Monash University

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Modelling solar access for urban sustainable development

posted on 2017-02-21, 23:25 authored by Li, Yang
With the increasing environmental issues caused by burning fossil fuels, renewable energy, especially solar energy, is accepted and widely used in the world. However, in the urban area, with the density of buildings, solar access could be limited by the shadow from nearby man-made objects and vegetations. Therefore, sustainably developing cities without restricting solar irradiation for the active and passive applications is attracting extensive attention. The aim of this thesis is to provide a tool for urban designers and planners to predict solar energy in obstructed situations in the urban area. In this thesis, a comprehensive method related to inter-discipline for modelling solar access in an urban area is presented. This method introduces 3D urban construction, shading analysis and solar energy evaluation. A case study of Glen Waverley in Victoria, Australia is used to illustrate the method. In this case study, the detailed geometric urban model is generated by combining building footprints, aerial photos and LiDAR data. This intermediate result of the 3D urban model is used for the environmental analysis of both shading analysis and solar analysis. A scenario analysis is also conducted into how the construction of a multi-storey car park in the study area affects the solar access of its adjacent area. Then, a test for application is the erection of a multi-storey car park in the study area. The result shows that this approach can offer an invaluable and effective tool for the estimation of solar irradiation and an improved urban plan considering solar energy in a neighbourhood.


Campus location


Principal supervisor

Xuan Zhu

Year of Award


Department, School or Centre

Earth, Atmosphere and Environment


Master of Science

Degree Type



Faculty of Science

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