13 / Solar Envelope Advanced

The Solar Envelope Advanced component in LadyBug allows for more comprehensive simulation by letting us define a topographic test surface and surrounding buildings.

Download the following file:  CLASS_12_SOLAR_ENVELOPE_ADV

Plug in your site surface and surrounding buildings geometry, into the respective Brep inputs.  The solar access has been set to 2 hour midday window for all-year.

*If you don’t see this SolarEnvelopeAdvanced component, check the green box in the top left corner of the gh file and run the updateLadybug component by plugging in the Boolean Toggle (True) to _updateAllUObjects.

Watch this online tutorial before plugging in your sites to the definition.

Solar Rights (example below) – A 3D envelope defining the maximum height which would not violate the solar access for surrounding buildings.  i.e. if you build above this surface, you will cast shadows onto adjacent properties for the given solar period.


Solar Collection (example below) – A complementary 3D envelope defining the minimum height which would receive solar access, given surrounding buildings.  i.e. if you build lower than this surface, your building will not receive sunlight for the given solar period.

CLASS12_preview2To achieve a certain FAR while not exceeding the solar rights envelope, you may dig into your site.

Solar Fan – After you have visualized your minimum and maximum solar envelopes, you can further develop your massing by assigning areas in your site as garden/park surfaces.  The solar fan component will show you the required 3D clearances for solar access for the defined period.  You might selectively cut away at your massing according to the planes defined by the solar fan component.

Further reading we looked at in-class:

Solar Envelope Design Possibilities


Solar Oriented Cities (Barcelona City Plan is described in page 2 of article)