Announced in late 2012, the Center for the Built Environment has developed a web-based thermal comfort tool, which is now available for use: http://cbe.berkeley.edu/comforttool/. From the email announcement, “this free online tool is useful for performing and visualizing comfort calculations according to ASHRAE Standard 55-2010. The tool has been validated against the official ASHRAE Thermal Comfort tool.”
There is now a free, open source plugin for Grasshopper called Ladybug that “allows you to import and analyze EnergyPlus weather data (epw) in Grasshopper and draw diagrams like sun-path, wind-rose, radiation-rose,” can “run radiation analysis, shadow studies, and view analysis,” and then show the results inside Grasshopper, according to the announcement in early 2013. The tool was developed by a graduate student from the School of Design at the University of Pennsylvania.
This is a lovely video of the San Francisco sky for a year. According to the YouTube description,
A camera installed on the roof of the Exploratorium museum in San Francisco captured an image of the sky every 10 seconds. From these images, I created a mosaic of time-lapse movies, each showing a single day. The days are arranged in chronological order. My intent was to reveal the patterns of light and weather over the course of a year.
It is also a very clear illustration of how day length changes symmetrically over the year. All of the days are synchronized, starting and ending at the same time. So you can see that some days are much shorter and longer than others, and that sunrise and sunset happen a little earlier or later than the previous one. The exact times of sunrise and sunset depend on our latitude here in the Bay Area.
So… how does this connect back to resource efficient infrastructure?
Knowledge of the sun’s movement and its position in the sky at any given date and time are fundamental to energy efficient building design and the thermal and visual comfort of the building’s occupants.
The Center for the Built Environment’s fourth annual Livable Building Award winners were announced in mid-December. The entries were judged on excellence of design, operation, and occupant satisfaction. According to a CBE press release:
Award entries are open only to the top scorers in CBE’s Occupant Indoor Environmental Quality Survey, which is used to study occupant satisfaction in terms of air quality, lighting, thermal comfort and overall building satisfaction and has been implemented in more than 860 buildings in North America and Europe.