conditions that are specific to a
project's location, design teams are able to develop climate
responsive building designs. The result is a building that utilizes
less energy and provides a high quality and comfortable environment
for the occupants.
Sun, land, and water interact in complicated ways throughout each
day and throughout the year, and the result is what we commonly
refer to as weather. These interactions produce daily as well as
seasonal temperature, humidity, and wind patterns that can vary
substantially between locations in close geographic proximity.
California, in particular, has many diverse climate characteristics
that occur across the state. Yet, many architects and engineers
develop their design strategies for new buildings without full
consideration of the impact of regional and sitespecific climate
Climate-responsive design is a strategy that seeks to take
advantage of the positive climate attributes of a particular
location, while minimizing the effects of attributes that may
impair comfort or increase energy requirements. Designers who
strive to develop comfortable, low-energy buildings can enjoy the
benefits of climate-responsive design by considering five basic
points in the course of designing new commercial buildings.
- Understand climate zones and microclimates.
- Understand the basic physiology of human thermal comfort.
- Control the sun to reduce loads and enhance visual
- Use thermal mass to improve comfort and efficiency.
- Select space-conditioning strategies that are climate