In today's construction world, a site is much more than just earth on which to locate a building. With today's high rate of urban sprawl, declining natural resources and increasing threats of pollution, concerns over human health and environmental degradation are causing contractors to re-evaluate their building practices, and there is no better place to start than at the site.
Numerous site-related factors must be re-examined, including social, economic, and environmental, while responding to the particular requirements of building owners at the same time. Because of increased public awareness on the need for sustainable construction, many building owners are now keen on constructing 'green' buildings. To accomplish this requirement, architects and building designers need to consider and address the following factors:
In green-building, the microclimate of the site will have the greatest impact on the design of a building, and it can vary considerably from site to site. It prescribes the most appropriate passive design strategies for the building site. There are many climatic factors that will need to be taken into account, including temperature, humidity, wind, solar position, just to mention a few. These factors will impact how the building will be positioned at the site, but also what type of construction products will need to be used. If building designers understand the solar path relative to a site, they can recommend a building orientation that takes advantage of natural daylighting and natural ventilation.
For buildings that require winter heating, northern orientation is desirable because north-facing windows get more exposure to the Sun in winter than in summer, for example. A building located on a site that experiences long, sunny days for the most part of the year will demand a greater investment in window treatments such as awnings and sun control films, as well as shade trees to minimise energy bills.
Human Thermal Comfort
Buildings can only be considered to be energy efficient when those occupying it feel comfortable, and energy use is still optimised. How a site "feels" will significantly impact the building design by dictating how builders can maximise indoor comfort and make the most out of outdoor living spaces. Including patios, decks, verandahs, or other functional outdoor spaces can reduce the indoor square footage that needs to be built and then air-conditioned. And, who can overlook the physical and psychological benefits of spending time outdoors?
Going 'green' is a good move because it promotes good human and environmental health, but also keeps energy costs down. Therefore, you should have a comprehensive site analysis carried out before getting started with your building project.