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The Carbon Neutral Design Project:
Carbon Neutral Teaching: Curriculum Materials Development
Gregory D. Thomson
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Spring 2008 UWM Solar Decathlon Carbon Neutral House Project
- mixed UG/G comprehensive design studio (first semester)

Climate Analysis

climate charts

Design Performance Objective

Climate Analysis

Comparative climate analysis of the two climate types in which the UWM Solar Decathlon project will be tested. The technique demonstrated is described in Sun, Wind & Light by G.Z. Brown

Students: Sally Massman and Keith Stachowiak
Software / Tools:

TMY data

Spring 2008 UWM Solar Decathlon Carbon Neutral House Project- mixed UG/G comprehensive design studio (first semester)

Climate Analysis

Analyze the bioclimatic design context; prepare a bioclimatic evaluation.

• course and project outline

Investigative Strategy

Collect climatic data and apply to the psychrometric chart or bioclimatic chart, review different months and seasons.

Evaluation Process

Make comparisons across climates or between different months and discuss the absolute conditions of one and the relative differences between two or more.

A critical first step in the understanding of what the appropriate passive and active strategies are possible.

Any climate analysis begins with the evaluation of the psychrometric chart and the basics of average monthly temperature and relative humidity. This should quickly expand beyond those conditions to a point where the design student can understand the depth of information that is available and necessary to use in the analysis of building designs. The detailed analysis can begin with the creation of heating and cooling season psychrometric charts to look in detail at threshold and boundary conditions for heating and cooling.

I prefer to use the TMY (Typical Meteorological Year) data from the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) in the detailed analysis. The methods of analysis that are performed in Sun, Wind & Light are useful, and helpful as a basis for the parsing of this data


Evaluative Criteria


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

Duration of Exercise

Degree of Difficulty / Previous Knowledge Required



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