Solar Site Analysis Now Available

August 21st, 2007 by Peter Schmelzer


VIVUS Architecture + Design has acquired a new tool to help our clients make informed use of the sun.

Nearly all of our clients place more daylight in their homes at the top of their priority list. We love that idea! Daylight has been proven to influence moods and productivity, performance and satisfaction.

Daylight also carries some baggage, which must be properly handled. In our climate, casually located skylights and windows lose heat during the winter and cause solar heat gain in the summer. In the age of high-priced-petroleum, this can mean excessive fuel costs and usage as our mechanical systems work to offset the losses and gains. Considering that we pay more for a window than a wall in addition to increased operating costs for the life of the home, uncontrolled daylight can be expensive.

So, consider us your daylight baggage handler.

We will orient your home to maximize the potential daylight in your home, placing appropriate spaces in the sun’s path. We will craft overhangs that block the high summer sun and let in the low winter sun. We will design with cross ventilation to minimize your cooling costs. We will integrate mass as a thermal fly-wheel to absorb the sun’s heat during the day and re-radiate it into your house at night. And we will minimize glare while allowing the sunlight into your home.

And now, we can tell you when the sun will provide heat and daylight to a specific location on your site.

The sun’s benefits can be blocked by many things, including trees, buildings, trellises, bluffs, water towers, and church steeples, to name a few. Our new hardware will help us tell you what the impact of the surrounding environment will have on your solar potential.

Together, we can analyze various locations on your site and immediately understand the shading conditions and how much of the daily sunlight will be blocked by that evergreen tree. Taken in conjunction with other site considerations (views, traffic access, existing plantings, and the like), we can help you make informed decisions about:

  • Window size and location
  • House location on your site for maximum sunlight
  • Site suitability for Active and Passive Solar Heating
  • Site suitability for Photovoltaic electricity generation
  • Site suitability for Domestic Solar hot water heating
  • Already, our clients are benefiting from the simple, real-time solar analysis we provide. One custom home client was delighted to be able to understand where to put their home so the much-loved trees on their site would not block the sun. We helped another client determine the best location for their proposed photovoltaic panel system on their existing site. And we climbed one roof to determine the impact of the many mature trees on a speculative domestic hot water system.

    If you would like to reap more of the sun’s benefits, or just see how available they are on your site, contact us and we can help you achieve that goal.

    Posted in All Entries, Best Practices, Sustainability Comments Off on Solar Site Analysis Now Available