The presence of a building or group of buildings by definition creates a microclimate – and most builders, planners, designers and municipalities recognize that buildings powerfully affect the spaces around them. But there’s a widespread assumption that microclimates are defined primarily by wind conditions. Many jurisdictions around the world – such as Hong Kong, Toronto, London and San Francisco – set requirements about wind climates around buildings, but are silent about other factors that can contribute to safe, comfortable microclimates.
The microclimate around a building is influenced by odor, noise, vibration, air quality and rain/snow/sand impacts, as well as at least four significant solar impacts: glare, passive heating, excess heating and daylighting. All these factors can be measured, modeled and predicted. This seminar offers participants a set of tools that will help them design for enhanced microclimates. Drawing on case studies from three different climates, the seminar will discuss a diverse range of microclimate adjustment strategies, with special emphasis on improving thermal comfort and reducing wind-driven rain. It will also include insights on how to use – and when and how to question – meteorological data.
The value of careful microclimate design goes beyond pedestrian comfort. Buildings influence their neighbours, including their internal conditions and energy needs. It’s possible to design buildings that enhance each other’s efficiency and performance instead of creating adverse conditions for one another. Better microclimates mean more sustainable buildings, neighbourhoods and communities.