Reading: The Green Studio Handbook by Alison G Kwok et al (Part 2)

Site Analysis

The purpose of a site analysis is fundamental: to understand what characteristics of a site may be of benefit, or vice versa, to the design process.


adjacent buildings, trees, hills, and such can block access to the sky vault and thus to key daylight resources.

Passive Solar Heating

The extent of the underheated period is influence by site temperatures (climate) – but also by building envelope design and internal loads (as they affect balance point temperature).

Obstacles that may impede the flow of direct solar radiation from its “origin” in the sky vault to a passive solar aperture are not generic.

As with daylighting, adjacent buildings, trees, and land forms may block radiation that might otherwise be used to heat a building.

Such critical obstructions must be identified during site analysis – and will be influenced by site characteristics as well as by intended aperture location.

Passive Cooling

In the case of a cross ventilation cooling system, wind velocity, wind speed, and wind direction (during the months of proposed system use) are critical to system success and sizing.

A site analysis that values cross ventilation potential will assemble macro-climate information about summer winds, overlay local (microclimate) information about flow obstructing or flow enhancing site features, and make projections about the effects of site on cross ventilation potential.

Water and Stormwater Runoff

Gauging the potential for such strategies requires and understanding of rainfall rate and patterns, site perviousness, and site contours.


From a site perspective, seeking to provide good acoustics normally means reducing noise intrusion.

Noise sources are very site specific and can only be ascertained by a site visit.

Noise sources are also time dependent, so a site visit must be timed to provide information on both typical and “design” noise characteristics.

Air Quality

A site analysis should identify observable, intuitive air quality issues – such as the likelihood of higher CO2 values near heavy traffic routes.

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