Local weather and microclimate

A building design should as far as possible respond to the local climate - for example, use local wind conditions to drive natural ventilation. Creation of a microclimate through the use of planted shelter belts and appropriate physical layouts can contribute savings of up to 15% on energy use and also improve amenity value by enhancing biodiversity, reducing the winds and the wind chill factor around buildings. It is difficult to assess in detail how wind will move through a site - but it can be modelled effectively at scale. It is reasonably commonplace in Scandinavia for models to be tested in a wind tunnel and minor adjustments to the massing of buildings to be made based on the findings. Matters such as the distance apart and the scale and density of trees in courtyards and adjacent to houses to lift wind can be dealt with at this point, and layouts optimised.

Affordable Housing, Leslie Court, Fairfield, Perthshire

Modern solar design - solar energy is a driver of massing, form and layout, and space planning for individual and groups of buildings, but not to the detriment of urban design (Architects: Gaia Architects; photo: Michael Wolshover)

Affordable Housing, Leslie Court, Fairfield, Perthshire

Modern solar design - solar energy is a driver of massing, form and layout, and space planning for individual and groups of buildings, but not to the detriment of urban design (Architects: Gaia Architects; photo: Michael Wolshover)

Case Study 7.2:

Solar Panel Basics

Solar Panel Basics

Global warming is a huge problem which will significantly affect every country in the world. Many people all over the world are trying to do whatever they can to help combat the effects of global warming. One of the ways that people can fight global warming is to reduce their dependence on non-renewable energy sources like oil and petroleum based products.

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