled up.
- The next wizard dialogue box screen determines whether model objects or the analysis grid is used for the solar availability analysis. As this is meant to be a tutorial about calculating solar availability using POINT objects, select the Objects in Model radio option. Also check the Only Use Selected Objects checkbox to limit the objects being analysed to the selected POINT array. Click Next to continue.
Select the Objects in Model calculation option. Also check the Only Use Selected Objects checkbox option.
- Overshadowing will obviously have an impact on the level of solar availability. ECOTECT can calculate overshadowing in one of two ways - using existing shading masks calculated as part of the inter-zonal adjacency checking process, or 'on-the-fly' as part of the solar access analysis calculation. If you have recently calculated the interzonal adjacencies in your ECOTECT model, you can select the Use Existing Shading Masks radio option. Alternatively, check the Perform Detailed Shading Calculations radio option, and use the slider and drop-down box to specify the level of accuracy for the shading calculation. Click Next when you are ready to proceed.
Select the Overshadowing calculation option you wish to utilise.
- The final wizard screen summarises the selections made. Make any adjustments if necessary, and then click Ok to commence the solar availability analysis.
The wizard summary screen.
- ECOTECT commences the analysis process, which can take some time given the number of POINTS in the array. When complete, the results are displayed across the analysis grid according to the settings you specified in the wizard. Use the skills you have learnt in the Display Object Attributes tutorial to manipulate the display of the POINT values in the model.
Solar availability calculated for the selected array of POINT objects.
Close up view of solar availability point data.