Understanding Computational Methods for Solar Envelopes Based on Design Parameters, Tools, and Case Studies: A Review

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The increasing population density in urban areas simultaneously impacts the trend of energy consumption in building sectors and the urban heat island (UHI) effects of urban infrastructure. Accordingly, passive design strategies to create sustainable buildings play a major role in addressing these issues, while solar envelopes prove to be a relevant concept that specifically considers the environmental performance aspects of a proposed building given their local contexts. As significant advances have been made over the past decades regarding the development and implementation of computational solar envelopes, this study presents a comprehensive review of solar envelopes while specifically taking into account design parameters, digital tools, and the implementation of case studies in various contextual settings. This extensive review is conducted in several stages. First, an investigation of the scope and procedural steps of the review is conducted to frame the boundary of the topic to be analyzed within the conceptual framework of solar envelopes. Second, comparative analyses between categorized design methods in parallel with a database of design parameters are conducted, followed by an in-depth discussion of the criteria for the digital tools and case studies extracted from the selected references. Third, knowledge gaps are identified, and the future development of solar envelopes is discussed to complete the review. This study ultimately provides an inclusive understanding for designers and architects regarding the progressive methods of the development of solar envelopes during the conceptual design stage
Original languageEnglish
Article number3302
Number of pages24
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Computational design methods
  • Passive design strategies
  • Solar envelopes


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