- Building Design Concepts
- Green Building Goals & Process
- Site Analysis & Energy Loads
- Passive Heating & Cooling
- Human Thermal Comfort
- Building Massing
- Building Orientation
- Aperture Placement & Area
- Building Constructions
- Passive Heating
- Passive Cooling and Ventilation
- Lighting and Daylighting Design
- Active HVAC Systems
- Water Resources in Buildings
- Indoor Air Quality
- Building Design Software
- Building Performance Analysis
- Climate Analysis in BIM
- Sun and Shadow Studies in BIM
- Energy Loads in BIM
- Solar Loads Analysis in BIM
- Wind Analysis in BIM
- Lighting Analysis in BIM
- Whole Building Energy Analysis
Climate is the most important environmental factor and the first one that architects and engineers should consider when designing a building. To achieve a net zero energy building, the design must consider the building’s specific site climate.
The climate can dictate what passive design strategies are most suitable and effective for the building site. For example, strategies that are perfect for a hot dry location may be counterproductive in a cold humid climate.
A site’s climate is dictated by its latitude, altitude, and terrain. A site located at 60°N on a mountain top will require very different design strategies from a site at 7°S at sea level. Climate influences many aspects of building design such as what the indoor temperature should be, what are the factors defining human comfort, and predicting energy loads for the building.
A common misconception is that climate and weather are interchangeable terms to describe the same thing. This is not true. Climate refers to the average atmospheric conditions over a long period of time where weather refers to the daily temperatures and atmospheric conditions. For example, climate change refers to the changing daily weather patterns over a long period of time.
Designers can choose passive design strategies suited for their building based on the climate type. Specific classifications of climates vary, however they can all be useful in determining appropriate design strategies.For instance, the Köppen-Geiger climate classification system is internationally used, however the US Department of Energy has a guide to US climate zones, and the state of California has its own specific guide to California climate zones.
Different climate zones around the world
Climate classification systems are useful in determining overall passive design strategies to implement, however they often do not consider microclimates. Microclimates are small areas that feature different climate characteristics from the overall climate zone they are located within. They are caused by different topographies, bodies of water, vegetation, and site surroundings. The city of San Francisco exhibits many microclimates due to the varying topographies and the different surrounding bodies of water. Also see Building Site Surroundings.
Everything in the built environment is designed, from the smallest computer chip to the largest city. With Autodesk software, users can reduce the environmental impacts of their designs. Visit the Autodesk Sustainable Design Center: autodesk.com/sustainabledesign.