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Solar Access in Tropical Cities

Solar Access in Tropical Cities

Solar Access in Tropical

PLEA2005 - The 22 nd Conference on Passive and Low Energy Architecture. Beirut, Lebanon, 13-16 November 2005 1/5 Solar Access in Tropical Cities: Towards a Multicriteria Solar Envelope Rafael Silva Brandão 1 and Márcia Peinado Alucci 1 1 Laboratório de Conforto Ambiental e Eficiência Energética (LABAUT), Faculdade de Arquitetura e Urbanismo da Universidade de São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil – rafael.brandao@superig.com.br ABSTRACT: Solar access is an issue of growing importance, as buildings with environmental concerns rely more and more on solar systems for better performance and lower energy consumption. Most of the discussion, however, is being carried out in developed countries with temperate climate, where sunlight is desirable most of the year. In Brazilian cities, where climate is mostly tropical, solar radiation availability is highly increased and overheating becomes a major problem. This paper describes the development of a tool that would evaluate solar access, using as a study case the city of Sao Paulo, Brazil (23°37’S, 46°39’W). The method, however, could be applied to any other location to which proper data is available. A procedure was formulated - using an anisotropic sky model, climatic data and geometry information - in order to calculate daylight availability and solar heat gain reduction. It predicts the impact of a building on energy consumption of neighbour sites for lighting, heating and cooling, and allows planners to verify impact of growing densities (and consequent higher obstruction angles) in urban energy performance. Conference Topic: 02 Sustainable Urban Design and Planning Keywords: solar access, urban planning, energy efficiency INTRODUCTION Solar access is an issue of growing importance, as buildings with environmental concerns rely more and more on solar systems for better performance and lower energy consumption. Most studies concerning this issue have been carried out in European or North American research centers, meaning they reflect a reality very different from that of tropical, developing countries’ cities. In Brazil, for instance, most cities are located in the tropical zone, which means higher solar angles, intense solar radiation and high temperatures. Even though these conditions make them more adequate for implementation of most solar technologies, local buildings may suffer from overheating. Brazilian cities also have a very fragmented urban structure, where high-rise side with single-family housing, zoning is not absolute and urban planning has to deal with heterogeneity. This paper describes the development of a tool that would evaluate solar access benefits, using as a study case the city of Sao Paulo, Brazil (23°37’S, 46°39’W). The method, however, could be applied to any other location to which proper data is available. A procedure was formulated - using an anisotropic sky model, climatic data and geometry information - in order to calculate daylight availability and solar heat gain reduction. It predicts the impact of a building on energy consumption of neighbour sites for lighting and cooling, and allows planners to verify impact of new taller buildings in urban energy performance. In order to do that, the study object was divided in three interdependent parts: the source (sun and daylight), the interface (the city) and the final use of solar energy (building’s passive and pro-active solar systems) (fig. 1). •Environment •City •Building •Systems •Users Figure 1: Conceptual model of solar access variables: source, interface and final use Each part was studied separately, using existing models described in the 2 chapter of this paper. The final use of solar energy has both thermal and luminous aspects, which were put together by analysing energy consumption for heating, cooling

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