Assignment #1: Sun Path Diagram

Solar Diagram

This first assignment aimed to explore the solar conditions of a site in Charlottesville using graphic overlay of site photos and an existing solar map for the area. I chose the site along Main Street because the plot of land is in a prime location for future development and for the fact that the east and west horizons are both obscured by existing buildings, creating an interesting delay in sunrise and a premature sunset. The following answer questions posed about my site and findings.

A) How many hours of sunlight does your site receive on March 21st?
Rising at 7:50am and setting at 8:50pm, the vernal equinox sheds 8 hours and 20 minutes of sunlight on the survey position.

B) When does the sun first strike your site on December 21st? June 21st?
The sun crests the surrounding urban environment at approximately 8:10 and 6:10am respectively.

C) Which day of the year has the most sunlight on your site?
July 15th observes the greatest length of sunlight due largely because of a small gap between the buildings of Main Street and a tree.

D) Where is the sun (altitude and azimuth) on August 15 at 3:00? Does it strike your site then?
The altitude is approximately 46 degrees and the azimuth is 248 degrees with my site in full view of the sun.

E) If you were creating a porch that would be warm in the winter and cool in the summer, how would you orient it on your site? Would this be possible on your site?
I would orient a porch to the south with a moderate overhang to reflect much of the summer heat when the sun is at a higher altitude.

F) Are there any notable features of your site that would influence the orientation, location of windows and shading?
Because the buildings to the east block much of the morning sun than the west buildings do of the evening sun I would have most of the windows facing the east. However, because there is no other break from the sun during the hottest part of the day I would refrain from putting too many windows on the southern edge so as not to make the building too hot.


1 Comment

September 12, 2013 · 3:22 pm

One response to “Assignment #1: Sun Path Diagram

  1. Daniel

    Hello, I would like to use the image in this blog post for a publication I’m working on. Please contact me to discuss details. Thanks,


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