An integrated approach to subtractive solar envelopes based on attribute information from point cloud data

Miktha Alkadri, Francesco De Luca, Michela Turrin, Sevil Sariyildiz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
160 Downloads (Pure)


As a passive design strategy, solar envelopes play a significant role in determining building mass based on desirable sun access during a predefined period. Nowadays, advancements in the area of computational tools permit designers to develop new methods for establishing solar envelopes. However, current approaches lack an understanding of the existing environment's site characteristics, especially when dealing with geometrical information about the surrounding context. Consequently, this aspect affects the contextual analysis process during the generation of solar envelopes because of insufficient information for the relevant input of simulation modelling. With the support of geometric and radiometric properties stored in point cloud data, such as position (XYZ), colour (RGB), and reflection intensity (I), this study has proposed novel subtractive solar envelopes that specifically consider the surface properties of the existing environment. Through a subtractive mechanism, the proposed method caters to several computational frameworks such as dataset pre-processing that aims to correct erroneous measurement during scanning. In alignment with that, the proposed building's visible sun vectors, optimal normal values, and 3D polyhedra are generated for the hit-or-miss analysis of subtractive solar envelopes. Furthermore, environmental assessments consisting of insolation and glare analysis are performed on the solar envelopes' final geometry. These performance assessments aim to investigate the potential and impact of the generated solar envelopes as it pertains to the existing buildings. Ultimately, this study supports architects not only in producing a new generation of subtractive solar envelopes based on real contextual settings but also in comprehensively understanding the microclimate condition of design context.
Original languageEnglish
Article number109742
Number of pages20
JournalRenewable & Sustainable Energy Reviews
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Subtractive solar envelopes
  • Point cloud data
  • Passive design strategy
  • Material properties
  • Computational design method


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