Tools and methods used by architects for solar design

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Architects have a key role to play when it comes to the design of future low-energy (solar) buildings. Proper design tools and working methods could help architects in the design process. In order to identify barriers of existing tools and methods for solar design, needs of architects for improved tools, and to gain an insight into architects’ methods of working during the design process, an international survey was carried out within the framework of IEA-SHC Task 41-Solar Energy and Architecture, combined with
semi-structured interviews. This paper presents an overview of main results of this study. Both the survey and interviews strongly indicate the need for further development of design tools
for solar architecture, focusing on a user-friendly, visual tool that is easily interoperable within current modelling software packages, and which generates clear and meaningful results that are compatible with the existing work flow of the architect. Furthermore, the survey and interviews also indicated a strong awareness about solar aspects among respondents. However, this was combined with a limited use and
knowledge of solar energy technologies, suggesting the need for further skill development amongst architects and tool development to accelerate the implementation of these technologies in future buildings and urban fabric.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Civil Engineering


  • Solar energy, Architecture, Design process, Design tools, Design methods, Early design stage, Barriers
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)721-731
JournalEnergy and Buildings
Issue numberPart C
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Publication categoryResearch