Project Examples

Optimal Location of Solar Systems for New Planned Buildings on Campus

Course: 22.521 Solar Fundamentals
Semester: Fall 2008
Instructor: John Duffy
Partner: UMass Lowell

Students chose the optimal location and orientation on campus for a planned research building near Smith Hall, M2D2 research and bio-plastic research facilities, and instructional building on south campus in order to optimize solar collection and then estimate incident solar irradiation for possible thermal collectors, PV, daylighting windows, etc. Using an instrument called “the Solar Pathfinder” On the location of the proposed building, the incident solar irradiation was calculated at this exact location. The goal here was to take full advantage of where the building is or will be located and the utilization of the sun for the purpose of utilizing solar energy. It was then determined where solar collectors and systems would be located for optimum energy utilization. The reports were forwarded to the facilities planning department of the university.

Typical steps for the three different miniprojects: (a) From historic weather data, predict incident solar irradiation on vertical windows (all four orientations) and possible collectors on the rooftop. Use both hourly and monthly methods of predicting the incident irradiation. Should one side of the building face true south, or with an azimuth off true south? (b) Choose the location with the highest solar access on any buildable space on south campus. Take into account shading from other buildings, trees, etc. You can borrow the shading measurement device from the solar lab. (c) Estimate the size and location of overhang and side shading devices for south (approximately), east, and west windows to minimize summer overheating. Choose your own appropriate criteria. The shading measurement device and software could prove useful here. You can analyze the effect of deciduous trees also for summer shading.