It is mandatory for every architecture student to do a detailed climate analysis for all their projects. But why? And what information do you exactly need to go ahead with incorporating climate-related strategies in your designs?
With a severe climate crisis on the rise, we need to make sure our designs don’t contribute to it further. Building design that considers the local climate:
So how exactly do you get started with climate study?
The most effective way to go ahead is to go to the site directly and experience the climate first-hand. Make a note of all the climatic and site factors and ask the local people nearby for their input as well.
But that is not always possible or feasible. In that case, here’s is another way:
First step of climate analysis is to identify which climatic zone your site lies in. ECBC India categorizes the country into 5 zones- Cold, Composite, Hot-Dry, Temperate and Warm-Humid.
One way to find out which zone your site lies in, you can go to the ECBC climate zone finder site and select your city. The website classifies the city under a climate zone and also provides some basic design strategies that can be incorporated for that particular climate.
A weather file is an extensive file containing daily temperature, humidity, wind, solar radiation, and precipitation at a particular location for an average year for a period of 30 years. For the city/area your site lies in, download the corresponding weather data file. If the data for your site is unavailable, choose the nearest available city/area file.
These files are mostly available in .epw formats on several sites including EnergyPlus. The files can be opened and viewed in climate software like Climate Consultant or in websites like CBE Clima Tool.
It’s easy to copy and paste all the climate charts from these sources to study and incorporate strategies for our designs. But what most fail to do is identify and analyse the seasonal changes that happen. For example, for the city of Hyderabad, the predominant wind direction is from the West. But Hyderabad needs most ventilation during the summer months, when it is the hottest, and for these specific months, the predominant wind direction is from the East.
One easy way to identify the seasons and their months for a city is to:
Sun path analysis for your site helps determine:
Sun path diagrams can be generated from softwares like Climate Consultant or websites like CBE Clima Tools and Andrew Marsh.
Click here to learn how to read a sun path diagram.
Click here to learn how to determine solar shading requirements.
A wind rose chart tells you the wind direction of a particular city/area. It gives both annual and seasonal patterns.
The annual predominant wind direction can be different from the predominant wind direction in summer.
In all of the software, you can customize the wind rose chart for the months you want. Study the charts and design accordingly, to maximize natural and cross ventilation.
It is equally important to study the rain and humidity patterns for your site as well. This data decides your building’s form, roof size, plinth height, material usage, and various other factors.
A psychrometric chart helps determine how much a certain passive or active strategy contributes to user comfort.
To learn how to read a psychrometric chart, click here
What the chart shows:
How to use the chart:
Softwares like Climate Consultant give strategies based on the factors you’ve selected on the psychrometric chart. However, these are just suggestions based on the values given. It is up to the designers to decide what will work and what won’t according to our site context.
Give passive strategies for your design based on seasonal and climatic variations to achieve maximum passive comfort and cost reduction through energy savings.