Conceptual Design - Building Context & Passive Design

Journal Entry For
Module 4 - Conceptual Design - Building Context & Passive Design
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Created
Jan 22, 2022 1:41 AM
Last Edited
Jan 28, 2022 5:21 AM
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Srećko Ćurković

For my location, I chose Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve. This is one of the suggested locations so working with it might be easier than with other locations. I really like the views here, especially the one of the lake. This location is also less hilly than Stanford Dish area, so that should make it easier to have a building here. I first explored this location using Google Earth.

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My first insight is that there are almost no other surrounding buildings here, so I probably won’t have to worry about shading from other buildings. This also means that my building will easily stand out anyway, so I need to make sure not to make my building look too different from the surroundings. I would like to use local area as inspiration for building design. Next step was exploring this site in more detail using SketchUp.

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I noticed that this terrain is also somewhat hilly. My first idea was to place the building closer to the lake or to align it with the southern side of the lake, but those two areas are actually small hills, so I decided to move my building closer to the existing building on site.

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I indicated a general building shape on the Google Earth screenshot. The building can make use of the existing parking space on the left, and it is still near enough to the lake to have a nice view of it. It is also far enough from the other building to avoid casting shadows on it. The building is also easily accessible by road on ~3 of its sides. A lot of the building is also facing south, making use of passive design strategies later on. Next step was understanding site climate using Climate Consultant. This site is located in Climate Zone 3.

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Looking at the temperature range chart, I noticed that the mean monthly temperature ranges from 50F to about 65F, but there are some extremes where it gets as cold as 35F in the winter and as hot as 90F in the summer. Thus both heating and cooling options will need to be provided for the building. But to understand this better, I looked at the psychrometric chart.

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By selecting the best set of design strategies, it is possible to be comfortable indoors for about 70% of the time without using any active heating and cooling! This shows the importance of passive strategies such as sun shading of windows, thermal mass, natural ventilation, and passive solar direct gain. But, as expected, some active conditioning will be need for about 30% of the time, and that is mostly heating in winter months. Overall, this tells me that my building should be facing south to maximize solar gain. This also makes sense since I want to have solar panels on the roof.