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Bioclimatic Design

We think holistically about the built environment and consider the effects of design and computational choices on the microclimate in and around our clients' buildings.

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Indoor ventilation study for an office space showing the age of air in minutes, of the incoming air through the HVAC system. Thornton Tomasetti
For our competition entry for a new multifunctional Arena in Vienna, Austria we studied the wind and its effects on the entrance areas and square to ensure a comfortable and safe environment for all visitors. Thornton Tomasetti
Study for pedestrian wind comfort at ground level around a new development in central London, UK. Thornton Tomasetti

As cities grow taller and denser, they present new performance challenges. How does a design approach affect wind patterns? Shading and daylighting? More than ever, we think holistically about the built environment and consider the effects of design choices on the microclimate in and around our clients' buildings.

Our approach to bioclimatic design includes a wide range of services:

  • Digital wind studies, including pedestrian comfort studies in the early design stages and structural-loading and façade-pressure studies
  • Solar radiation studies such as daylight/sunlight, shadow and glare studies
  • Thermal outdoor comfort

With a suite of custom-developed digital tools, we marry 3D design models with recognized analysis tools such as computational fluid dynamics (CFD) techniques. These studies ensure that outdoor urban spaces meet requirements for comfort, daylighting and wind conditions.

Digital wind studies are especially valuable from the concept phases of a master plan, up to detailed design for individual buildings. For a master plan study, iterative assessments of the pedestrian wind comfort at ground level and all accessible roof terraces provide critical feedback at early design stages. These assessments highlight any potential problem areas with suggestions for refinement. We work with the project team to develop and fine-tune design options.

Bioclimatic design services, coupled with our sustainability and façade services, can also assess daylight and sunlight studies throughout a master plan and evaluate glare effects from buildings. These studies ensure appropriate levels of daylight in public spaces, squares and parks within and adjacent to the development, ensuring comfort and well-being for all users of the urban space.

bioclimatic-design Thornton Tomasetti

With our Nuada.CFD, our digital wind tunnel, we are able to accurately simulate the effects of the wind on our environment. The video shows a simulation for the City of London, with wind velocity on a horizontal slice at 1.5m, and the yellow surfaces indicating vorticity around the corners of the buildings.

Related CFD Expertise

Capability: Expertise

Capability: Expertise

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