Schematic Design: Site + Solar

Posted on by Lauren M

So, here at MYD, we've been working on our latest residential project in Fullerton, CA.  Given the fact that this project consists of all new construction, it's a valuable opportunity to address critical site design issues up front, during the schematic design phase.  We like to think of it as a blank slate, to an extent...

Considering the unique topographic conditions of this particular location, site-specific analyses help to ensure the building orientation, overall massing and interior layout is responsive to solar and daylighting considerations. 


Based on an initial schematic design, we created a massing model to determine optimum locations for windows, openings and outdoor spaces, as well as give a sense of where light shelves and overhangs can be incorporated into the design to prevent excessive heat gain, promote proper daylighting and reduce energy consumption.  With a few snapshots, the massing model shows which areas will receive the most light at a selected time, on a specific day of the year. 

The diagrams below depict the solar conditions at the site in late September (29th, to be exact).  We're focusing on the rear, south-facing portion of the home, since the path of the sun and its solar angle (low in winter, higher in the summer months) will be an important factor in developing a building envelope design that promotes adequate daylight and a comfortable interior environment.


At 8:00 a.m., the west elevation will be receiving the majority of the heat gain from solar exposure.


At noon, the south-facing facade will need some type of shading devices at the upper story.  The cantilever of the second story mass protects the main living space below, where we're proposing a extensive glazing to enhance the connection to the exterior.


And here we are at 6:00 p.m.  The proposed interior courtyard will be cool and shaded most of the day, helping to moderate temperature extremes throughout the course of the day.

We'll post updates as the design and construction process moves forward, and make sure to check our portfolio for the latest drawings, renderings, and images...  Thanks for reading!