Archive site for Autodesk Ecotect Analysis educational resources, notes and tutorials



Ecotect Tutorial : Projecting Solar Profiles onto Buildings

Synopsis

For certain types of development, there may be restrictions placed on the height of a proposed building so as not to overshadow adjacent sites or buildings. This is known as the maximum solar envelope.

This ECOTECT tutorial explains how to use solar profiling to generate the maximum solar envelope for a proposed design.

Duration

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 Shading Design training module.

Resources Required

To complete this tutorial, download and open the ProjectSolarEnvelope.eco file, located under the File Attachments section at the end of this tutorial.

Tutorial

  1. The example file shows a hypothetical development scenario - the key components for projecting a solar profile onto a building include a model of the proposed building form (extruded by a large amount, so that the solar profile can then be projected onto it), and the transformation origin, which is currently located at the centre of the adjacent site.
    A typical scenario where a solar profile might be used to determine the solar envelope.
    A typical scenario where a solar profile might be used to determine the solar envelope.
  2. Set the date to use for projecting the solar profile. Click on the button, and select Winter Solstice as the date to use. This weather file used with this model is for Perth, Western Ausralia, making the Winter Solstice date June 21st.
    Select the date you wish to use for projecting the solar profile.
    Select the date you wish to use for projecting the solar profile.
  3. Select the proposed building, and make Proposed Building the current zone. Go to the Calculate»Shading & Shadows»Project Transformation Origin»Follow Hourly Sun-Path menu item. Using the settings you have specified, ECOTECT projects the solar profile as a line upon the selected building. This line represents the maximum building height so as not to overshadow the transformation origin for the selected date.
    ECOTECT projects the solar profile line for the transformation origin onto the selected objects, shown in orange.
    ECOTECT projects the solar profile line for the transformation origin onto the selected objects, shown in orange.
  4. Of course, this profile is for a single point only on the adjacent site. To determine a spectrum of solar profiles, different transformation origin points should be used. For example, use the button and the option to reposition the transformation origin to the north-west corner of the adjacent site.
    Relocate the transformation origin to the north west corner of the adjacent site.
    Relocate the transformation origin to the north west corner of the adjacent site.
  5. Repeat the solar profile projection - note how the profile is at a different height to the previous one. Create a series of solar profile projections, one for each corner of the site. To track the profiles, you may wish to place them on individual zones, so that you know which profile corresponds with each point.
    Create a series of solar profiles from different points of the adjacent site.
    Create a series of solar profiles from different points of the adjacent site.
  6. Now that you have a series of solar profiles, you can use these to determine the optimum building height, based on which points of the site are allowed to be overshadowed. You can then edit the nodes of the proposed building envelope to adjust its overall height.
    Use the solar profiles as a guide to adjust the form of the building envelope.
    Use the solar profiles as a guide to adjust the form of the building envelope.
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Solar Radiation

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