Natural Frequency Journal :: Issue No. 006
Published: May 15, 2012

Solar Availability in Cities

Dense urban environments provide a complex environment, where solar and daylight availability can become a scarce commodity, especially since buildings become increasingly taller. This is manly due to the complex dynamic overshadowing effects present on building surfaces. Accurately quantifying these effects is key in predicting reductions in solar availability. These in turn, can significantly affect daylight and thermal performance of buildings, as well as potential for PVs and other renewables. It is therefore necessary to use simulation tools to predict these complex effects.

ECOTECT and the Average Energy Year

When you perform solar and thermal calculations in Ecotect, it does not do these for any specific year, but rather a standard 'average' energy year. This is true of nearly all thermal and energy analysis tools. Even the weather files used for solar and energy analysis are usually averaged to better represent long-term conditions. This article explains the basic assumptions behind the 'average' energy year and why this approach is more appropriate than using any particular year.

Comparing Solar Position Data

I have had a couple of occasions recently where I needed to directly compare different solar position algorithms, as well as predicted versus recorded position data. This sounds pretty simple, but there are actually some interesting little quirks where even datasets that are so close as to be virtually identical will still throw up spuriously large differences in individual values. I thought these might be worth documenting and discussing.

Introducing Scripts in ECOTECT

Scripts have been available in ECOTECT from very early on in its development and are probably one of its most under-utilised features. Anyone can write and run a script in ECOTECT and they can be used to add new functionality, automate complex tasks, initialise or standardise a model to your firm's requirements, generate summary data, export to another application, etc. Pretty well anything you can imagine. This article is a brief description of what a script is and what it contains.

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