Wind, Shade and Shadow: Strategic Design
Prevailing wind and shade/shadow studies have become significant tools for WHA designers to create healthy and well-planned communities and buildings. These studies help determine the best structure placement for solar gain, solar orientation, wind shielding and possible shading issues on adjacent structures. At WHA, we perform these analyses for both clients and jurisdictions to ensure certain features are taken into consideration such as roof design, building positioning and height, and recreation area placement.
Recently we have created and used shade/shadow studies on multiple occasions to examine the impacts of proposed homes on existing neighbors. There were concerns that the new structures would create shadowing on the adjacent residences. By producing the shade/shadow studies, we were able to determine that the proposed buildings would not negatively shade their properties and the project could continue as planned.
Many of our designs have benefitted from producing these studies to confirm rooftop solar zones for photovoltaic panels as well as building orientation for solar gain. They have helped us examine roof design and directed modifications to obtain better solar panel capacities and operation. Additionally, the studies have helped our team understand expected solar gain. This has led to design strategies for better passive heating and cooling, which ultimately reduces energy use and cost.
Recreational facilities have become a large focus for shade/shadow and prevailing wind studies. WHA has produced both types of studies to analyze the best placement for recreation areas based on weather conditions. Working with our clients, we are able to weigh the options and determine optimal location and design features that best complement an area’s climate.
From large developments to a single home, the utilization of these studies is becoming more prevalent. They not only contribute to the design story, but they truly help guide strategic design.
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