Using cumulative insolation analysis, it is possible to display the distribution and availability of solar radiation over an entire building or even a city block. This can be particularly useful when considering shading requirements or assessing the best areas to place photovoltaics for maximum collection. This tutorial explains how to perform a cumulative insolation analysis on the external surfaces of a building envelope using Ecotect.
You will need about 15 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 Bldgs-ShadingDesign-RtoL.eco Ecotect file, located in the Examples folder of your Ecotect installation.
Creating Surface Subdivisions
In order to analyse the variation of incident solar radiation across the surfaces of a building, it is necessary to divide up those surfaces into smaller subdivisions for the analysis.
- Select the plane as shown in the screenshot. Then go to the Modify»Surface Subdivisions»Rectangular Tiles... menu item.
Select the plane as shown.
- The following dialogue box appears - here you can specify the size of the surface subidivisions, and how they are tiled across the selected surface. Use the settings are shown in the screenshot, and then click Ok.
Use the following settings for the surface subdivision.
- The following error message may appear.
Click Ok to continue.The selected plane is now subdivided.
- Select the subdivisions, and go to the Calculate»Solar Access Analysis... menu item. The following wizard appears. Choose the Incident Solar Radiation radio option and click Next.
Select Incident Solar Radiation and click Next.
- Choose the calculation period. For the purposes of this tutorial, choose the For Current Day option and click Next.
Select For Current Day and then click Next.
- On the next screen, choose the Cumulative Values radio option and click Next.
Select Cumulative Values and click Next.
- Under the Objects in Model radio option, check the Only use selected objects checkbox and then click Next.
Check the Selected Objects only checkbox and click Next.
- Choose the Use Existing Shading Masks radio option and click Next.
Select Use Existing Shading Masks and click Next.
- Ecotect summarises your selections in the following dialogue box. Make any necessary adjustments, and then click Ok to proceed.
Check your selections and click Ok to proceed.
- Ecotect calculates the incident solar radiation using the settings you have specified. Depending upon the speed of your computer, this calculation may take several minutes. Once complete, it looks something like the following screenshot :
Ecotect calculates the incident solar radiation for the subdivided surface.
- Note the legend shown on the right-hand side of the 3D editor window, which you can use to visually determine the amount incident solar radiation for each subdivision. Numerical values can also be displayed using Show Text Values checkbox found in the Display Settings' control panel.
Show Text Values.
- While you're there, check the Show Vectors checkbox, and then switch to the Visualise page. Ecotect generates a relative vector based on the values calculated.
Select Show Vectors and then go to the Visualise page.
- Use the Copy View to Clipboard button found near the bottom-right corner of the application window to export the image to another application, such as Microsoft Word or Photoshop.