Weixuan Lu - Module 8 - Part 2

Solar Skyscraper: Environmentally-Friendly High-Rise Design Tool



Overview (ReadMe)

Solar Skyscraper is a powerful design tool for architects, engineers, and construction professionals. It optimizes high-rise buildings with solar energy integration, streamlining the design process, maximizing energy generation, and promoting sustainability. In the Solar Skyscraper design tool, the areas of the roof and walls that are not occupied by windows are exclusively allocated for photovoltaic (PV) panel installation. With features like solar analysis, design optimization, cost estimation, and visualization, Solar Skyscraper empowers informed decision-making and efficient design. Try it today for environmentally-friendly high-rise solutions.

Key Features:

  1. Solar Energy Analysis: Solar Skyscraper employs advanced algorithms to analyze building dimensions, orientation, and shading, determining the optimal placement and sizing of solar panels. It estimates potential earnings from photovoltaic (PV) energy generation based on cumulative insolation.
  2. Design Optimization: By considering building dimensions, panel widths, and frame widths, Solar Skyscraper optimizes floor areas, gross volumes, and window-to-wall ratios. This ensures an optimal balance between energy performance, aesthetics, and functionality.
  3. Visual Simulations: The tool provides realistic 3D visualizations of the building design, showcasing the integration of solar panels, window placements, and overall aesthetics. This allows users to visualize the impact of different design choices and make informed decisions.
  4. Window Analysis: Solar Skyscraper calculates the window-to-wall ratio, which is the proportion of window area to the total exterior wall area. This metric helps users assess the balance between natural light, energy efficiency, and overall building aesthetics.
  5. Material Quantity: Solar Skyscraper determines the number of panels required for the solar integration design. This output aids in material-related analysis and helps professionals estimate resource requirements accurately.
  6. Cost Estimation: Accurate cost estimation is facilitated by Solar Skyscraper, taking into account construction costs, floor levels, and net costs. It provides valuable insights into the financial implications of design choices.

Catchy Name

Solar Skyscraper: Environmentally-Friendly High-Rise Design Tool

Teaser Image

Below are the teaser images for the tool. This is the Revit visualization.


This is the Dynamo workflow


Below are the four comparisons I chose from the case study. There are more possibilities if you explore the tool.

  1. PV revenue vs WWR

The tradeoff between PV revenue and the window-to-wall ratio (WWR) involves finding the right balance between maximizing solar energy generation and optimizing natural lighting and aesthetics. Increasing the WWR allows more natural light into the building but may reduce the available wall area for PV panel installation, potentially impacting the overall revenue generated from solar energy. Finding an optimal WWR is crucial to achieving a balance between energy generation and interior comfort. No specific relationship could be found between those two.

  1. Gross surface area vs Net cost

The tradeoff between gross surface area and net cost involves considering the overall size of the building and its construction expenses, taking into account the revenue generated from PV panels. Increasing the gross surface area provides more space for design elements, functionality, and potentially more solar panel installation. However, expanding the surface area typically results in higher construction costs. To assess the net cost, the construction costs are subtracted from the revenue generated from PV panels. Striking a balance between the desired building size and the available budget is crucial to optimizing the net cost while ensuring the necessary space and revenue are achieved. The relationship is slightly positive.

  1. Number of panels vs Gross window areas

The tradeoff between the number of panels and the gross window areas focuses on balancing material usage and sustainability considerations. A higher number of panels may indicate increased material usage, potentially impacting the environmental footprint of the building. On the other hand, maximizing gross window areas allows for greater natural lighting and views, enhancing occupant comfort and reducing reliance on artificial lighting during daylight hours. The relationship was slightly negative.

  1. Gross volume vs Construction cost by levels

The tradeoff between gross volume and construction cost involves considering the desired building size and associated expenses. Increasing the gross volume allows for more interior space, providing additional room for functionality and design elements. However, constructing a larger volume typically leads to higher construction costs, as it involves more materials, labor, and structural considerations. The relationship is close to linear but not quite. The relationship was a little positive.

Recorded Video Demo