Evaluation of Easy-to-Use Energy Building Design Tools for Solar Access Analysis in Urban Contexts: Comparison of Friendly Simulation Design Tools for Architectural Practice in the Early Design Stage
Current building sector is focused on reduction of energy requirements, on renewable energy generation and on regeneration of existing urban areas. These targets need to be solved with a systemic approach, considering several aspects simultaneously such as climate conditions, lighting conditions, solar radiation, PV potential, etc. The solar access analysis is an already known method to analyze the solar potentials, but in current years, simulation tools have provided more effective opportunities to perform this type of analysis, in particular in the early design stage. Nowadays, the study of the solar access is related to the easiness of the use of simulation tools, in rapid and easy way, during the design process. This study presents a comparison of three simulation tools, from the point of view of the user, with the aim to highlight differences in the easy-to-use of these tools. Using a real urban context as case study, three tools; Ecotect, Townscope and Heliodon, are tested, performing models and simulations and examining the capabilities and output results of solar access analysis. The evaluation of the ease-to-use of these tools is based on some detected parameters and features, such as the types of simulation, requirements of input data, types of results, etc. As a result, a framework is provided in which features and capabilities of each tool are shown. This framework shows the differences among these tools about functions, features and capabilities. The aim of this study is to support users and to improve the integration of simulation tools for solar access with the design process.
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.1123983Procedia APA BibTeX Chicago EndNote Harvard JSON MLA RIS XML ISO 690 PDF Downloads 1494
 I.G. Capuleto, “Design tools for architects: the meaning of solar and daylight access information in design”, in Proc. PLEA 2011, Louvain la Neuve, Belgium, 2011, pp. 879-884.
 M.M.E. Van Esch, R.H.J. Looman, “The effect of urban and building design parameters on solar access to the urban canyon and the potential for direct passive solar heating”, Energy and Buildings J., Vol. 47, pp. 189-200, 2012.
 H. Sanaieian, M. Tenpierik, K. V. D. Linden, F. Mehdizadeh, “Review of the impact of urban block form on thermal performance, solar access and ventilation”, Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews J., Vol. 38, pp. 551-560, October 2014.
 N. Shishegar, “Street design and urban microclimate: analyzing the effects of street geometry and orientation on airflow and solar access in urban canyons”, Journal of clean energy technologies, Vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 52-56, January 2013.
 E B. Beckers, “Solar energy at urban scale”, John Wiley and Sons, 2012.
 R. Compagnon, “Solar and daylight availability in the urban fabric”, Energy and Buildings J., Vol. 36, pp. 321-328, July 2004.
 P. Littlefair, “Passive solar urban design: ensuring the penetration of solar energy into the city”, Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews J., Vol. 2, no.3, pp. 303-326, Septmeber 1998.
 M. Mazloomi, A.S. Hassan, “A study on computer programmes applied for solar simulation in architecture and urban design”, in Proc. 2nd International Conference on built environment in developing countries, 2008, Gelugor, Malaysia, pp. 164-172.
 L. Merino, E. Antaluca, B. Akinoglu, B. Beckers, “Solar Energy inputs estimation for urban scale application”, in Proc. 8th International Conference on System Simulation in Buildings, Liege, Belgium, 2010.
 L.A. Cardenas, J.P. Vasquez, N. Turnbull, “Assessment of solar access in different urban space configurations in two southern latitude with mild climates”, in Proc. PLEA 2014, Ahmedabad, India, 2014.
 K. Kensek, A. Henkhaus, “Solar access zoning + building information modeling”, in Proc. Solar 2013 Conference, Baltimore, USA, 2013.
 J.F. Flor, O.R. Cebollar, L.J. Felix, “Solar radiation calculation methodology for building exterior surfaces”, Solar Energy J., Vol. 79, pp. 513-522, March 2005.
 Archived ecotect resources community wiki, January 2016, retrieved from http://www.wiki.naturalfrequency.com
 J. Teller, S. Azar, “Townscope II. A computer system to support solar access decision making”, Solar Energy J., Vol. 70, no. 3, pp. 187-200, June 2001.
 Townscope official website, January 2016, retrieved from http://www.townscope.com
 IBPSA-USA official website, December 2015, retrieved from http://www.buildingenergysoftwaretools.com
 Heliodon official website, January 2016, retrieved from http://www.heliodon.net/heliodon/index/html