Solar Design

Heliodon 20th May 2013, Heriot Watt University
Edwin Chadwick Building – Room EC G34. Directions

Because buildings use about 50% of all energy, and because most of that energy is used for heating, cooling, and lighting, which are all greatly impacted by the sun, solar responsive design is a critical strategy for minimizing climate change. Solar responsive design includes the following considerations: orientation; color of roof and walls; size, number, and orientation of windows; passive solar space heating; shading; daylighting; active solar hot water and space heating; and photovoltaics.

Because the most benefit at least cost comes from “picking the low hanging fruit first”, the workshop focuses on all the strategies other than active solar and PV. Daylighting will be discussed only as it is integrated into passive solar and shading. The workshops will prepare the attendees to maximize the benefits of solar responsive design through lectures, and hands-on-activities which includes the creation and construction of a passive solar/shading design which will be tested on a heliodon. While it is possible to register for the morning or afternoon separately we recommended attending the full day as the workshops are complementary.


9.00am – 12.30pm: Design for Passive Solar Gain, Norbert Lechner

9.00am Registration and Networking
9.30am The principals of Solar Geometry and Solar Responsive Design

  • Solar: a critical aspect of sustainability
  • Pick the low hanging fruit first
  • Introduction to heliodon
  • Hands-on-activity, making solar tools

11.00am Tea and Coffee
11.15am Passive solar design principles

  • Introduction to passive solar space heating
  • Solar access and availability
  • Maximizing rather than optimizing
  • Solar heat storage systems
  • Glazing selection and night insulation

12.30pm Lunch (provided)

13.00pm – 4.30pm: Shading Design – Avoiding Overheating, Norbert Lechner

1.00pm Registration and Networking
1.30pm The Principals of Shading Design

  • Introduction to shading (dynamic vs. static)
  • Shading strategies demonstrated on the heliodon
  • Hands-on –activity, design and build a simple shading/passive solution for south, west, and north windows
  • Drawing sunbeams correctly to test and demonstrate a solar design

3.00pm Tea and Coffee
3.15pm Integrating passive solar, shading, and daylighting

  • Heat avoidance and passive cooling
  • Integrating passive solar, shading, and daylighting
  • Testing on heliodon of the shading/passive solar designs of the attendees

4.30pm End


About Norbert Lechner

norbert lechner headshot Architect and Prof. Emeritus in the College of Architecture, Design, and Construction at Auburn University, Alabama, USA, he is an expert in energy responsive architectural design with an emphasis on solar responsive design, including daylighting. His book, Heating, Cooling, Lighting: Sustainable Design Methods for Architects, 3rd edition, © 2009, John Wiley & Sons, is used by more than 1/3 of all architecture schools in the United States, is used in architecture schools all over the world, and is popular among professionals and translated into 4 languages. He is the inventor of new types of heliodons and he lectures widely around the world on solar design. See


Other Workshops in this Series

  • 11th June: Thermal Comfort and Natural Ventilation
  • 24th June: Climate Ready Design and Resilient Construction