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© by PSP Volume 16 – No 10.

2007 Fresenius Environmental Bulletin

BETTER URBAN MICROCLIMATE VIA A PROPOSED
CITY PLANNING TOOL. A CASE STUDY IN GREECE

Lila Theodoridou-Sotiriou*, Glykeria Kariotou, Eleftherios Panagiotopoulos and George Kariotis

Technological Educational Institute of Serres, Department of Geoinformatics and Surveying, Serres, Greece

Presented at the 13th International Symposium on Environmental Pollution and its Impact
on Life in the Mediterranean Region (MESAEP), Thessaloniki, Greece, 08 – 12 Oct. 2005

SUMMARY INTRODUCTION

In Greece, the minimum mandatory distance (D) of a The typical south European city suffers from: a) traffic
building from the plot’s boundaries, relates only to the congestion, atmospheric pollution and noise, b) lack of open
building’s maximum height (H), given as D = 3 + 0.10*H. public spaces and green spaces, c) high densities, degrada-
This is the main institutional tool that shapes urban open tion of the urban environment, and d) insufficient arrange-
spaces and, consequently, the urban microclimate in Greece. ments for adequate sunning. Numerous E.U. policies al-
In this paper, we will illustrate a numerical model for city ready address the climatic change aiming to achieve sus-
planning, named D (b) in an attempt to define mandatory tainable city planning. A bioclimatic approach to urban
minimum distance between building structures on differ- planning can reduce adverse effects [1].
ent plots, taking into account the ground relief and climatic
conditions of an area. The methodology we used to create Morphological features of the built environment that
the model is based on bibliographical sources for biocli- have a special bearing on urban microclimate are: a) den-
matic design. In particular, we were interested in identify- sity and building system, b) geometry of urban street can-
ing data regarding the sun’s height angle (V sun), the height yons, c) structural materials of buildings, and d) open air
of the building causing shading (Z building), the desired spaces. Several variations of these featurescan influence:
shadow height (Z shadow), and the ground slope (ω). a) sunning and shading of the external surfaces of build-
ings, b) visibility of the celestial dome and, therefore, the
Our model was a pilot one applied in the city planning lighting and cooling of buildings and open spaces, c) air
of a sparsely built area (a separate unit) to be incorporated permeability of the urban tissue and, therefore, the airing
in the master plan of Serres town in Northern Greece. Two and cooling of the city, d) reflectiveness and thermal capac-
city planning scenarios were developed (one using the pres- ity of urban tissue and, therefore, the maximum values
ently applied, and the other using the proposed tool), and the and variations of air and surface temperature and e) green
results of the expected thermal islet, as given by the two content that, among others, influences air temperature [2].
scenarios, were evaluated in comparison.
In areas with Mediterranean climate like Greece, sun-
The results of this pilot program suggest that biocli- ning and solar ray protections are the key objectives for
matic distance between building structures [D (b)] contrib- bioclimatic design models [3]. Analytical elements for the
utes to the utilization of passive energy saving systems. specification of the sun’s position are height and azimuth
Thus, it could be institutionally utilized and, in combination angles for every given moment in time. The use of the
with currently observed distances, could constitute a valu- “apparent observed path of the sun” constitutes an impor-
able addition to the existing city planning tools in Greece. tant element for bioclimatic design [4]. Given particular
geographical latitude and atmospheric conditions, the con-
trolling factors of sunning are the geographical orientation
and breadth of streets, the choice of width for building poly-
gons, and the distance between building structures [5]. Dis-
KEYWORDS: Urban microclimate, building coefficient (BC), build-
ing heights, cylindrical diagrams of solar height and azimuth, bio- tance between building structures determines the minimum
climatic distance between buildings. width of building polygons as well as the minimum breadth
of streets. An increase in the breadth of streets can occur for
functional reasons [6]. Conversely, breadth can be decreased
(creation of pedestrian ways) by imposing larger portions
of plots as border space between buildings [7].

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requirements. if the upwards. ing from the factor of use. unhindered sunning. and render built structures tion of the specific area’s building coefficient (B. dergoing city planning interventions. ω is ground slope (positive or negative). directed ±25ο to the east or west of the South compass bear. Ζ is the height of face a) decreases as the angle of incidence on the atmos. the 2nd floor upward). to the specification of the maximum sloping ground. offices on the 1st floor.) while vulnerable to winter winds [12]. and distances between encing the shading of a space by a particular built struc.50ο at a horizontal projec- tion. atmospheric pollution) [10]. require sents the period with the smallest solar height angles of adequate sunning from the 1st floor above the ground and the year in the northern hemisphere. specific sunning requirements of most identical to that of Athens. since this date repre. According to GBR. has a ground slope. indi. Sο = Sk * cos(ω) (2) In high geographical latitudes. 2007 Fresenius Environmental Bulletin Despite of the above mentioned. If. such calculation would result in the creation of a thinly knit tional Building Regulation (NBR) of Greece. in turn. while the whole proce- dure must take into account cloud cover statistical data.V) Sο = * Ζ * cos ω (3) ing the ground is considerably smaller in mid-December sin(V + ω) and the sun’s perpendicular angle is rather small [11]. depending on whether the ground is sloping upwards or According to related legislation in force. with. urban tissue. is related to the duration of For rectangle CDB: daylight and the conditions of the atmosphere (cloud cover. depending on the specific use of buildings. This would increase the energy cost of people tion of maximum height allowed for a building is a func. date different than December 21st. solar radiation reach. MATERIALS AND METHODS The sunning of the façade of buildings is less impor- Methodology tant. shading height (Zsh) can be adopted. In Figure 1. = (1) sin(90 − V) sin(V + ω) face at an angle larger than 22. the obstacle (building). whereas S1 is the horizontal distance tude (NGL) occurs when the building’s longest axis is ori. phere becomes smaller. sin (90 . commercial uses on the achieve energy savings between 11% and 16. where the im- position at any given time. We thereby arrive. V is the sun’s declination angle. Buildings with ground-floor garage. If the vertical differentiation of space months and for more hours every day. and Ζsh is desired shading height as deriv- allowed height of a built structure (as per NBR).80 for areas of permanent stacle) of height Z. the gain would be minimal.g. where H stands for building height [8]. distance from plot boundaries is given by the formula D = The criterion of sunning must be based on a critical 3+0. and energy gain due to sunning conditions. distances between Sο is the horizontal distance between the shading buildings are calculated taking into account only the factor point of intersection on the sloping ground and the obsta- of the position of the sun. The intensity of solar radiation reaching the earth’s sur. which. Applying the ratio of cosines we have: ing. aiming at complete sunning of buildings. In cases where the ground-floor of buildings is amount of solar radiation (sunning) on a surface at noon on designed and constructed above ground level in order to December 21st is high enough. for areas un. not summer or secondary use housing). 37ο 58’). ΒC is the rectly albeit clearly. built structures can be calculated. and its largest façade is pendicular angle in combination with ground slope. dicates the solar ray intersecting the ground. cial establishments and offices have less significant sunning fers the simplest definition criterion. and c) depends on the dura. Commer- The selection of December 21st as the critical date of. d) pact of solar radiation is controlled and measured.50ο over the Sk Ζ horizon. b) the sun’s Ground slope on the North–South axis. height Ζ1 (aiming at securing adequate sunning).e. and cle (building).10*Η.C. c) the building’s function. Consequently. ΕΖ indicates the adjacent building of housing (i. ΑC in- out excluding certain exceptions. downwards. Sk is the sloping distance of shading on the ground. tion of sunning. ture are: a) the height of the built structure.5% of total ground-floor. b) depends on the cosine of the and CD is the horizontal distance between solar ray-ground angle of incidence on a surface. according to the Na. Factors influ. point of intersection and the obstacle.© by PSP Volume 16 – No 10. sunning is considered to be ade- quate when the sun is located higher than 7. movement and transportation. So is the horizontal distance for Maximum heat gain at 40ο North Geographical Lati. different sunning re- sunning to be at satisfactory levels during all remaining quirements apply. we could uses is predefined or foreseen (e. the calcula. the maximum Build. 1620 . residential uses from yearly energy consumption of buildings (at a latitude al. the straight line ΑΒ indicates building (ob- ing Coefficient (BC) is set at 0. we can naturally assume avoid excessive ground moisture. and e) distance to the next building that is positive or negative impact on the calculation of distance shaded [9]. so as to achieve the intended shading height for a given per- entated in an East-West direction. and solar rays fall on the building’s façade sur. In that case.

we have: Z Ζsh S1 A pilot application of the bioclimatic approach is pro- = ⇒ Ζsh = Ζ – Ζ * (4) vided here concerning a sparsely built area of the city of Sο Sο .5 89. taking into arrive at the following formula: account the factors already mentioned.5 16 233 5 236 7.05 83 7.5 272 36 16.5 29.30 72 7.5 5. we utilized the cylindrical diagram So 40ο NGL.15 131 7.5 12 180 26. Concerning the sun’s movement (Table 1).35 248 7.20 67.5 30 94 34.5 1621 .5 7.5 242 14 250 22 260 30 268 34.40 294 7.40 97 7.5 6. assuming that it approxi- mates data in our geographical area. urban master plan through a recently approved city plan- ning study. for which a given building height and perpendicular solar angle results in The city of Serres is approximately located at 41ο 05’ shading to a desired height Ζsh against a building.S1 Sο Serres. cos (V) ing being shaded.5 17. TABLE 1 .5 17.5 36 8.5 39 49 61 69 73 15.45 230 7.20 263 7.Schematic rendering of bioclimatic distance. Seeking to determine distance S1.55 278.5 18.25 113 7.5 18. with an azimuth clockwise one-way reference S1 = ( Z – Zsh ) * (5) Z and graphical value interpolation.5 119 14 111 22 101.5 6. we NGL. 2007 Fresenius Environmental Bulletin acclivity declivity S1 Ε S1 Α Α Ε 90-V 90-V Zsun Zsun Z1 Z Z Z1 H H V+ω So Zsh Zsh D C -ω Ζ Β V Sk (ground) Sk (ground) V-ω Β V +ω D Ζ C So FIGURE 1 . and has a height of Z1 [13] ? RESULTS AND DISCUSSION Applying equality of triangles. and an alternative application is provided. HOUR DECEMBER JANUARY FEBRUARY MARCH APRIL MAY JUNE S NOVEMBER OCTOBER SEPTEMBER AUGUST JULY Η V Η V Η V Η V Η V Η V Η V 5. an area that has been lately included in the city’s Ζsh is the shaded height of a building.5 7.5 8 128 5 126 7.Movement of the sun. given the sun’s angle and ground slope ⇒ S1 = * ( Ζ – Zsh ) * cos ω (6) when the adjacent building is situated at an horizontal dis- sin(V + ω) tance S1 from a building considered as a sunning obstacle.© by PSP Volume 16 – No 10. The question raising is what is the extent of the build.5 7.30 290 7.

50 + ω ) ing structures. i.97 17.00 -6.55 20.00 4. D(b)= Ground slope Ground slope sin(29. Build.50 3. local road.C. and set.00 -2.68 22.33 14.84 15.50 -16. pedes- ploitable solar energy must be calculated for a solar decli.84 21.50 6.94 8.50.38 9.Downward slope with N-S orientation cos(29.80 10.00 9.40 10.46 13. and a negative sign for same building polygon or in different ones.86 12.00 -9.00 0.50)*(Ζbuilding-Ζshadow)*cos|ω| Max.91 13. functional distance can be increased or decreased nation angle at 12 noon for the period January 21st – No.82 19.60 16.94 11.60 16.92 23.00 -4.84 23.79 24.50 16.50 12.44 15.94 8.00 -4. 7.12 14.56 15.12 14. those concerning cloud cover.12 14.50. therefore.65 10.57 23.50 m).80 10.30 10.09 7.94 11.09 18.82 15.00 12.00 2.00 2.26 11.86 21.26 10.21 18.44 12.00 -4.97 4.37 10.50 0.12 10.00.00 -2.60 13.00 0.50 (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) (9) (10) 0.12 10.53 15. 6.00 -4.41 8.00 7.90 * (Zbuilding − Zshading) * cos | ω | (7) Formula (7) illustrates the total distance between build- sin( 29.18 18.50 6.00.84 30.57 25.91 18.81 17.88 22.57 30.50 0.58 16.97 17.56 5.33 14.71 10.26 13. ing height (%) at angle ω Zshadow (Ζ) 0.26 10. 3. D(b)= Ground slope Ground slope sin(29. From the ground relief.57 21.00 9.e.79 0.70 21.94 15.73 10.47 12.00 23.50 -12. breadth of the required public-use area to be used for func- lar.61 15.09 6.50 8.00 -9.26 13. where ground slope ω is expressed in degrees with a mined by calculating whether they are situated within the positive sign for upward slopes.55 20.50 -8.97 33.00 1. 2007 Fresenius Environmental Bulletin Evaluating data of the area’s climate and. with the introduction of an area defined as border space be- vember.43 4. ments and the following formula is derived: ting the desired degree of shading (Ζsh = 0.33 8.00 0.29 17.86 12.50 (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) (9) (10) 0.19 16.41 13.00 -9.47 12.00.18 18.09 36.80 15.27 6.50 4.00 7.84 33.62 18.00 -2.65 30.00 4.00 4.00 16.57 16. 4. divided in two seg- slope on the N-S axis using the previous equation.19 16.33 8.29 24.09 25.50+ω) B.82 13.69 17.00 18.68 22.26 11.50 + ω ) Therefore.50 -16.97 17.50 -4.67 18.28 26.00 1. 1.38 15.80 15.88 22.82 19.48 14.50 15.79 24.00 -16.57 25.29 6.26 6.75 13.48 14.00 0.© by PSP Volume 16 – No 10.88 22.45 * (Zbuilding − Zshading) * cos | ω | (8) and 3.56 15.26 15.50 3.50ο: tween buildings.90 13.00 4.57 27.91 13.50 -8.56 15.51 23.12 10.31 13. TABLE 2 .50 4.84 19.57 20. we derive the results shown in Tables 2 D (b) of plot ≅ 0. in particu.00 9.47 12.C.18 18.31 13.80 13.50+ω) B.53 15.33 TABLE 3 .29 19.40 10.29 22.91 18.26 13.53 14. 29.79 11.00 2.00 4.40 10. D (b) ≅ 0.75 6.80 13. ing height (%) at angle ω Zshadow (Ζ) 0.29 28. Calculating the downward ones).48 1622 .62 18. it is assumed that ex.94 11.50 16.00 -6.69 17.20 4.50 12.29 19.21 18.61 9.00 6.44 12.09 14.00 6.00 4.95 5.55 20.00 -12.13 0.88 27. Distance D must be an expression of the dis- tance between the building structure and the plot’s borders.90 7.27 0.86 12.27 29. we calculate the mean ground The calculated distance S1 is.70 21.56 4.38 9.Upward slope with N-S orientation cos(29.00 6.50)*(Ζbuilding-Ζshadow)*cos|ω| Max.50 -4.23 20.58 16.50 -12. tional purposes (trunk-road feeder road. trian way)..00 -8.33 14.60 7. the distance between houses can be deter.39 0.92 23..53 15.29 19.28 26.27 29.86 21.29 25.18 10.35 9.61 9. sin( 29.35 13.53 25.95 10.91 13.29 13.09 20.53 14.62 18.09 33.00 26. Build.76 22.19 16.46 10.50 8.26 15.87 19.50 15.31 13.00 8.82 13.00 -6.81 17.

© by PSP Volume 16 – No 10.Built structure arrangements in various street orientations. 2). in conformity with bioclimatic distance. 1623 . for various road orientations (Fig. adopting the maxi- climatic distance.80. 2007 Fresenius Environmental Bulletin Applying the above formula and conforming to bio. Thus. both regarding the N-S axis orientation mum allowed BC = 0. FIGURE 2 . 3. as minimum schematic arrangements of building polygons shown in Fig. 2). we arrived at the city and an orientation ±30ο degrees (Fig. we calculate the planning arrangement of a unit of the city of Serres.

Schematic arrangement of buildings. 2007 Fresenius Environmental Bulletin FIGURE 3 .© by PSP Volume 16 – No 10. 1624 . in conformity with bioclimatic distance.

00 24.50 5.89 1.28 3.81 37. where solving the individual problem seriously burdens the should constitute an innovative tool for a rapprochement of collective ecological problem.10*Ζbuilding) mula does not provide for ground slope. 2007 Fresenius Environmental Bulletin The depiction of microclimatic changes.50 5.50 8.30 60.80 10.81 29. It is obvious that the generalized use of the ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS formula should result in an easy-to-follow calculation pro- cedure. (10) and (13) refer to tance between built structures and to allow comparison angle V created by the adoption of the corresponding for- with the proposed bioclimatic distance D(b).28 26.50 8.61 7.28 23.93 10.03 6.00 9. 1625 . Columns (4).95 34. humans and nature. areas is expressed by the relationship: TABLE 4 . while related data converted into table form may constitute a control tool for the study.00 16.50 9.66 6. and can be Based on empirical studies. They express the angle formed (H / B).C.80 13.16 15.64 0.26 38.00 13. Committee of the Technological Education Institute of ing condition in the Official Journal Issue.00 21.Thermal islet differences (two scenarios). The shaping of residential and urban landscapes is a Finally. building height (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) (9) (10) (11) (12) (13) (14) 0.21 40.28 23.26 31.97ln(Υ/Π) ΔΤ(a-υ)max=7.56 36.50 5. with a given level (horizontal) ground. will be underlined and brought forward through a scenarios.12 29. mula.26 45.59 9.56 36.30 56.00 10. D(b) = cos(Vsun) * (Zbuilding- D(b) = cos(Vsun) * (Zbuilding- D(b) = cos(Vsun) * (Zbuilding- ΔΤ(a-υ)max=7.51 29.00 10.56 29.70 57.61 1. towards an ecologically ac. or a tabulation of related data for standardized use.© by PSP Volume 16 – No 10.00 9.28 42.12 36.52 7.00+0.56 29.67 45.91 43.40 27.48 5.28 13. the by the application. including the Serres for partial funding of this work.28 13. to de- geometrical characteristics (height and breadth) of a “can.54+3.28 31.93 10. termine the date when the particular point is exposed to yon”.40 67.51 34.61 2.04 9.52 7.64 7.38 6.82 29.75 37.32 6.54 + 3.86 29.04 31. through the construction-acceptance of ceptable community characterized by low inputs.57 26.42 32.40 68.28 13.89 1.98 5.00 9.54+3.28 26.50 5.27 6.96 47.20 9. brought about ΔΤa-u (max) = 7.00 m.60 21.50 5.57 18. and by engineers or town planners when issuing new build- ing permits.42 29. by the impact of human activity on the natural environ.28 23.28 21. since the NBR for- scribed by the NBR in force (D = 3.81 31.00 21.50 8. the proposed bioclimatic distance.60 61.26 45.08 18.00) * cos|ω| sin(Vsun+ω) 3.03 6.31 1.43 5. Comparison of the two formulas is done currently applied distance between built structures as pre.60 61.28 51.51 34.72 29.10 52.17 6.28 18.61 0.03 6.00 12.70 57.97ln(Υ/Π) 0.00) * cos|ω| sin(Vsun+ω) Δ= 2 * (3+0.95 52.00 59. expected quantitative comparison of the urban heat islet of (a).12 32.32 7.80 15.00 11.41 37.51 38.86 8.28 18. and taking into account the compared with the solar height angle V in Table 1.54+3.86 34.89 26. climatic distance includes comparisons of shaded heights of scribed distance D is doubled in order to render the dis.21 35.00 18.81 29.97 * ln (Height / Breadth).42 2..35 8.89 5.71 42.00 and 6.50 5.04 31.32 6.10*Η) V angle created V angle created V angle created V angle created Maximum B.85 6. the difference of temperature between urban and rural solar rays.54+3.20 64.16 29.03 6.38 6.09 10. as well as the results of the thermal islet.80 65.20 18. planners and supervisors of city planning implementation.82 11.21 40.50 5.00 32.50 5.20 9. We would like to express our gratitude to the Research This simplified formula type may be described as a build.86 29. requisite corresponding specifications and commitments.07 1.81 33. the use of bioclimatic distance D(b) with the step of the procedure of an energy wasting community.50 5.77 10.10 CONCLUDING REMARKS text of the city planning study. (7).56 41.17 6. The proposed bio- and (b). Table 4 shows comparative data of the two application ment.97ln(Υ/Π) ΔΤ(a-υ)max=7.11 10.28 37. the rights of adjacent property owners and the society as a The bioclimatic distance formula can be utilized by city whole. 3.50 5.50 5. The NBR-pre.97ln(Υ/Π) ΔΤ(a-υ)max=7.00) * cos|ω| sin(Vsun+ω) 6.

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