Buildings designed for solar access can integrate passive heating and energy generation systems; and pleasant, sunny parks and outdoor spaces in temperate or cold climates will be better utilized.

Approximately 90% of the sun’s energy output occurs between 9:00 am and 3:00 pm in winter. Buildings, solar glazing, and outdoor spaces, should be located outside the shadow cast by neighboring structures during this period to assure adequate sunlight.

Determine solar access by:

  • Physical modeling – 3D site/building model used with a heliodon or sunpeg chart.
  • Digital modeling – 3D simulation of sun and shadows on structures, vegetation and developments; configuration of a solar envelope as a buildable volume that will not shade adjacent sites.

Sun path + skyline – a sun path diagram and superimposed skyline will determine access to direct sun from a fixed position at any time of the year.