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The Carbon Neutral Design Project:
Carbon Neutral Teaching: Curriculum Materials Development
Hazem Rashed-Ali
University of Texas, San Antonio

Graduate and Undergraduate Seminar Course
Intermediate and Senior Students

Solar Control

Solar Control

Design Performance Objective

Solar Control

The image shows the daily shadow range produced by two possible shading system designs in 4 critical days of the year in San Antonio, TX. Summer and winter needs were determined based on the climate analysis. BFor the selected climate, the successful design solution should provide maximum protection in the summer solstice and some solar penetration in the winter solstice.

Student: Chris Finke
Software / Tools:


Spring 2008 “Applications in Sustainable Design” Graduate/ Undergraduate Seminar

Solar Geometry

To design a solar control device for the College of Architecture (CoA) building, and to explore the use of digital simulation in this process.

course and project outline

Investigative Strategy

1. To use ECOTECT shading design wizard to design a solar control system for the south facing windows of the CoA annex building. The shading device was required to prevent solar penetration from the windows during the working day (8 am to 5 pm) in the period from April 11th to August 30th.

2. To generate a shading mask for one of the building’s south windows.

3. To use ECOTECT’s “Solar access analysis” wizard to calculate the “shading, overshadowing, and sunlight hours” for the south facing elevation throughout the year.

Evaluation Process

Students were required to submit a report describing the analysis process and conclusions supported by images from the ECOTECT analysis. Conclusions for each project were evaluated by the instructor and discussed in class.

Evaluative Criteria

Shading systems designed by students in this assignment were evaluated based on both their effectiveness is providing protection from solar radiation in the overheated periods of the year, as indicated by the graphics exported from ECOTECT, as well as on the innovation of these solution and their integration with the design.

Cautions - Possible Confusions
Range of Applicability in terms of CLIMATE
Range of Applicability in terms of TYPE
Reference Material

Brown, G. Z. and Dekay, M. 2000. Sun, Wind & Light: Architectural Design Strategies, 2nd Edition. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons.

Kwok, A. and Grondzik, W. 2007. Green Studio Handbook, Environmental Strategies for Schematic Design. Oxford, UK: Architectural Press.

Lechner, N., 2001. Heating, Cooling, Lighting: Design Methods for Architects. 2nd Edition. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons.

Autodesk, 2009, Autodesk ECOTECT Wiki, available online at:

Duration of Exercise
One week.
Degree of Difficulty / Previous Knowledge Required

The assignment itself has minimal difficulty. However, since this assignment uses the model(s) developed in the previous assignments, the accuracy of the shading solutions is related, to a certain extent, to the accuracy of the development of that model.

At this point, students had sufficient experience of basic modeling techniques in ECOTECT, which reduced the difficulty of the model development part of the assignment.


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