The CIimate of

TaII BuiIdings:
An investigation
of buiIding height
in bio-cIimatic
design
Peter St. CIair
QueensIand GaIIery of Modern Art
Peter St. Clair 1 24/02/2010
THE CLIMATE OF TALL BUILDINGS :
AN INVESTIGATION OF BUILDING HEIGHT IN BIO-CLIMATIC
DESIGN
Table of Contents
1 INTRODUCTION ........................................................................................................ 6
1.1 Introduction to the Topic ................................................................................. 6
1.2 Reasons for the Study .................................................................................... 7
1.3 Previous Related Studies of Building Height and Sustainable Design................ 7
1.4 Organisation of the Study ............................................................................... 7
2 RESEARCH OBJECTIVES & METHODOLOGY.......................................................... 9
2.1 Key Objectives of the Research Report ........................................................... 9
2.2 Scope of study - definitions of tall buildings ...................................................... 9
2.3 Methodology for sourcing vertical climate data................................................. 9
2.4 Methodology for thermal imaging studies....................................................... 10
3 LITERATURE REVIEW OF VARIATIONS IN MICRO-CLIMATE WITH INCREASING
HEIGHT ABOVE THE GROUND ........................................................................... 12
3.1 Introduction ................................................................................................. 12
3.2 Climate scale and sources of measurements................................................. 12
3.3 Urban influences on rural micro-climate......................................................... 12
3.4 Variations in solar radiation with increasing height ......................................... 13
3.5 Variations in air temperature with increasing height ........................................ 14
3.6 Variations in humidity with increasing height .................................................. 16
3.7 Variations in wind velocity and direction with increasing height ....................... 17
3.8 Variations in building infiltration with increasing height .................................... 19
3.9 Variations in air pressure with increasing height ............................................. 19
3.10 Variations in rainfall with increasing height..................................................... 20
3.11 Variations in building energy usage with increasing height .............................. 21
3.12 Variations in embodied energy usage with increasing height........................... 22
3.13 Summary .................................................................................................... 23
3.13.1 Nature and gradients of micro-climates in rural and urban areas ......... 23
3.13.2 Effect of building height on energy usage and internal micro-climates in
tall buildings .................................................................................... 24
4 FIELD MEASUREMENTS OF VARIATIONS IN FAÇADE THERMAL RADIANT
TEMPERATURES WITH INCREASING HEIGHT ABOVE THE GROUND................ 26
4.1 Introduction ................................................................................................. 26
4.2 Time and weather conditions ........................................................................ 26
4.3 Image results & observations ........................................................................ 27
4.3.1 Eastern elevation............................................................................. 27
4.3.2 Northern elevation ........................................................................... 28
4.3.3 Western elevation............................................................................ 29
4.3.4 South elevation ............................................................................... 30
4.3.5 North elevation podium.................................................................... 31
4.4 Summary of variations and gradients of radiant temperature changes in field
study........................................................................................................... 31
5 ANALYSIS OF VERTICAL MICRO-CLIMATE DATA FROM THE LITERATURE
REVIEW & FIELD STUDY..................................................................................... 33
5.1 Analysis of vertical climate data and principles from the literature review......... 33
5.1.1 Classification of vertical climate zones .............................................. 36
5.2 Analysis of thermal imaging of the MLC Centre.............................................. 36
5.3 Diagrammatic analysis of the effects of building height on micro-climate &
building characteristics................................................................................. 38
5.4 Case study of the application of temperature lapse rate to HVAC design in the
Freedom Tower ........................................................................................... 39
5.5 Summary of analysis for tall buildings in urban locations................................. 40
Peter St. Clair 2 24/02/2010
6 DISCUSSION & POSSIBLE APPLICATIONS OF BUILDING HEIGHT TO THE BIO-
CLIMATIC DESIGN OF TALL BUILDINGS ............................................................ 42
6.1 Discussion of vertical micro-climate characteristics & atmospheric processes .. 42
6.1.1 Patterns of micro-climate in urban areas – the case for the use of
building height in bio-climatic design................................................. 42
6.1.2 Variability of micro-climate in urban areas - the case against the use of
building height ................................................................................. 43
6.2 Possible applications of building height & the “vertical micro-climate” to Bio-
Climatic Design ........................................................................................... 44
6.2.1 Building operational energy performance .......................................... 44
6.2.2 Building performance and durability .................................................. 45
6.2.3 Building energy generation............................................................... 45
6.2.4 Building types and locations ............................................................. 48
6.3 Bio-climatic design tactics for tall buil dings based upon building height ............ 48
6.4 Relationship of building height & vertical micro-climate to other aspects of
sustainable development .............................................................................. 52
6.5 Summary of potential applications to bio-climatic design................................. 52
7 CONCLUSION ......................................................................................................... 53
7.1 Implications ................................................................................................. 53
7.2 Future research........................................................................................... 55
8 APPENDIX............................................................................................................... 56
8.1 Additional field measurement data................................................................ 56
8.1.1 Eastern Elevation ............................................................................ 56
8.1.2 Northern elevation ........................................................................... 56
8.1.3 West elevation................................................................................. 56
8.1.4 South elevation ............................................................................... 56
8.1.5 North elevation podium.................................................................... 57
9 REFERENCES ......................................................................................................... 58

Peter St. Clair 3 24/02/2010
List of Figures
Figure 1 – Ken Yeang’s proposal for the Tokyo Nara Tower of 180 storeys .......................... 5
Figure 2 – 350 m radius study area surroundi ng MLC Centre in Sydney CBD..................... 11
Figure 3 – Urban canopy layer and urban boundary layer .................................................. 13
Figure 4 - The affect of solar radiation on tall buildings ...................................................... 13
Figure 5 - Additional reflection & absorption of sunlight & shade around tall buildings .......... 14
Figure 6 - Diurnal variation of temperature lapse rate in a rural environment ....................... 14
Figure 7 – Influence of seasons and weather on temperature variation near the ground ...... 15
Figure 8 – Decreasing temperature fluctuation with height above the ground ...................... 15
Figure 9 – The effect of wind on temperature gradients (lapse rates).................................. 16
Figure 10 - Water vapour stratification in the lowest 100m on clear days ............................ 16
Figure 11 - Diurnal variation of wind speed at different heights........................................... 17
Figure 12 – Reduction in wind speeds due to terrain roughness......................................... 18
Figure 13 – Effects of building type and height on wind turbines......................................... 18
Figure 14 - Wind flow around a tall building ...................................................................... 19
Figure 15 - Mass air flow with varying wind speeds & increasing building height ................. 19
Figure 16 - Stack effect for idealized building .................................................................... 20
Figure 17 – Driving rain intensity on a tall building............................................................. 21
Figure 18– Annual electricity consumption in a 12 storey apartment building ...................... 22
Figure 19 – Relationship of energy use & building height in Hong Kong commercial buildings
...................................................................................................................................... 22
Figure 20 – Embodied energy variation with increasing height ........................................... 23
Figure 21 – Relationship of building height and weight ...................................................... 23
Figure 22 – The MLC Centre looking north with denser building clusters beyond ................ 26
Figure 23 – Time and weather conditions ......................................................................... 26
Figure 24 – Digital and IR image of MLC Centre east elevation.......................................... 27
Figure 25 – Vertical radiant temperatures ......................................................................... 27
Figure 26 – Digital and IR image of MLC Centre north elevation ........................................ 28
Figure 27 – Vertical radiant temperatures ......................................................................... 28
Figure 28 – Digital and IR image of MLC Centre west elevation ......................................... 29
Figure 29 – Vertical radiant temperatures ......................................................................... 29
Figure 30 – Digital and IR image of MLC Centre south elevation ........................................ 30
Figure 31 – Vertical radiant temperatures ......................................................................... 30
Figure 32 – Digital and IR image of MLC Centre podium north elevation............................. 31
Figure 33 – Vertical radiant temperatures ......................................................................... 31
Figure 34 – Analysis of effects of building height on vertical micro-climate.......................... 39
Figure 35 – Freedom Tower by SOM ............................................................................... 40
Figure 36 – Urban climate zones by Stewart and Oke ....................................................... 43
Figure 37 – Approaches to bio-climatic design & enhanced bio-climatic design................... 44
Figure 38 - DMC Tower ................................................................................................... 46
Figure 39- The Pearl River Tower .................................................................................... 47
Figure 40 – Electricity potential for increasing floor numbers and locations ......................... 47
Figure 41 – Thermal imaging data summary (east elevation) ............................................. 56
Figure 42 – Thermal imaging data summary (north elevation) ............................................ 56
Figure 43 – Thermal imaging data summary (west elevation)............................................. 56
Figure 44 – Thermal imaging data summary (south elevation) ........................................... 56
Figure 45 – Thermal imaging data summary (north elevation podium) ................................ 57


|
Peter St. Clair 4 24/02/2010
List of Tables
Table 1 – Analysis of vertical micro-climate characteristics in rural and urban locations from
the literature review & field measurements ....................................................................... 33
Table 2 – Summary of thermal imaging data for the MLC Centre considering only the subject
building facades.............................................................................................................. 37
Table 3 – Summary of thermal imaging data for the MLC Centre considering the subject
building facades & adjacent low rise building facades........................................................ 37
Table 4- Conceptual bio-climatic tactics for tall building elements, form and fabric............... 49

Acknowledgements
Krishna Munsami for his technical expertise and use of thermal photography equipment.
Haico Schepers from Arup for initial discussions of ideas.
Chris Arkins from Steenson Varming for discussions of mechanical engineering design
methods and possible applications of vertical climate.

























































Peter St. Clair 5 24/02/2010











Figure 1 – Ken Yeang’s proposal for the Tokyo Nara Tower of 180 storeys
(Johnson 2004, p108)
Peter St. Clair 6 24/02/2010
1 INTRODUCTION
1.1 Introduction to the Topic
In tropical cities such as Singapore the climate above the urban canopy is milder and not subject
to the same temperature and humidity as at street level where solar radiation is absorbed by the
ground (Beedle, Ali & Armstrong 2007). These improved comfort conditions may provide
opportunities for low energy solutions such as passive cooling whilst also promoting outdoor
living. In Hong Kong where residents’ desires for better views and increased access to daylight
and fresh air have been a principle driver for increases in building height, the higher levels of
buildings are sought after. In cold climates such as in Moscow the lower levels of tall buildings
can provide better living conditions where the higher levels over-heat due to vertical pressure
differences causing mechanically warmed air to rise through stairs and shafts.
External conditions that vary with height include the surrounding building densities and heights,
day lighting levels and reflections from roof tops. The internal character of tall buildings change
with height through varying structural requirements, window to wall ratios, levels of privacy and
outlook. The opportunities to harness the wind and sun for renewable energy are also reported to
increase with additional height above the ground. On the other hand the embodied energy of
materials increases and floor area and cost efficiencies decrease with increased height above the
ground as a result of the increasing structural demands.
Tall buildings consist of many external and internal conditions that vary incrementally with
increased height above the ground. This is distinctly different to low-rise buildings that are
exposed to a limited number of micro-climatic variations at ground level. The use of micro-
climatic design in low-rise buildings is well established where local variations in soil conditions,
topography and vegetation result in varying solar access, temperature, airflow and humidity wind
patterns. In this case bio-climatic design applies the varying horizontal micro-climate conditions
through climate matching tactics such as site planning, correct orientation and variations in
façade and material type to reduce operational energy usage and improve human comfort.
Bio-climatic design tactics for tall buildings are largely undifferentiated from those employed for
low-rise buildings responding primarily to orientation and not height above the ground. This is in
contrast to the structural design of tall buildings which must consider varying external forces
such as wind loads that result from increasing wind speeds with height. Architectural and
environmental control solutions rarely respond to building height and instead provide uniform
facades from the ground to roof level.
This report investigates the nature and gradient of vertical changes in micro-climate and
atmospheric processes to consider if they support new or enhanced tactics for bio-climatic
design. It evaluates the application of building height to the bio-climatic design of tall buildings
through the use of micro-climatology, urban climatology and thermal imaging. The report
integrates results of past related studies and considers case study examples.
The basis of this investigation is Rudolf Geiger’s seminal work ‘The Climate Near the Ground’
which presents hundreds of studies by micro-climatologists from the time of it’s first edition in
1927 to more recent studies included in the 2009 edition. This includes measurements of vertical
changes in climate with increasing distance from the ground. The additional influences of the
urban environment on the vertical climate are investigated based upon research by Oke and other
urban climatologists who identified the Urban Heat Island effect. More recently Stewart and Oke
have developed a system for classifying local climates in cities that may assist with the assessment
of tall building micro-climates on urban sites. The study includes field measurements of thermal
radiant temperature of a 228m tall commercial building in the Sydney CBD. The vertical climate
of rural areas and urban areas are compared with these field measurements to determine if
applications exist to the bio-climatic design of tall buildings typically located in urban locations.
The report concludes with a series of conceptual bio-climatic design tactics related to building
height that will form the basis of proposed future research and development and may contribute
to a design primer for architects and engineers.
Peter St. Clair 7 24/02/2010
1.2 Reasons for the Study
This study seeks to make a contribution to the field of ecologically sustainable design by
promoting a climate responsive design model for tall buildings. This can contribute to climate
mitigation, improved human health and a regionally appropriate model for tall buildings in the
developed and developing world. Specific reasons include:
1. The 21
st
century will be unique in seeing an unprecedented growth in man-made climate
change. During the next three decades, the world population is expected to increase
from 6.1 to 8.1 billion (Roth 2009 p1) with much of this growth concentrated in tall
buildings in urban areas located in less developed countries.
2. Tall buildings generate a significant level of green house gases due to their high
dependency upon air conditioning and lighting and the high embodied energy content of
their special structural systems. These systems can lead to an energy usage double that of
a low-rise building of the same area (Roaf 2005, p247, 256).
3. Climate sensitive design can cut heating and cooling energy use by 60% in commercial
buildings and 70% in residential buildings and so may represent the single largest means
to reduce the environmental impact of buildings (Roodman & Lenssen 1995 pp33, 38,
39).
4. Global reductions in energy supply and access may reduce the continuing viability of
total HVAC solutions in tall buildings. Lower energy models that harness and modify
the micro-climate may provide necessary alternatives.
5. There is an absence of meteorological information and performance guidelines regarding
vertical surfaces in cities (Oliver 2005).
6. Much of the bio-climatic design literature considers low-rise buildings. The literature
related to tall buildings distinguishes bio-climatic design strategies by climate zone and
does not consider building height.
1.3 Previous Related Studies of Building Height and Sustainable Design
1. Ken Yeang and engineers Battle McCarthy described generic changes in structural and
environmental conditions with increased height for the Nara Tower, an unbuilt project
of eighty storeys in Tokyo (Richards 2001, p72, 73).
2. Leung and Weismantle of SOM examined the application of temperature lapse rates to
super tall buildings showing reductions in energy usage through the use of Energy Plus
modelling of multiple vertical and horizontal compartments. Whilst the focus of the
paper is on HVAC design they conclude with suggestions for architectural treatments
(Leung and Weismantle 2008).
3. Guthrie of Arup reviewed the relationship of tall buildings and renewable energy
showing that whilst winds increase with height this may not support building integrated
wind generation (Guthrie 2008).
4. Ronald reviewed a broad range of related issues asking the question “How tall is a
sustainable building?”. He concludes there is not adequate research available to
determine this and few tools and models with which to optimise the benefits of height
against the greater resource usage required for tall buildings (Ronald 2008).
1.4 Organisation of the Study
Chapter 2 describes the research objectives, methodologies and definition of tall buildings
employed in this study. Chapter 3 reviews vertical micro-climatic principles and data from the
literature related to natural and urban environments and the internal micro-climates of tall
buildings. Chapter 4 provides field measurements of the vertical distribution of thermal radiant
temperatures in a 228m high commercial building in the Sydney metropolitan centre. Chapter 5
analyses relationships between the literature and field measurements in the context of bio-
climatic design. Chapter 6 discusses the case for and against the use of vertical climate principles
Peter St. Clair 8 24/02/2010
and possible applications to bio-climatic design. It provides conceptual building tactics that with
further development may provide a design primer for building design professionals. Chapter 7
presents the conclusions and identifies further research necessary to establish if the vertical
micro-climate concept can contribute to practical and verifiable climate mitigation applications in
tall buildings.
Peter St. Clair 9 24/02/2010
2 RESEARCH OBJECTIVES & METHODOLOGY
2.1 Key Objectives of the Research Report
The objectives of this report are to:

1. Investigate the nature and gradient of changes in vertical climate in the natural and urban
environments as documented by micro-climatologists and urban climatologists and
analyse possible applications to the bio-climatic design of tall buildings. Consider how
these climatic characteristics may vary to those of low-rise buildings.
2. Investigate the effect of building height on energy usage and explore if increasing
building height could reduce operational energy usage and off-set the increased
operational and embodied energy inherent in taller structures.
3. Measure the quantitative effects of building height on the outdoor temperature of a tall
building in an urban area and compare the results to the principles and data determined
from the literature review.
4. Assess the value and applications of vertical micro-climate to the bio-climatic design of
tall buildings based on the extent of evidence. Develop conceptual bio-climatic building
tactics based upon building height as a design primer for architects and as a basis for
future research.
5. Build upon previous related studies of building height by considering the application of
micro-climatology and thermal imaging not seen in the literature and considering the
implications to architects.
2.2 Scope of study - definitions of tall buildings
Definitions of tall buildings can help to identify the differences between tall buildings and low
rise buildings. The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat does not define tall buildings in
terms of the number of floors but by “whether or not the design, operation or urban impact are
influenced by the quality of tallness and require special measures in planning, design and
construction when compared with buildings representative of ordinary construction” (Beedle
1978, p7). Other tall building characteristics that distinguish them from low-rise buildings include
high net density (ratio of floor space to area of site) and a building height that extends above the
urban canopy.
Yeang provides a definition for skyscrapers as ‘essentially a tall building with a small footprint
and small roof area with tall facades’ (Yeang 1999, p24). His definition distinguishes between
skyscrapers, medium-rise and low-rise buildings however common to Beedle he differentiates tall
buildings by their special structural and engineering systems that result from their height.
ASHRAE defines tall buildings as those higher than 91m (Ellis, Torcellini 2005). Buildings taller
than 305 m are commonly referred to as “super tall”.
The definition employed for this report is by the British Council for Office Tall Buildings
Working Party which defines tall buildings as ‘a tall building is not a low building that is simply
extruded vertically, but one that is differently designed’. Importantly the threshold at which tall
buildings become technically distinct is identified as 20 storeys (approximately 80 metres). Step
changes occur in construction costs with increasing building height where for example structural
design must be enhanced and area efficiencies and economic returns are reduced with every
additional 10-20 levels (Strelitz 2005, pp7-9).
2.3 Methodology for sourcing vertical climate data
Little literature exists on the applications of vertical changes in climate to building design. The
methodology is therefore to identify principles and data from disciplines including micro-
climatology, urban and building climatology, atmospheric sciences and services engineering. This
includes detail meteorological data by Geiger typically measured in rural areas, climatic and
thermodynamic principles describing the moderating effects of cities by Oke, gradient scales such
Peter St. Clair 10 24/02/2010
as the Beaufort Wind Scale which consider terrain roughness and the International Standard
Atmosphere. Conceptual investigations by Battle McCarthy for the experimental design of the
Tokyo Nara Tower are reviewed which consists of diagrams with brief notes but without
scientific references.
2.4 Methodology for thermal imaging studies
The objective of the field study was to draw conclusions regarding the effects of urban
conditions on the vertical variations and gradients of air temperature shown by micro-
climatologists in the natural environment. Thermal imaging measures radiant temperature which
is the energy emitted from heat sources in the environment such as facades and roads. Measuring
the external radiant temperatures of facades provides some correlations with air temperature.
This is a key factor in determining the suitability of passive strategies such as natural ventilation
and the use of thermal mass. Thermal imaging also provides complete data for all points within
the image that could not be achieved with thermometers. Radiant temperatures also provide an
indication of sol-air temperatures and the associated heat transfer through facades giving an
indication of how cooling loads may vary with building height.
The building selected was the MLC Centre in the Sydney CBD which at the time of its
completion was the tallest building in the world outside of North America. At 228m it remains
one of the tallest buildings in the world constructed of reinforced concrete and was Sydney's
tallest office building from 1977 to 1992
(http://www.emporis.com/application/?nav=building&lng=3&id=108161). It was selected for
this study due to it:
 Being the second tallest building in the Sydney CBD it provides the opportunity to
measure temperature from street level to a point above the urban canopy due to the
surrounding lower height buildings.
 The MLC Centre contains a variety of frontages to enclosed streets, open urban spaces
and closely positioned buildings of a variety of heights providing the opportunity to
measure temperature to facades that vary in exposure to building density and solar
radiation.
 The relatively high degree of openness surrounding the building provides the
opportunity for full height images of the building and adjacent buildings and streets
from a variety of locations.
 The octagonal plan shape and uniform elevation design removes self shading effects that
may otherwise be caused to solar access and wind movement. The elevations are
oriented towards the eight 8 cardinal directions allowing the effects of sun movement on
differently oriented facades to be considered.
The methodology used for the photography was to calculate the distance required from the
building based on focal length and scribe a 350m radius around the building (Figure 2). Four
locations were then identified to the north, west, south and east from which to photograph the
building. The photography was completed on a warm day with low-medium wind speeds typical
of a summer’s day in Sydney. The time selected was from 7.15pm onwards which was
immediately after sunset. The camera equipment used was a Flir B660.
Peter St. Clair 11 24/02/2010

Figure 2 – 350 m radius study area surrounding MLC Centre in Sydney CBD
(1- Camera position for east elevation, 21- Camera position for north elevation, 3- Camera position for west elevation,
4 - Camera position for south elevation)

Peter St. Clair 12 24/02/2010
3 LITERATURE REVIEW OF VARIATIONS IN MICRO-CLIMATE WITH
INCREASING HEIGHT ABOVE THE GROUND
3.1 Introduction
Micro-climatology is considered a sub-division of climatology. Oliver defines this as the scientific
study of micro-climates focused on the atmospheric layer between the ground and a point at
which the effects of the ground features such as vegetation cover, slope and building density
cannot be distinguished from local climate. Micro-climates extend vertically from just below the
ground to several hundred metres above the ground during the night and to approximately one
kilometre above the ground during the day when the effect of solar radiation is greatest. The
horizontal extent of micro-climate is considered to extend from several millimetres to one
kilometre (Oliver 2005, p486).
The scale of climate most commonly applied to bio-climatic design is meso-climate which
dictates mean solar radiation, temperatures and rainfall across a region. However there is less
attention paid to the local climate or micro-climate. Page shows this is of particular importance in
the design of tall buildings where there are significant variations in local climate dependent upon
building density and height contributing to the Urban Heat Island (UHI) (Page 1973).
The literature related to micro-climatology in rural areas provides extensive data within a variety
of climate zones. This section will review this literature to determine if this can contribute to the
bio-climatic design of tall buildings based on building height. The additional influences of the
urban environment are also investigated although less meteorological data exists describing
variations in vertical climate in urban areas (Page 1973, p63). This is partly advanced by Stewart
and Oke’s new classification system (Stewart & Oke 2009) although actual vertical meteorology
in cities is scarce.
3.2 Climate scale and sources of measurements
Geiger describes all meteorological elements as being subject to change with vertical height and
horizontal distance due to the varying effect of the ground (Geiger 1973). Whereas the principle
zone of micro-climatic influence in a low rise building is horizontal the principle zone for a tall
building is vertical. Varieties of literature describe different scales and characteristics of vertical
micro-climates and are relevant to the micro-climate of tall buildings. These are categorised as:
1. External micro-climate in the lowest 100m - Geiger provides a summary of research data
based on the lowest 100m of the atmosphere on natural and level sites without
vegetation.
2. External micro-climate in the boundary layer up to 1000m – Oke, Page and Lowry
describes the general influences of the urban environment on micro-climate as a result of
the local configuration of urban spaces, streets and buildings.
3. External micro-climate of the standard atmosphere - The International Standard
Atmosphere (ISA) provides an atmospheric model of how the air pressure, temperature,
density, and viscosity of the Earth's atmosphere change over a wide range of altitudes. It
consists of tables of values at various altitudes.
4. Internal micro-climate – Field tests have studied the effects of the stack effect, wind and
air pressure on the internal vertical environments of tall buildings such as those by
Diamond of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.
3.3 Urban influences on rural micro-climate
Tall buildings are primarily located in urban and suburban locations and so the influence of the
city on rural micro-climates is important to the study of the climate of tall buildings. Tall
buildings in groups cause their own micro-climates (Beedle, Ali & Armstrong 2007, p218) which
are effected by urban geometry, surface thermal properties and human made waste heat inputs
(Emmanuel 2005, p.24). Oke distinguishes between two vertical strata being the urban canopy
(the zone from the ground to the average height of buildings) and the urban boundary layer
above that can extend up to 1000m as seen in Figure 3. Whilst winds are light the boundary layer
Peter St. Clair 13 24/02/2010
is mostly influenced by the ground conditions and can lead to significant vertical differences in
climate character such as air temperature. Temperatures are less tied to surface features in the
case of stronger winds caused by larger scale weather systems which can mix the atmosphere and
remove small scale differences or micro-climatic effects (Oke 1978, p5).

Figure 3 – Urban canopy layer and urban boundary layer
(Lowry 1991, p135)

3.4 Variations in solar radiation with increasing height
Solar radiation is a function of meso-climate however can vary locally through changes in
altitude, surface albedo and pollution levels (Geiger 1973, p442-447). The absorption and
emission of solar radiation by the ground surface forms the greatest effect on the lower
atmosphere in a rural environment.
Solar radiation levels in cities are reduced due to polluted urban atmospheres however this is
typically counteracted by reduced surface albedo leading to only minor variations to the solar
gains experienced in the rural environment (Oke 1974, pp4, 17). Exposure to solar radiation is
influenced by building clustering, density and height leading to shade and reflection from
adjacent buildings (Figure 4, Figure 5). The areas of a tall building above the urban canopy layer
will typically receive greater solar radiation than below the urban canopy which may be shaded
for portions of the year due to greater exposure and reflections from adjacent rooftops (Givoni
1998). Additional solar radiation is received by vertical surfaces (facades) in urban areas from low
altitude sun in the morning and evening than would be the case in a natural environment (Oke
1974, p18). The ability of building mass to cool at night time through radiation to the sky is
reduced by the sky view factor meaning that denser building clusters will experience greater heat
retention at night time as seen in Figure 4 (Lowry 1991, p141).

Figure 4 - The affect of solar radiation on tall buildings
(Emmanuel 2005, p25)

Peter St. Clair 14 24/02/2010

Figure 5 - Additional reflection & absorption of sunlight & shade around tall buildings
(Lowry 1991, p135)

Leung and Weismantle describe solar radiation as increasing 4 -5% with each additional 300m of
building height under clear sky conditions (Leung & Weismantle 2008, p6).
3.5 Variations in air temperature with increasing height
In natural environments the temperature of the air layer near the ground is determined by the
surface conditions, the transport of heat upwards and the extent of air mixing regardless of the
effects of the surrounding area (Geiger 1973, p68). This temperature is graded vertically from
warmer at the surface to cooler higher in the atmosphere. This vertical gradient is known as the
temperature lapse rate or the rate of decrease in temperature with height.
In Figure 6 Geiger shows that daily patterns, temperature ranges and peak temperature times vary
with the distance above the ground. Peak temperatures are delayed further into the afternoon
with increasing height and with seasonal influences where they can be delayed by between 1 and
2 hours in winter (Geiger 1973, p70, 71). Figure 7 shows that the variation of temperature lapse
rate and the shifting of the peak temperature at heights up to 17m are much higher on bright
days than cloudy days.

Figure 6 - Diurnal variation of temperature lapse rate in a rural environment
(Geiger 1973, p73)

Figure 7 also demonstrates that the temperature lapse rate changes diurnally typically sitting
between + 2.0 °C (increasing temperature with height) during the night time and -2.0 °C
(decreasing temperature with height) during the afternoon for each 100m of additional height
above the ground for altitudes between 16 m and 61 m. Figure 8 shows that the temperature
lapse rate from the ground to a height of 50m is about 1.5 °C on a clear day and reduced
significantly on over-cast days. At heights above 100m the ground provides less influence on air
temperature and follows the adiabatic lapse rate of approximately 1 °C for each 100m of
additional height (http://www.tpub.com/content/aerographer/14312/css/14312_47.htm).
The Standard Atmosphere model indicates a lapse rate of approximately 1 °C with each 150m of
additional height or 6.5 °C per 1000m (http://www.aeromech.usyd.edu.au/aero/atmosphere/).
Peter St. Clair 15 24/02/2010

Figure 7 – Influence of seasons and weather on temperature variation near the ground
(Geiger 1973, p76)


Figure 8 – Decreasing temperature fluctuation with height above the ground
(Geiger 1973, p76)

The temperature lapse rates to altitudes of 100m are inverted at night time due to the cooling of
the ground commonly causing temperatures to increase with additional height (Geiger 1973,
p80).
Oke shows that the influence of a large city on air temperature can extend up to 200-300m above
the ground and in some cases to 500m and beyond (Oke 1973, p51). The effects of a city on the
vertical temperature gradient are influenced by changes to ground surface character, increased
shade at lower levels and exposure to solar radiation at higher levels, fluctuating wind patterns
and air mixing and the impact of vertical surfaces (walls) upon solar absorption and re- radiation.
Urban Heat Island (UHI) models show that the atmosphere can be contained with an ‘urban
dome’ assuming calm air. In addition to the urban boundary layer and the urban canopy layer
Oke identifies a surface zone from the ground to approximately 50m which is characterised by
unstable temperatures (Oke 1974, p52).
Temperature is also affected by wind velocities particularly from the ground to a height of 2m
where a lack of mobility of air allows the effects of solar radiation absorption and emission to be
maintained (Geiger 1973, p120). Figure 11 shows that the vertical temperature gradient (or lapse
rate) decreases as wind velocity increases during the night time whilst the effects of wind during
the day time are negligible. Changes to air temperature due to the effects of wind reduce with
increasing height.
Peter St. Clair 16 24/02/2010

Figure 9 – The effect of wind on temperature gradients (lapse rates)
(Geiger 1973, p124).

In summary air temperature is shown to reduce with increasing altitude. The temperature lapse
rates may vary in cities with the effects of building clustering and the UHI however studies have
shown rates of between 5.5 and 6 °C per 1000m of height (Oke 1974, p53). The greatest diurnal
and annual variability of temperature is at the ground level. The range of temperatures and the
delay in reaching maximum or minimum temperatures increases with increasing distance from
the ground (Lowry 1991, p17).
3.6 Variations in humidity with increasing height
In the natural environment humidity is influenced by the ground in a similar way to temperature
where evaporation from the ground surface is directed upwards as vapour leading to decreasing
humidity (or vapour pressure) with height (Geiger 1973, p104). Measurements show that the
humidity gradient decreases with additional height above the ground during the day and is subject
to an inversion at night time whereby the humidity increases with height. The levels of humidity
at ground level are subject to much higher variation consistent with the principles described for
temperature variations.
Figure 10 again indicates water vapour pressure decreasing with height and being at lowest levels
at 2.00pm in the afternoon and highest levels at 8.00am in the morning. This phenomenon is
reduced with higher latitude where there is insufficient convection to carry the water vapour
upwards (Geiger 1973, p108). The data demonstrates that variability in humidity is greatest up to
40 – 50m above which the range and gradient of humidity remains more constant.

Figure 10 - Water vapour stratification in the lowest 100m on clear days
(Geiger 1973).


Peter St. Clair 17 24/02/2010
Atmospheric humidity in urban areas is generally lower than in rural areas during the day and
higher than in rural areas during the night time. However the effect of the city on the change in
humidity with height is considered “small in magnitude” by Oke (1974, p58) and Lowry (1991,
p143) although 4-8% less overall than in rural areas (Oke 1991 pp74, 75). Higher levels of shade
near the base of tall buildings, wind downdrafts at building faces and the UHI may influence the
humidity gradient (Oke 1974, p59). Leung and Weismantle also confirm the tendency for
reduced moisture levels with altitude (2008, p6).
In summary it can be expected that the humidity will reduce with increasing altitude during the
day and increase with increasing altitude at night time. The ground plane will experience greater
variation in humidity levels and the stability of humidity increases with additional building height.
3.7 Variations in wind velocity and direction with increasing height
Wind velocity and direction is a result of large-scale differences in air pressure with the flow of
air being from areas of higher pressure to areas of lower pressure. Local winds are small-scale
winds produced by locally generated pressure gradients. Wind speeds at 500m above the ground
are fairly constant however below this height they are affected by the surface of the earth which
acts as brake on the movement of the air (Aynsley 2007, p2). Wind speeds typically increase with
additional height (Lim 1994) and over the course of the day as demonstrated by Figure 11. At
lower levels there is a distinct diurnal pattern in mid latitudes where wind speeds peak at midday
and reduce at night time. At heights above 100 m the reverse is the case with wind speed peaking
during the night and being minimised in the middle of the day.

Figure 11 - Diurnal variation of wind speed at different heights
(Geiger 1973, p115)

Figure 11 also demonstrates that this variation of wind speed is due to the decreasing influence
of the ground at night. Random fluctuation in wind speed and direction also increases with
greater terrain roughness such as varied building heights (ASCE pp5, 7). This can occur within a
timescale of a few seconds or minutes.
In urban areas buildings and topography reduce average wind speeds in the urban canopy layer.
Figure 12 shows that the terrain roughness will reduce the wind speeds at all heights while
maintaining the trend of increasing wind speed with height. For example the reference wind
speed of 100% at 10m altitude at an airport occurs at 30m in a suburban area and at 150m in an
urban area. This logarithmic increase in wind speed with height does not necessarily apply in all
cases where for example wind speed maxima are found between 50m and 120m in Tokyo (WMO
1988, p7).

Peter St. Clair 18 24/02/2010

Figure 12 – Reduction in wind speeds due to terrain roughness
(Aynsley 2007, p2)

The University of Delft have categorised differing urban wind conditions for the purposes of
selecting suitable wind turbines. Figure 13 shows that tall buildings clustered with buildings of
similar heights experience greater changes in wind direction and greater turbulence than tall
buildings that rise above the urban canopy (Smith 2008, p109, 110). The effects of wind
turbulence reduce the effectiveness of wind-turbine performance which prefers a strong laminar
wind where all of the air flows in a single direction
(http://www.buildinggreen.com/auth/article.cfm?fileName=180501a.xml).

Figure 13 – Effects of building type and height on wind turbines
(Smith 2008, p110)

Urban areas shows a higher level of air turbulence by 30-50% but this reduces with increasing
height (Oke 1974, p65). Sharples shows that increased local wind speeds lead to increased
convective heat transfer from the building fabric influencing the heating and cooling loads at
each level (Sharples 1984). Wind direction in the urban boundary layer can change direction by
Peter St. Clair 19 24/02/2010
up to 10-20 ° bending around the city from both sides up to 200-300m (Oke 1974, p68). Cities
also produce updrafts and downdrafts due to their rougher shape and their warmer surfaces as
shown in Figure 14 (Lowry 1991, p147).


Figure 14 - Wind flow around a tall building
(Oke 1987, p269)

In summary it can be seen that wind speeds increase with increasing altitude due to the lessening
influence of the ground and buildings whilst air turbulence decreases with increasing height.
Higher wind speeds with height will also contribute to greater cooling of building fabric by
means of convection and infiltration (Lowry 1991, p140).
3.8 Variations in building infiltration with increasing height
Diamond shows that the flow of air into a building as infiltration varies at different levels of the
building. In medium rise apartments and with high winds air flow increases with height on the
windward facade whereas in low wind conditions the air flow reduces with height. On the other
hand air flow through the façade reduces with height on the lee side of the building (Feustel &
Diamond).

Figure 15 - Mass air flow with varying wind speeds & increasing building height
Windward side (left) and lee side (right) - (http://epb.lbl.gov/homepages/Rick_Diamond/LBNL43642-
roomvent_98.pdf)

3.9 Variations in air pressure with increasing height
Air pressure is the force exerted by the weight of air above and so decreases with additional
height above sea level due to there being less air above to exert a force downwards. The vertical
reduction in external air pressure causes the air to expand forming the basis for the vertical
reduction in air temperature discussed earlier
(http://www.tpub.com/content/aerographer/14312/css/14312_47.htm).

In the urban environment air pressure is further influenced by the effects of wind around
building clusters creating positive and negative air pressure zones related to prevailing wind
directions and speeds. In the case of tall buildings these differences in external air pressure
influence the:
 vertical movement of wind externally in the form of updrafts and downdrafts,
Peter St. Clair 20 24/02/2010
 indoor air pressure differences, driving heat upwards through building voids with air
flow moving from high to low pressure,
 levels of infiltration and ex-filtration through the building envelope due to pressure
differences across the exterior wall.
Figure 16 describes how the pressure differences between the building interior and exterior
together with the building height form a stack effect which drives air vertically (the chimney
effect) and through the building envelope (infiltration and exfiltration) ( http://www.nrc-
cnrc.gc.ca/eng/ibp/irc/cbd/building-digest-104.html).
Warmer indoor air rises up through the building in the heating season and escapes at the top
through openings or leakage. The rising warm air reduces the pressure inside the lower levels of
the building, forcing cold air to infiltrate through openings and leakage. The stack effect is
reversed in the cooling season with air flowing downward within the building but is weaker due
to reduced temperature differences between the interior and exterior.

Figure 16 - Stack effect for idealized building
(http://www.nrc-cnrc.gc.ca/eng/ibp/irc/cbd/building-digest-104.html)

3.10 Variations in rainfall with increasing height
The quantity of rainfall in the natural environment varies with altitude as a result of the varying
dewpoint with mid and upper slopes typically receiving more rainfall then lower slopes (Geiger
1973). The trajectory of rain is affected by the local wind speeds and directions and the effects of
the surrounding topography on wind.
In the urban environment the quantity and trajectory of rain is significant and varies with height
and wind speeds. This influences the moisture transfer co-efficient of facades and thereby the
level of heat transfer into buildings (Blocken & Carmeliet 2004). Driving rain also affects the
durability of building materials where moisture enters the building envelope. In Figure 17 Page
shows that in light winds the driving rain intensity is on the roof whilst in strong winds the upper
levels of the windward façade receive the greatest rain intensity. The windward face can receive
more than double the rain intensity than the roof in very high winds. In summary driving rain
intensity increases with increasing building height and wind speed.
Peter St. Clair 21 24/02/2010

Figure 17 – Driving rain intensity on a tall building
(Page 1976, p52)

3.11 Variations in building energy usage with increasing height
The internal micro-climates and energy usage of tall buildings are effected by their external
micro-climate and building height.
Cooling and heating loads are impacted by the combined effects of external air temperature and
solar radiation and the convective influences of wind on the building fabric which vary with
height. Feustel and Diamond show that other influences include pressure driven movement of
heat upwards in tall buildings and levels of infiltration and ex-filtration through facades
(http://epb.lbl.gov/homepages/Rick_Diamond/LBNL43642-roomvent_98.pdf). Therefore the
increasing exposure of tall buildings in the city with increasing height can lead to varying energy
balances at each level of tall buildings.
The energy use patterns of tall buildings are influenced by their building height and floor area.
Cho shows that these factors determine the surface area which is a major contributor to heat
gains and losses through the building envelope. The surface area relative to the floor area and
building volume actually reduces with increased height in buildings of the same floor plate area.
Cho’s study shows that a 30 storey building with a smaller floor plate size will have an increased
surface to volume ratio of 47% when compared to a 90 storey building with a larger floor plate
(Cho 2005, p1007).
Relative to low-rise buildings tall buildings of the same floor area can use double the amount of
energy due to the increasing requirement for lifting of people water and goods (Roaf, Chricton &
Nicol 2005, p256). Approximately half of the energy is used in the operational energy of
buildings. Van den Dobbelsteen shows that for tall buildings above 36 stories the material,
environmental and energy costs increase exponentially and that each floor plate area has an
optimum number of floors (Van den Dobbelsteen et al 2007 p.181, 186).
The maximum height of a building that can be supported by renewable energy is 2-3 stories of
floor area in the case of roof mounted solar technology in a hot climate (Phillips, Beyer & Good
2009, pp34-35). The use of case of façade mounted
Figure 18 demonstrates the pattern of operational energy usage in a 13 storey residential building
in a heating dominated cold climate. Energy use peaks at Level 3 and then reduces vertically until
the upper-most level where the energy use spikes again due to the lack of an insulating level
above.

Peter St. Clair 22 24/02/2010

Figure 18– Annual electricity consumption in a 12 storey apartment building
(http://epb.lbl.gov/homepages/Rick_Diamond/LBNL43642-roomvent_98.pdf)

Energy usage was shown to increase with increasing height in the cooling dominated hot climate
of Hong Kong with HVAC and lift energy showing some step changes in tall buildings at 7-10
levels and again at 25 levels as seen in Figure 19 (Rovers 2008).

Figure 19 – Relationship of energy use & building height in Hong Kong commercial buildings
(http://www.sustainablebuilding.info/post-crash/files/tallbuildings-UIA-paper-010608-rovers.pdf )

Cho’s study showed that energy use per unit area can be less in the case of taller buildings with
wider floor plates than in shorter buildings with smaller floor plates (Cho 2005, pp1007, 1008).
3.12 Variations in embodied energy usage with increasing height
Embodied energy usage is increased per unit of floor area with increasing building height
(Treloar et al 2001) as seen in Figure 20. This is attributed to the greater requirement for
structural steel content for stiffening and can be seen most clearly in the upper floors.
Peter St. Clair 23 24/02/2010

Figure 20 – Embodied energy variation with increasing height
(Treloar et al 2001, p210)

In Figure 21 Ali shows that the average weight of steel per square foot increases with increased
height. Studies of real buildings including the Commerzbank in Frankfurt, show a significant
reduction in the efficiency of materials with increasing height and that at 36 levels the loads for
both energy and materials start increasing exponentially (Van den Dobbelsteen et al 2007).


Figure 21 – Relationship of building height and weight
(http://www.sustainablebuilding.info/post-crash/files/tallbuildings-UIA-paper-010608-rovers.pdf )


3.13 Summary
The following conclusions are drawn for this chapter against the study objectives:
3.13.1 Nature and gradients of micro-climates in rural and urban areas
1. Oke and Geiger identify a number of broad vertical climate zones in rural and urban
environments that may be significant to the bio-climatic design of tall buildings:
 roughness layer at a 0 – 2 m
 turbulent surface layer at 0 - 50m (reducing to a few metres at night time)
 the urban canopy layer (from ground level to the average height of buildings)
 the micro-climate layer most influenced by the ground at 0 – 100m
 the urban boundary layer extending from the average height of buildings to between 200
and 500m
2. Climatic conditions in the natural environment vary significantly with height with the
widest ranges being closer to the ground. Changes with height include reduced air
Peter St. Clair 24 24/02/2010
temperature, air pressure and humidity with increased height. These result from
atmospheric processes such as the temperature lapse rate and additional influences of
the ground within the lowest 100m. The gradients of change are greatest within the
lower 100m due to the influence of the ground with reductions in air temperature up to
3 °C per 100m after which the atmospheric lapse rate of 1.0 °C per 100m applies. Wind
speeds and solar radiation increase with additional height. Humidity reduces with height
with the greatest variability being within 40-50m above the ground.
3. The range of climate conditions in the natural environment and the vertical gradient of
climatic change varies at different heights above the ground. Proximity to the ground
leads to a greater range of diurnal and annual conditions (more extremes) but a slower
rate of change (more stable). Greater distance from the ground leads to a reduced range
of climatic conditions and vertical gradients of change. The speed of weather change is
described as being faster higher above the ground by McCarthy (Richards 2001). This
may be supported by Geiger’s data that shows higher altitudes to be less affected by the
stabilising influence of the ground.
4. The urban environment influences the vertical climate patterns that exist in the natural
environment. Changes with height in the urban environment are shown to be more
complex due to the development of multiple micro-climates in and around building
clusters and as a result of the UHI. Oke shows for example that the influence of a large
city on air temperature can extend to between 200 and 500m above the ground. Air
temperature is shown to reduce with increasing altitude as is the case in natural
environments however the lapse rate is more variable in urban environments. Humidity
is also shown to reduce with increased height to a similar level as in the natural
environment. Wind speed was shown to increase with height however at differing rates
to those in the natural environment due to the effects of buildings whilst turbulence will
decrease with height. Winds accelerate at the urban canopy level leading to increased
driving rain exposure on facades. Varying air pressures between the top and bottom of
tall buildings can lead to high speed vertical winds not present in the natural
environment. Solar radiation levels increase with height although more significantly solar
exposure is modified at lower levels by street canyons providing shade and at higher
levels by rooftops providing reflected solar radiation.
5. Considerations that were not reviewed include natural light, traffic noise, and carbon
dioxide, air pollution such as sulphur dioxide, dust and electro-magnetic interference and
in certain climates mosquitoes. Each of these characteristics may also vary with height,
location and time of day and may further influence the quality of the outdoor and indoor
micro-climate.
3.13.2 Effect of building height on energy usage and internal micro-climates in tall
buildings
1. Internal micro-climates in tall buildings are influenced by external conditions such as
changing temperature and air pressure differences which increase with height and
contribute to façade infiltration and ex-filtration. Higher wind speeds with height will
contribute to greater cooling of the building fabric. Increasing levels of energy are
required to move air and water per m2 with increased height although reduced air
pressure with height can reduce fan energy in HVAC systems.
2. Operational energy usage is shown to increase with increased building height in hot
climates due mostly to increased HVAC and lift energy. The energy use has been shown
to reduce at each level toward the roof in a low-rise tower in a cold climate partly due to
the stack effect causing infiltration of cold air at lower levels, the upward movement of
hot air and ex-filtration at upper levels.
3. Embodied energy use increases with increased building height with step changes in
material efficiencies at 7 – 10 and 25 storeys due to the requirement for higher strength
materials and greater use of steel reinforcing.
Peter St. Clair 25 24/02/2010
4. Access to cooler and cleaner air for natural and mechanical ventilation and sunlight for
PV generation increases with increased building height and clearance from the urban
canopy. Whilst wind speeds increase with height this does not necessarily provide
suitable laminar flow for roof mounted wind turbines and may not increase effective
wind power generation.
5. The effects of solar radiation, building shading and the stack effect on the internal
micro-climate of tall buildings suggests that higher temperatures and cooling loads will
be experienced at the upper levels and lower temperatures at lower levels. Conversely
lower heating loads have been shown in winter to upper building levels in a cold climate
due to rising heat from the stack effect and increased infiltration of cold air at lower
levels.
Peter St. Clair 26 24/02/2010
4 FIELD MEASUREMENTS OF VARIATIONS IN FAÇADE THERMAL
RADIANT TEMPERATURES WITH INCREASING HEIGHT ABOVE THE
GROUND
4.1 Introduction
Air temperature is a key component of vertical climate and is critical to the application of passive
and HVAC design strategies. Whilst the temperature lapse rate is systematic and relatively
constant in the natural environment as shown by Geiger the literature reviewed does not detail
lapse rates in urban areas. These may vary due to the influence sky view factor, building heights
and densities, albedo, shading and the extent of man made heat sources such as traffic on the
micro-climate and UHI (Stewart p9). Thermal imaging was completed of the MLC Centre
measuring thermal radiant temperatures to provide a comparison with the rural micro-climate air
temperature data and determine the level of influence of the UHI dome vertically by measuring
vertical temperature gradients at different levels in the same way as shown by Geiger in rural
areas.
The MLC Centre is constructed of pre-cast concrete with recessed banded windows. The plan
shape is octagonal providing eight elevations each facing a cardinal direction. The building is
raised on retail podium of three stories and separated from other buildings over 100m in height
by several city blocks (Figure 22). It forms the tallest building in a cluster of lower buildings
between 50m and 100m in height. Images were taken between 7.15pm and 8.30pm on a warm
summer day with a partly overcast sky on the 19
th
November 2009 being early summer. Sunrise
had occurred at 5.41am and sunset at 7.39pm.

Figure 22 – The MLC Centre looking north with denser building clusters beyond
(http://www.sydneyarchitecture.com/images/CBD- PIC_0071.JPG)

4.2 Time and weather conditions
5 PM 8 PM
Temperature (C) 28 25
Dew Point (C) 19 18
Humidity 57% 67%
Wind 18 km/h NE 16 km/h NNE
Conditions Mostly Cloudy Overcast
Precipitation 0% 0%
Cloud Cover 82% 100%
Figure 23 – Time and weather conditions
(http://www.google.com/ig?hl=en&gl=#max8 (Viewed 19
th
November 2009))

Peter St. Clair 27 24/02/2010
4.3 Image results & observations
4.3.1 Eastern elevation
Li2
Li1
Sp1
Sp2
Sp3
19.9
26.6 °C
20
21
22
23
24
25
26

Figure 24 – Digital and IR image of MLC Centre east elevation
View from east at 7.50pm


Figure 25 – Vertical radiant temperatures
Temperatures plotted from ground level (left) to roof (right)

Figure 25 shows a variation in façade radiant temperature from 27.0 °C at the ground level of
adjacent buildings to 21.9 °C at roof level of the MLC Centre. The temperature at the lowest
point on the subject façade not obstructed by adjacent buildings measured 23.3 °C at
approximately 90m. This represents a vertical gradient of -1.0 °C with each 100m for the upper
levels which is consistent with the adiabatic lapse rate. The lower levels of the subject building
are obscured and provide no measurements however adjacent south facing low rise buildings
demonstrate temperatures between 25.5 °C at roof levels and 27.0 °C at ground level
representing a vertical gradient of 1.58 °C with each 100m for the lower levels.
Other observations include the variation in temperatures with façade material where ranges of
0.5 - 1.0 °C are seen between opaque spandrel panels and recessed glazing in the subject building.
Peter St. Clair 28 24/02/2010
Figure 24 clearly shows the upper levels of the MLC Centre façade to be up to 3.0 - 4.0 °C cooler
than the facades of the adjacent low-rise buildings.

4.3.2 Northern elevation

Li1 Li2
Sp1
Sp2
Sp3
20.0
26.6 °C
21
22
23
24
25
26

Figure 26 – Digital and IR image of MLC Centre north elevation
View from east at 8.07pm


Figure 27 – Vertical radiant temperatures
Temperatures plotted from ground level (left) to roof (right)

Figure 27 shows a variation in radiant temperature on the north-east facing façade from 26.0 °C
at the ground level to 21.4 °C at roof level. This represents an average vertical gradient of – 2.1
°C with each 100m over the full height of the MLC Centre. The temperature at approximately
120m on the north facade measured 23.2 °C representing a vertical gradient of -1.66 °C with
each 100m for the upper levels of the subject building which is higher than the adiabatic lapse
rate.
Peter St. Clair 29 24/02/2010
Other interesting observations in Figure 26 and Figure 27 include the difference in the
temperatures of downward facing soffits which are 3.0 °C warmer than the adjacent outward
facing parapets. Glazing is shown at below 20 °C and down to 3 °C corresponding to the sky
temperature.
4.3.3 Western elevation
Li1
Sp1
Sp2
Sp3
22.4
28.9 °C
24
26
28

Figure 28 – Digital and IR image of MLC Centre west elevation
View from east at 7.17pm


Figure 29 – Vertical radiant temperatures
Temperatures plotted from ground level (left) to roof (right)

Figure 29 shows a variation in radiant temperature on the west facing façade from 27.2 °C at the
ground level of adjacent buildings to 25 °C immediately below the subject building roof level at
220m. The lowest point on the façade not obstructed by adjacent buildings measured 27.3 °C at
75m. This represents a vertical gradient of -1.59 °C with each 100m for the upper levels which is
higher than the adiabatic lapse rate.
The lower levels of the building are obscured and so no clear measurements were taken however
adjacent west facing low rise buildings demonstrate temperatures of up to approximately 29.0 °C
approximately 15m above the ground. On this basis the lapse rate would be -1.95 °C per 100m
for the lower levels.
The lowest temperature to the MLC Centre façade was 24 °C at approximately 175m above the
ground coinciding with a recessed plant room level. The highest temperatures recorded were up
to 44.4 °C to stone and metal facades and canopies within the street canyon to the north facing
façade of other buildings in the foreground.

Peter St. Clair 30 24/02/2010
4.3.4 South elevation
Li2 Sp2
Sp1
Sp3
Li1
20.1
27.5 °C
21
22
23
24
25
26
27

Figure 30 – Digital and IR image of MLC Centre south elevation
View from east at 7.36pm


Figure 31 – Vertical radiant temperatures
Temperatures plotted from ground level (left) to roof (right)

Figure 31 shows a variation in radiant temperature on the south facing façade from
approximately 28.0 °C at the ground level of foreground buildings to 22.5 °C just below roof
level. The temperature at the lowest point on the façade not obstructed by adjacent buildings
measured 23.4 °C at approximately 115m. This represents a vertical gradient of -0.8 °C with each
100m for the upper levels of the subject façade which is slightly lower than the adiabatic lapse
rate.
The lower levels of the building are obscured and so no measurements were taken however
adjacent south facing low rise buildings demonstrate temperatures of up to 26.0 °C at ground
level. On this basis the lapse rate would be -1.54 °C per 100m for lower levels.
Other interesting observations include the differences in the temperatures of the south-west
facing façade (still exposed to setting sun) and the south east facing façade (not exposed to sun
since early morning). Figure 30 and Error! Reference source not found. show the temperature
Peter St. Clair 31 24/02/2010
differences at the roof level to be 24.5 °C and 21.0 °C. The variation in radiant temperature from
the street canyon to the roof level façade of the MLC Centre is up to 12 °C and the coolest
façade surfaces are at the corners and roof parapet being 21 - 22 °C.
4.3.5 North elevation podium
Li3
Li1 Li2
Sp1
Sp2
Sp3
22.6
26.0 °C
23
24
25

Figure 32 – Digital and IR image of MLC Centre podium north elevation
View from north (Martin Place) at 8.30pm


Figure 33 – Vertical radiant temperatures
Temperatures plotted from ground level (left) to roof (right)

Figure 33 shows a variation in radiant temperature on the north facing subject façade from
approximately 25.25 °C at 10m above the podium level to 23.2 °C at 75m above the podium at a
spandrel panel. This represents a vertical gradient of -3.15 °C with each 100m for the lowest 75m
of the MLC Centre which represents the highest lapse rate of all images.
Differences can also be seen in the temperatures of the north-west, north and north east facing
façades. The vertical temperature differences increase from the north-east to the north to the
north-west façade as seen in Figure 32 and Error! Reference source not found.. The highest
temperatures are to the north facing podium stairs at 28.7 °C. Sections of the subject building
spandrel panels are partly recessed and therefore shaded at times of the day showing temperature
reductions of 0.5 – 1.0 °C.
4.4 Summary of variations and gradients of radiant temperature changes in
field study
The following conclusions are drawn for this chapter against the study objectives:
Peter St. Clair 32 24/02/2010
1. Field measurements of the MLC Centre showed up to a 6.5 °C difference in radiant
temperature between the ground level façade and roof level facade. The vertical ranges
in temperature varied with façade orientation suggesting that temperature ranges and
gradients vary diurnally and annually as is the case in the natural environment.
2. Temperature gradients up to 3.5 °C/100m were measured in the lower sections between
0 – 75m. This gradient is greater than that in the natural environment. The zone
correlates approximately with the height of the surrounding urban canopy. Temperature
gradients up to 1.5 °C/100m were measured in the higher sections between 100m –
228m correlating approximately with the urban boundary layer above the urban canopy.
This gradient correlates approximately with the lapse rate in the natural environment.
3. The influence of the ground and urban environment on micro-climate appears to be
greater in this case study than in the natural environment.
4. The results of this field study show a high level of consistency with the principles and
trends shown by Geiger and Oke suggesting that existing micro-climatology and urban
climatology research and data may have applications to further research and models for
the vertical micro-climate of tall buildings.

Peter St. Clair 33 24/02/2010
5 ANALYSIS OF VERTICAL MICRO-CLIMATE DATA FROM THE
LITERATURE REVIEW & FIELD STUDY
Chapter 5 analyses the micro-climatic data described in the literature and field study of radiant
temperature to consider if systematic principles may exist that can be applied to the bio-climatic
design of tall buildings. Comparisons are made between the micro-climatic data and the field
measurements to identify any similarities or differences. The micro-climatic data is organised
against possible benefits to energy use and thermal comfort in tall buildings and classified into
vertical zones to simplify its potential application to tall building design. The application of the
air temperature lapse rate to HVAC energy reductions in the Freedom Tower in New York is
also considered.

5.1 Analysis of vertical climate data and principles from the literature review
Chapter 3 demonstrates there are clear and systematic principles related to the vertical climate in
the natural environment. This leads to a ‘vertical micro-climate’ characterised by variations in
temperature, air pressure, wind speed and humidity with height. The gradient of these
characteristics increases near the surface of the ground and reduces with increased height (Geiger
1973, p83). Micro-climatic conditions are shown to vary more vertically than horizontally over a
given distance. There is also a greater variation in conditions closer to the ground over the course
of a day and reduced variation in conditions with increased height above the ground.
The micro-climatic data related to rural areas is extensive and demonstrates clear systematic
patterns of vertical climate. These consist of verifiable ranges and gradients of temperature,
humidity and wind speed that reduce with increasing distance from the ground. The literature
related to urban areas is extensive however until recently has not distinguished between different
climate zones with the city being limited to simple distinctions between rural and urban
environments in respect to the UHI. The literature describes the vertical climate of cities in
general terms only in respect to the extent of upward influence the city has on the UHI although
Table 1 shows the key climatic trends to be the same as in rural areas however with a large degree
of variation. Little data exists to demonstrate the ranges and gradients of these conditions except
in the case of wind speeds.
This information can however be combined with the results of the field measurements of radiant
temperatures to show that whilst the trends remain the same, temperature ranges can be much
greater within the urban canopy.
The following table summarises the key characteristics of the vertical climate data referenced in
Chapter 3 and identifies the potential influences and benefits of these characteristics to building
energy consumption and thermal comfort.
Table 1 – Analysis of vertical micro-climate characteristics in rural and urban locations from the literature
review & field measurements
Analysis of vertical climate & building height characteristics against bio-climatic
design objectives
Solar radiation Air temperature
Key characteristics – Rural areas
Solar radiation increases with increasing
altitude approx. 4-5% per 300m.
Solar radiation increases in the urban boundary
layer due to greater exposure & reflection from
lower level surrounding roofs.
Air temperature decreases with increasing
height.
Standard adiabatic lapse rate of -1.0 °C per
100m.
Temperature lapse rates can reach 3 °C
/100m up to 50m height & range from
0.66 degrees to 1.0 °C for each 100m
above.
Air temperature gradient greatest on clear,
still summer days.
Air temperature gradient least (uniform) on
overcast days up to 100m.
Peter St. Clair 34 24/02/2010
Air temperature inversion at night time.
Greater air temperature variation over 24hr
period at lower levels below 16m (up to 20
degrees).
Less temperature variation over 24hr
period at higher levels up to 60m (up to 3
°C).
Key characteristics – Urban locations
Solar radiation levels increase with increasing
altitude.
Solar radiation exposure increases above the
urban canopy due to reduced building density
& reflections. Decreases in the urban canopy
layer due to increased shade from adjacent
buildings & vegetation.
Solar heat loads may increase with increased
height where building tapers/steps increasing
surface to floor area ratio.

Air temperature decreases with increasing
height.
Similar temperature lapse rates shown in
field measurements of 228m tall building
above urban canopy.
Higher lapse rates shown in city below
urban canopy and in street canyons
Temperatures can increase in the urban
canopy due to UHI including thermal mass
& reduced sky view factor limiting night
cooling. Some offset due to reduced solar
radiation in dense building clusters.
Influences on energy consumption &
physical comfort

Increased cooling loads from solar gains with
increased height.
Reduced scope for external sun shading with
increased height.
Day lighting potential greater than in low-rise
deep plan buildings.
Reduced daylight access to lower levels.
Reduced ratio of roof to wall in tall buildings
reduces solar exposure & potential for
renewable energy generation with increasing
height (Haase & Amato, 2006)
Decreased cooling loads with increased
building height in hot climates (Leung &
Weismantle).
Reduced temperature range at higher levels
may promote natural ventilation & usable
outdoor space.
Increased temperature range at lower levels
may reduce opportunities for natural
ventilation & increase dependency on a/c.
Wind velocity & direction Air pressure
Key characteristics – Rural areas
Wind speed increases with increasing height. Air pressure decreases externally with
increasing height.
Key characteristics – Urban locations
Wind speed generally increases with increasing
height although can accelerate 3-4 times
normal speed in street canyons (Beedle, Ali &
Armstrong 2007, p218).
Wind turbulence decreases with additional
height and above the urban canopy.
Wind flow separates into streams as it comes
over the edge of a roof or around a corner
producing multiple streams rather than a
laminar wind that is required for wind
turbines(http://www.buildinggreen.com/auth/
article.cfm?fileName=180501a.xml)
Higher wind speeds with height will cool the
building envelope.
Vertical wind speeds to facades increase with
increased building height.
Wind causes varying levels of façade
Air pressure decreases externally with
increasing height.
Air pressure difference across exterior wall
increases with increased temperature
difference & height above the neutral
pressure plane @ mid-point. Can cause
problems in opening windows and doors
(Etheridge & Ford 2008).
Higher wind speeds with height increase
facade air pressure difference between top
and bottom leading to higher vertical wind
speeds.
Decreasing air density with height results in
lower energy demand for ventilation
systems at higher levels
(http://www.sustainablebuilding.info/post-
crash/files/tallbuildings-UIA-paper-
Peter St. Clair 35 24/02/2010
infiltration
with increased height.
010608-rovers.pdf)
Influences on energy consumption &
physical comfort

Increased opportunity for natural ventilation
during light winds
Increased infiltration/exfiltration increases
cooling & heating loads (Roaf 2005, p253).
Higher convection rates with height will reduce
cooling loads in summer & increase heating
loads in winter
(http://www.sustainablebuilding.info/post-
crash/files/tallbuildings-UIA-paper-010608-
rovers.pdf)
Opportunities for wind energy generation
adversely effected by varying wind speeds and
turbulence
Natural ventilation of offices is harder to
achieve due to increased wind speeds & noise
associated with openable windows at height.
Ground level turbulence and dis-comfort to
pedestrians increases with increased building
height.
Increased wind loadings with height reduce
opportunity for external sun-shading
Increasing air pressure with height causes
heat from lower floors to rise causing
additional cooling loads with increased
height.
Increasing exfiltration through façade with
increasing height causes loss of
heated/cooled air to exterior.
Increasing infiltration through façade with
increasing height causes loss of
heated/cooled air to shafts & corridors.
Pressure driven thermal buoyancy in atria
can assist natural ventilation & reduce
energy consumption for cooling.

Humidity Rainfall
Key characteristics – Rural areas
Humidity reduces with increased height during
the day.
Humidity increases with increased height at
night.
Humidity more variable at ground level.
Rainfall constant with height
Key characteristics – Urban locations
Effect of city on humidity is a reduction of 4-
8%.
Humidity gradient may be affected by shading
& wind downdrafts.

Wind driven rain to facades increases with
increased height & wind speed.
Moisture transfer may increase with height
influencing heat transfer and
cooling/heating loads (Blocken et al 2006).
Influences on energy consumption &
physical comfort

Increased outdoor comfort with increasing
height.
Increased opportunity for natural & mixed
mode ventilation with increasing height.

Increasing wind driven rain may reduce
thermal properties of envelope requiring
additional energy use for heating/cooling.
Increasing wind driven rain may accelerate
material deterioration & increase
maintenance & material replacement.
Increased potential for water harvesting
with increased building height.

Noise Air Pollution
Key characteristics – Rural areas
Not investigated Not investigated
Key characteristics – Urban locations
Increased wind induced noise with increased
wind/height.
Decreased traffic generated air pollution
with increased height Street canyon effect
Peter St. Clair 36 24/02/2010
Decreased traffic noise with increased height.
Increased noise/vibrations from wind turbines
can increase traffic pollution levels closer to
ground.
.
Influences on energy consumption &
physical comfort

Greater acoustic insulation may be required at
higher levels requiring more energy intensive
materials.
Increased outdoor comfort with increasing
height.
Increased air quality with increased height.
More opportunities for outdoor recreation
spaces.

Other characteristics that may change with increasing height include reduced dust and
mosquitoes however these are not investigated in this study.

5.1.1 Classification of vertical climate zones
A comparison of the literature shows there are a number of broad vertical climate zones in urban
environments that may be significant to the bio-climatic design of tall buildings:
 roughness layer at a 0 – 2 m (Oke 1978, p4,5)
 turbulent surface layer at 0 - 50m (reducing to a few metres at night time) (Oke 1974,
p52, 1978, p5)
 the urban canopy layer (from ground level to the average height of buildings) (Oke 1978,
p274, 275).
 the micro-climate layer most influenced by the ground at 0 – 100m (Figure 7 and Geiger
1973, p73)
 the urban boundary layer extending from the average height of buildings to between 200
and 500m (Oke 1974, p51, 1978, p4,5)
These zones may be applicable to the bio-climatic design of tall buildings that consider height by
applying vertical changes in for example façade design, natural ventilation and HVAC systems to
correspond to varying vertical climate zones. The identification of broad vertical zones may be
useful where the economics of building construction typically requires the number of plan and
façade types to be minimised.
5.2 Analysis of thermal imaging of the MLC Centre
The field study measured thermal radiation which is the heat that radiates from a warm object.
Whilst air temperature is the most commonly used indicator of thermal comfort radiant
temperature actually has a greater influence on how humans lose or gain heat to the environment
and is therefore a useful indicator (http://www.hse.gov.uk/temperature/thermal/factors.htm).
The measurements showed the highest temperatures to be on the façades of adjacent low rise
buildings at street level. This was despite the greater levels of shading benefit these walls were
afforded over the course of the day due to orientation and increased shading. For example Figure
28 showed south facing and north facing facades within 3-4 levels of the street to be 3-4 °C
warmer than the lower north facing façade of the MLC Centre (Figure 32) which had been
exposed to solar radiation for a greater period of the day and is positioned to the south of Martin
Place a large pedestrian zone. This suggests the anthropogenic heat loads such as traffic and the
reduced sky view factor may have a greater effect on the micro-climate between buildings than
the period of solar exposure. Figure 28 also shows that the temperatures to some other tall
buildings actually increase with increased height in the case of the NRMA Building oriented
towards the south-west and setting sun and least exposed to the prevailing winds of the
afternoon from the NE.
The measurements to the lower levels of the MLC Centre showed the lapse rate from 0-75m was
the highest of all gradients measured at 3.15 °C and 6.47 °C per 100m to the northern façade.
Peter St. Clair 37 24/02/2010
This is 3-4 times the measurements by Geiger which show a lapse rate in air temperature of
between 1.5 and 2 °C with each 100m up to 61m as shown in Figure 6. This zone correlates
approximately with the average height of adjacent buildings.
The measurements to the higher levels of the MLC Centre were reduced and were shown to vary
with orientation. The gradients from approximately 75m to 220m range from -0.8 °C per 100m
to - 1.7 °C per 100m representing an average lapse rate of -1.29 °C. The greatest lapse rate was
on the western façade (-1.7 °C /100m) followed by the northern façade (-1.66 °C /100m),
eastern façade (-1.0 °C /100m) and the southern façade at -0.8 °C /100m). These values are
higher than the adiabatic lapse rate of 1.0 °C per 100m. The trend is consistent with Geiger
where the gradient of air temperatures are shown to reduce with increasing distance from the
ground. This higher level zone correlates approximately with the urban boundary layer above the
adjacent buildings.
Table 2 – Summary of thermal imaging data for the MLC Centre considering only the subject building
facades
Temperature ranges measured between 7.15pm and 8.30pm in summer on partly cloudy
day
Façade orientation &
height
Radiant temperature range Vertical gradient
Western façade (75 – 220m 27.3 - 25 °C 1.7 °C /100m
Northern façade (120 – 220m) 23.2 - 21.4 °C 1.66 °C /100m
Eastern façade (90 -228m) 23.3 - 21.9 °C 1.0 °C /100m
Southern façade (115 – 220m) 23.4 - 22.5 °C 0.8 °C /100m.
Northern façade (10-75m) 25.25 - 23.2°C 3.15 °C/100m


Table 3 – Summary of thermal imaging data for the MLC Centre considering the subject building facades &
adjacent low rise building facades
Temperature ranges measured between 7.15pm and 8.30pm in summer on partly cloudy
day
Façade orientations &
height
Radiant temperature range Vertical gradient
Western façade (15 – 220m) 29 – 25 °C 1.95 °C /100m
Northern facade 25.5 - 21.4 °C 1.8 °C /100m
Eastern façade (90-228m) 25.5 - 21.9 °C 1.58 °C /100m
Southern façade (5 – 220m) 26.2 - 22.5 °C 1.72 °C /100m.
Northern façade/stair (-10 -
75m)
28.7 – 23.2 °C 6.47 °C/100m

The data suggests that the vertical gradients of temperature measured in the natural environment
are modified by adjacent buildings and other UHI factors as would be expected leading to an
increased range and gradient of temperatures with height and a cooler micro-climate above the
local urban canopy. The general trend however of reduced temperature with increased height and
increased gradients closer to the ground remain the same in the building studied as in the rural
environment. Influences other than building height may include climate zone, season and
weather at the time of the measurements.
The effects of orientation are to create a number of differing temperature gradients to differently
oriented facades. This suggests that the gradient is influenced by solar exposure with reduced
gradients being seen to the shaded eastern facade and progressively increasing temperatures and
gradients to the north and then western façade which was exposed to sunlight at the time of the
measurements. This shows the importance of considering height together with the more usually
Peter St. Clair 38 24/02/2010
considered orientation in the measurement, design and harnessing of micro-climates in tall
buildings.
In summary the data showed temperatures to vary up to 7.6 °C from the street level façades of
adjacent buildings to the roof level façade of the MLC Centre. Adjacent low rise buildings within
street canyons showed no reductions in temperature vertically. Further studies could be
completed to examine the gradients at different times of the day and year to consider the effects
of night time cooling to the sky and varying weather effects such as high winds and reduced
cloud cover.
5.3 Diagrammatic analysis of the effects of building height on micro-climate
& building characteristics
The vertical climate data was studied in diagram form to illustrate the key principles that could be
considered in the bio-climatic design of tall buildings based on building height. Work completed
by Chris McCarthy on the Nara Tower is adapted and developed further to include additional
detail and climatic elements from the literature review and field measurements.

Peter St. Clair 39 24/02/2010

Figure 34 – Analysis of effects of building height on vertical micro-climate
(adapted & expanded by author from C. McCarthy in Richards, 2001 p.73)


5.4 Case study of the application of temperature lapse rate to HVAC design in
the Freedom Tower
Figure 35 illustrates the design for the Freedom Tower in New York by SOM which provides
one of few case studies that apply changes in vertical climate to the reduction of energy usage.
The study examined the annual energy required for each floor level based upon the changing
external climate conditions with height. This contrasts with the standard approach based upon
regional climate data which assumes standard temperatures at all floor levels.
The study was completed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in the USA modelling
the effect of changes in air temperature and wind with altitude and the energy saving benefits of
these and concluded that “environmental factors that vary with altitude have a significant effect
on the annual total building and cooling energy”.
Peter St. Clair 40 24/02/2010
Modelling permitted an adjusted thermal load model and optimised HVAC system leading to
reductions of annual cooling and heating energy of approximately 13% (Leung & Weismantle
2008, p3). The maximum differences in cooling and heating energy requirements between an
upper and lower level floor was 45%. A baseline building that did not consider the changing
external climate conditions demonstrated a maximum difference between two separate floors of
only 4% (Ellis & Torcellini, 2005, p283, 284). This suggests there to be significant differences in
thermal loads with height which are not typically considered in either bio-climatic nor HVAC
design.

Figure 35 – Freedom Tower by SOM
(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/7/74/Freedom_Tower_New.jpg)

The study also showed that lower external air temperatures and higher wind speeds at higher
levels reduced cooling loads with air temperature exceeding the effect of wind at a height of
approximately 250m (Ellis & Torcellini 2005, p283). The same study showed that shading by
other buildings had the single largest contribution to reduced cooling loads. This benefit is
greatest at lower heights where more shade is available and reduces with increased height above
the urban canopy. The benefits of shading exceeded the radiation loads reflected from adjacent
buildings.
5.5 Summary of analysis for tall buildings in urban locations
Oke describes the general influences of the urban environment to extend up to between 200 and
500m. The investigation has shown that graduated differences exist in radiant temperature
between the ground level and roof in a tall building in the Sydney CBD. These variations are
however dependent upon building clustering and orientation of facades where some buildings are
shown to have no reduction in radiant temperature with increased height as shown in Figure 28.
Whilst solar radiation increases slightly with altitude the predominant effect in urban areas is
shading and reflection from adjacent buildings suggesting the amount of solar radiation exposure
will typically increase above the urban canopy.
The range of wind speed conditions is shown by Aynsley to increase fourfold from the ground to
between 100 and 200m in a typical urban environment as shown in Figure 12. Tall buildings
Peter St. Clair 41 24/02/2010
clustered with buildings of similar heights are shown to experience greater changes in wind
direction and greater turbulence than tall buildings that rise above the urban canopy (Smith 2008,
p109, 110).
Correlations were demonstrated between façade radiant temperatures and gradients and the
urban canopy and urban boundary layer described by Oke. This suggests the urban environment
to have a greater effect on the vertical climate of tall buildings at lower levels than at the higher
levels. This is similar to the way in which the ground has a greater effect on lower levels of the
atmosphere in rural areas.
Variations in micro-climate are shown to be greater over vertical distances than horizontal
distances on the ground indicating opportunities to harness these changes to reduce energy
consumption and improve indoor environment quality in tall buildings.
Peter St. Clair 42 24/02/2010
6 DISCUSSION & POSSIBLE APPLICATIONS OF BUILDING HEIGHT TO
THE BIO-CLIMATIC DESIGN OF TALL BUILDINGS
Section 6 discusses the value and potential applications of building height and the “vertical
micro-climate” concept to the bio-climatic design of tall buildings. The increasing importance of
building and opening orientation with increased building height due to increased wind speeds and
the reduced protection from terrain has been identified for almost 50 years (Olgyay 1963, p94).
This investigation has shown that individual micro-climate characteristics have varying ranges,
gradients and speeds of change with increasing height above the ground. The discussion argues
there are sufficient variations in the vertical climate of tall buildings predominantly located in
urban or suburban areas to support further investigation. This could include the development of
tools such as vertical meteorology and thermal imaging to better understand the more variable
urban climate environment as well as energy modelling and building design studies of possible
bio-climatic design strategies.
Case studies and a series of conceptual bio-climatic design tactics are provided for further
research and development that may lead to a design primer for architects and engineers.
6.1 Discussion of vertical micro-climate characteristics & atmospheric
processes
6.1.1 Patterns of micro-climate in urban areas – the case for the use of building
height in bio-climatic design
The consistent changes in vertical climate shown in rural areas are influenced in the urban
environment by the more far more complex terrain. However the literature shows variations in
urban air temperature, air pressure and humidity with increased height are consistent with or
greater than those in the natural environment however more varied.
The potential applications of the vertical micro-climate to bio-climatic design would be greatest
where the range of conditions varies the most from the ground level to the roof level and these
conditions are measurable and systematic.
Radiant temperatures were shown to reduce systematically with increased height to individual
facades in the field measurements ranging from 21.4 °C at roof level to 29 °C at ground level. Air
temperature ranges of this same magnitude allow passive strategies such as natural ventilation
cooling, fan-forced ventilation cooling and high thermal mass to be effective in achieving indoor
thermal comfort in Sydney (Climate Consultant Version 4.0). However the temperatures to
differently oriented facades varied indicating the need to consider both building height and
orientation. Temperature ranges and gradients also varied significantly to other near by buildings
appearing to be related to building density, orientation, sky-view factor and proximity to street
canyons. This indicates the need to consider the influence of urban design on individual tall
building sites.
Wind speeds are shown to increase with increased height causing greater air pressure differences
to opposing facades. This can provide greater opportunities for natural ventilation in deep plan
buildings where higher indoor air speeds are acceptable or can be managed with for example
double skin facades. Wind turbulence reduces above the urban canopy which may permit more
static façade elements as opposed to more dynamic and responsive facades at lower levels.
Humidity reduces with increased height proving further opportunities for natural ventilation,
mixed-mode systems and evaporative coolers that function more efficiently with reduce
humidity.
Solar radiation levels increase marginally with increased height although of more relevance to the
design of a tall building is the level of solar exposure relative to shading. Increased exposure is
provided above the urban canopy allowing passive solar design in suitable climates and
suggesting increased wall insulation levels, materials with lower U-values and additional sun-
shading than below the urban canopy. Facade integrated photo-voltaics may provide renewable
energy at higher levels where building shading is minimised.
Peter St. Clair 43 24/02/2010
Thermal buoyancy is less effected by fluctuations in external micro-climate although is influenced
by the temperature differences across facades. This provides a reliable passive technique for the
passive ventilation of tall buildings that increases in force with increased building height and
indoor vertical pressure differences. This can include the use of atria and façade stacks in double
skin facades. This is most effective in colder climates where the temperature differences are
greatest and is applied in building such as the Commerzbank in Frankfurt.
Vertical micro-climates are related to local climate variations in cities which until recently were
not defined. The development of a new classification system for urban climate zones by Stewart
and Oke (2009) allows different tall building locations to be defined based on properties that
control surface micro-climate as shown in Figure 36. This may allow sites to be differentiated
more systematically and provide a more accurate basis for the application of bio-climatic tactics.

Figure 36 – Urban climate zones by Stewart and Oke
http://www.urban-climate.org/IAUC034.pdf

Bio-climatic design requires accurate climatic data. The use of the vertical micro-climate in bio-
climatic design would require meteorological data for vertical surfaces and the atmosphere in
cities of which there is little available. Zeiler provides a GIS 3-D object oriented data model for
simulation of the urban canopy layer climate which is to be coupled with vertical surface
information (Wu 2000). This may have applications to the measurement of the vertical climate
and the assessment of any benefits that bio-climatic tactics may provide.
6.1.2 Variability of micro-climate in urban areas - the case against the use of building
height
The vertical climate of cities is not measured in the literature sourced beyond general trends and
the vertical influence of the UHI on the atmosphere. This lack of information causes difficulties
in assessing the feasibility of bio-climatic tactics based on building height.
The potential applications would be least where conditions from the ground level to the roof
level are flattened out. The thermal imaging demonstrated that in some case tall buildings show a
uniform radiant temperature from the street to roof level as demonstrated in Figure 28.
Radiant temperatures in the field study demonstrated high levels of variability in climate in the
urban environment between different streets, outdoor spaces and facades. These complex
conditions were most apparent within the urban canopy which may limit the use of passive
strategies and support the use of air-conditioned environments sealed to the outside.
Larger scale weather systems may cause stronger winds that mix the atmosphere and remove
small scale differences or micro-climatic effects flattening out the vertical variations that result
from the influence of the ground (Oke 1978, p5).
Higher wind speeds can be difficult to manage in naturally ventilated solutions and indoor air
speeds may be unacceptably high necessitating the use of double skin facades or fan forced
mechanical ventilation in lieu of openable windows.
Peter St. Clair 44 24/02/2010
Variations in air pressure with increased height and wind speed can cause difficulties in the
opening of windows and doors. The effects of wind turbulence reduce the effectiveness of roof
mounted wind-turbines limiting the potential for renewable energies that benefit from building
height (http://www.buildinggreen.com/auth/article.cfm?fileName=180501a.xml).
Bio-climatic responses to increased solar radiation levels above the urban canopy may include
reduced window to wall ratio which may not be acceptable in a commercial building where access
to views contributes to the leasing values. Additional sun shading at higher levels may be
hazardous due to wind speeds and façade maintenance requirements as seen in section 3.7.
The high internal air pressure differences that lead to thermal buoyancy can lead to unacceptably
high vertical air speeds in atria necessitating the vertical compartmentalisation of voids.
Other tactics such as the variation of façade types and environmental control systems with height
may lead to reduced uniformity in construction systems and materials which may result in
increased complexity and transport costs.
Bio-climatic design is also dependent on measurable and systematic climate conditions. Whilst
this investigation has not determined the speed of change in the upper atmosphere, rapid
changes may limit the applications of vertical climate changes. Geiger shows the ground surface
provides a level of thermal inertia thereby moderating sudden changes in climate (Geiger 1973 &
Yeang 1996).
The UHI models show that the atmosphere can be contained with an ‘urban dome’ assuming
calm air, which may reduce the gradient of temperatures in the areas of greatest building density
(Oke 1991).
6.2 Possible applications of building height & the “vertical micro-climate” to
Bio-Climatic Design
Applications of building height & vertical micro-climate to the bio-climatic design of tall
buildings could include energy conservation and climate mitigation, improvement in building
durability, savings in operational and embodied energy and on-site energy generation. Figure 37
illustrates conventional approaches to the bio-climatic design of tall building design as developed
by architects such as Ken Yeang. The second diagram illustrates an enhanced approach to bio-
climatic design based in the use of building height and the vertical micro-climate.

Figure 37 – Approaches to bio-climatic design & enhanced bio-climatic design
(author)




6.2.1 Building operational energy performance
The following applications may contribute to energy conservation, climate mitigation and
adaptation through the retro-fitting of existing tall buildings and improved indoor environment
quality:
Peter St. Clair 45 24/02/2010
 Vertical master planning of building usages to match building heat loads which vary with
the external micro-climate. For example commercial uses that generate higher occupant
and technical heat loads may suit the cooler higher levels of tall buildings in hot climates.
 Optimising of building envelope design by for example varying façade materials and
window to wall ratio vertically to match external micro-climate zones that vary with
height leading to reductions of heating and cooling loads.
 Optimised placement and design of solar shading to match varying vertical conditions
affected by the urban context and building clustering.
 Optimised design of façade openings and vents to suit wind speeds and air pressure rates
that vary with height.
 Optimising of façade elements with height and design of compartment openings to
reduce heat infiltration and exfiltration causing loss of cool and heated air and poor air
quality in residential apartments quality
(http://epb.lbl.gov/homepages/Rick_Diamond/LBNL43642-roomvent_98.pdf
 Application of atria spaces and stacks that benefit from variations in air pressure and
temperature difference with height to provide natural ventilation.
 Application of different environmental control systems to vertical zones to benefit from
the temperature lapse rate and reduced humidity, noise and air pollution with increased
height. Systems may include air-conditioning, mixed mode and natural ventilation.
 Optimising of HVAC fan and duct sizes based on vertical compartment modelling that
considers varying external conditions such as changes in air temperature, humidity and
air pressure with height.
6.2.2 Building performance and durability
The following applications of vertical changes in micro-climate may contribute to energy
conservation and reduced operational and embodied energy usage. Façade elements can often
deteriorate where most exposed to wind driven rain or dust and where solar radiation is not
available:
 Optimising of building material performance and wall assembly details to match varying
external conditions. This is a common consideration by building climatologists (Page
1976). The application of detailed micro-climatic measurements may allow more detailed
assessment of building exposure to climate in tall buildings which experience greater
exposure than low-rise buildings.
 Application of external climatic data and environmental loads such as temperature and
humidity and wind and rain exposure to the choice and detailing of building envelope
materials to improve durability and reduce maintenance requirements. This is
recommended in cold climates such as Canada by the Homeowners Protection
(http://www.hpo.bc.ca/PDF/Research/Reports/SHREPsummary.pdf).
 Long life cycle materials may be used to facades to assist in reducing the energy costs of
replacing materials or the increased operational energy costs resulting from reduced
thermal performance.
6.2.3 Building energy generation
Increasing building height may contribute to the generation of renewable energy due to greater
exposure to increased wind speed and solar radiation above the urban canopy. Roaf states that up
to 50-60% of energy requirements can be generated on site (Roaf 2005, p245):
 Wind turbines may have fewer applications than suggested in previous studies. Tall
buildings can provide greater exposure to wind however this is complicated by building
clustering, wind shading and turbulence. Guthrie cautions against high expectations
stating that wind can provide no more than 5% of electrical needs in a tall building. The
Peter St. Clair 46 24/02/2010
generation of wind energy is limited by the tendency for wind at roof levels to separate
into wind streams reducing the effectiveness of wind turbines (Guthrie 2008). Current
projects that propose to generate their own power include the 640m tall DMC Tower in
Korea by SOM Architects (Figure 38) which will apply the natural physics of tall
buildings such as the stack effect and wind turbines to generate up to 3% of the
building’s energy consumption
(http://www.som.com/content.cfm/113009_pr_groundbreaking_digital_media_city_la
ndmark_tower).

Figure 38 - DMC Tower
(http://www.tallest-building-in-the-world.com/)

 Roof mounted photo-voltaics are limited due to the relatively small roof area in tall
buildings. Façade integrated photo-voltaics can generate between 10-15% of energy
requirements (Guthrie 2008) however requires wind and solar generation to be
integrated into the façade whilst maintaining other amenities such as day lighting and
external views. The capacity of solar generated energy is influenced by building density,
orientation, overshadowing and height. The Pearl River Tower shown in Figure 39
receives less than 10% of its energy needs from the wind turbines and BIPV
(http://chinagreenbuildings.blogspot.com/2008_11_01_archive.html).
Peter St. Clair 47 24/02/2010


Figure 39- The Pearl River Tower
(http://www.buildinggreen.com/auth/article.cfm?fileName=180501a.xml )

Figure 40 illustrates that tall buildings can provide less electricity generating potential per square
metre of floor area due to the decreased availability of solar radiation on vertical facades when
compared to horizontal roofs due to their high dependency on orientation (Haase & Amato
2006). Other contributing factors are the reduced ratio of building envelope to floor area with
increasing height as seen in Cho’s study (Cho 2005, p1007) and the likelihood of shading from
adjacent buildings

Figure 40 – Electricity potential for increasing floor numbers and locations
http://www.unige.ch/cuepe/html/plea2006/Vol1/PLEA2006_PAPER509.pdf

The opportunities to generate significant levels of energy with increasing building height appears
to be less than suggested by current tall building designs. However greater opportunities may
exist in taller buildings that extend above the urban canopy and those situated in suburban areas
with lower building densities. These types of buildings may be less impacted by over-shadowing
and wind turbulence.
Peter St. Clair 48 24/02/2010
6.2.4 Building types and locations
The vertical changes in climate shown by this investigation suggest that certain buildings and
locations may provide greater opportunities for the application of building height to bio-climatic
design. Field measurements highlighted the greater influence of the ground and urban canopy on
radiant façade temperatures. Whilst the average height of the urban canopy varies they
commonly lie at 50-100m in CBD areas such as New York (Holt & Pullen 2006, p1907) and so
buildings that extend above this height may provide greater opportunities.
 Super tall buildings where more constant atmospheric processes such as air pressure and
the adiabatic lapse rate play a larger part and may benefit HVAC designs. These types of
buildings will typically include mixed uses such as residential commercial and hotels.
 Sections of tall buildings situated above the urban canopy where the micro-climate is
cooler and less humid and less variable.
 Multi-use buildings that incorporate varying occupant requirements at differing building
heights such as residential commercial and hotel uses which may suit the design of
different strata’s to suit differing micro-climate zones.
 Tall buildings in CBD locations situated within lower building clusters such shown in the
MLC Centre case study. These will commonly include commercial buildings up to 250m
and residential buildings up to 150m (http://skyscraperpage.com/diagrams/).
 Tall buildings situated adjacent to green spaces and open spaces with greater sky view
factor. These may include residential buildings, hotels, commercial and institutional
buildings.
 Tall building design in developing countries where energy access and economic
constraints limit energy usage for cooling and ventilation.
6.3 Bio-climatic design tactics for tall buildings based upon building height
The studies of vertical micro-climate suggest there are three forms of climate related benefits that
result from building height that could be investigated further:
 Harvesting the external micro-climate – benefiting from the vertical micro-climate
conditions such as cooler, cleaner and less humid air at higher levels to provide increased
natural ventilation or factor in reduced air-conditioning loads to reduce energy usage.
Providing solar and wind generation through plant and façade integrated technologies.
 Modifying the external micro-climate through building and urban design – developing
outdoor spaces such as sky gardens and winter gardens and filters such as screens and
sunshades. Reducing the cooling and heating loads driven by the sun and wind
characteristics that vary from the ground to roof through buffers, shading and material
selections. Reducing energy usage and providing outdoor amenity for building occupants
to improve occupant health and comfort.
 Stack effect/thermal buoyancy– benefiting from the stack effect which accelerates with
increased building height. Providing atria, ventilation shafts, double-skin facades and
solar chimneys that assist with natural ventilation and heat exhaust and reduce energy
usage.
The following table proposes some building design tactics classified according to building
elements and systems similar to that used by Hyde (2000 pp29-32). The role of the façade is
significant due to the large ratio of wall to roof that increases with increasing building height. The
façade is also the building element that experiences the greatest variation in climate exposure and
conditions vertically as well as with orientation. Providing variable and responsive façade designs
based upon vertical zoning could provide opportunities for greater variation in tall building
façade design that responds to both environmental and urban design drivers.

Peter St. Clair 49 24/02/2010
Table 4- Conceptual bio-climatic tactics for tall building elements, form and fabric
Conceptual bio-climatic design tactics that respond to building height & vertical micro-
climate
Facade

1. Vary façade & opening types vertically to match varying vertical micro-climate &
building use (if mixed use).
2. Vary façade & opening types vertically to match varying vertical micro-climate & varied
external day lighting availability with height & urban context.
3. Vary vents & monsoon windows vertically to moderate wind speeds and ensure suitable
internal conditions with natural ventilation solutions.
4. Vary environmental control systems vertically to match varying vertical micro-climate &
building use (if mixed use). For example natural ventilation, mixed-mode & air-
conditioning.
5. Vary window to wall ratios (WWR) vertically to match varying micro-climate, urban
context & building use if mixed use & reduce solar radiation and increased convective
heat loss with height.
6. Reduce window to wall ratio (WWR) with increased height in hot climates to reduce
solar heat loads where they increase vertically due to reduce building shading and
increased reflectivity. Increase WWR (using double glazing) with increased height in cold
climates to benefit from passive solar design
7. Profile the building form and façade to minimise downdrafts & pedestrian dis-comfort
& reduce convective heat losses from winds in cold climates
8. Provide double-skin shaft facades to create vertical air movement and exhaust, act as a
solar chimney (Haase 2005 p.768) & diffuser to allow operable windows whilst
controlling wind loads and wind noise (Driskill).
9. Vary level of façade/opening responsiveness to match the varying speed of vertical
micro-climate change. Maximise responsiveness at higher levels where micro-climate
changes more rapidly.
10. Optimise position of façade integrated photovoltaics (PV) to match vertical micro-
climate & increased solar access with height.
11. Vary façade insulation & U-value vertically to match varying vertical micro-climate.
12. Optimise position and screening of outdoor spaces to match vertical micro-climate &
increased wind speeds with height & urban context.
13. Vary glazing shading co-efficients to match varying vertical micro-climate & increased
solar exposure typical with height.
14. Minimise horizontal ledges @ lower levels to minimise dust collection & maintenance.
15. Vary façade insulation & design vertically to match external noise levels that vary with
height.
Floor planning, shape & orientation

1. Vary floor plan configuration & depth to match varying vertical micro-climate, building
use & environmental control systems. For example use a narrower floor pate or
introduce atria to higher building levels if naturally ventilated.
2. Vary floor plan orientation to match varying vertical micro-climate & urban context &
reduce heating & cooling loads.
3. Provide mixed-use tall buildings with the programme divided into multi-level strata’s that
benefit from the varying vertical micro-climate & urban context
4. Reduce increasing wind loads that occur with greater height with aero-dynamic forms
(Driskill)
Perimeter Space

1. Vary enclosure & screening of perimeter spaces such as winter gardens & balconies to
match varying vertical micro-climate & urban context. Maximise enclosure of open areas
at higher levels
2. Optimise shade, thermal buffering & wind protection to match varying vertical micro-
climate & urban context.
Atria and Voids

Peter St. Clair 50 24/02/2010
Conceptual bio-climatic design tactics that respond to building height & vertical micro-
climate
1. Venture Effect ventilation can assist with higher heat loads higher in the building
resulting from the stack effect.
2. Provide vertical buffer zones (Roaf 2005 p 59)
3. Utilise sky courts to reduce wind loadings higher in building
4. Use an atrium space/ventilation stack to introduce controlled vertical natural ventilation
flow and cooling from increased air pressure differential with building height (Aynsley
2007, p7). Most effective in cold or temperate climates where the temperature
differences between the exterior and interior is greatest.
5. Provide protected atria space to higher sections of building where wind speed are higher
6. Provide perimeter sky gardens to lower section of building where wind speeds lower.
7. Increase height of ventilation stacks to induce greater
Roof

1. Provide wind turbines & solar collectors
2. Provide roof vents & form negative pressure zones to draw air through stacks, double
skin facades & atria situated below
3. Provide wind towers that benefit from higher wind speeds & cleaner air at increased
height.
Section

1. Consider multi-use building with differing uses and configurations to suit micro-climate
of different vertical zones/strata’s.
2. Provide cooling dominated uses to higher sections of building to benefit from lower
temperatures.
3. Provide heating dominated uses to lower sections of building to benefit from relatively
higher temperatures.
4. Provide high occupancy spaces to higher sections of building in hot climates where
reduced temperature, air density and humidity reduce the requirement for energy usage
for cooling
5. Provide segmentation of section to reduce internal buoyancy pressure (Etheridge & Ford
2008).
Materials

1. Select façade and roof materials with shading co-efficients and U-values to match
varying vertical micro-climate
2. Offset high embodied energy content of superstructure that varies vertically by avoiding
high embodied energy façade materials such as aluminium and varying façade materials
vertically
Landscape

1. Introduce planting to develop local micro-climates, increase evapo-transpiration and
shield outdoor spaces and façade from solar radiation and convective cooling of the
building fabric from winds
2. Provide vertical landscaping to provide shading & regulate solar heat gains and
convective losses that vary with height
3. Introduce planting to urban canopy zone to filter higher dust and pollution content and
provide shade to offset higher temperatures and over heating potential
4. Select plant species to suit temperatures and sun exposure that vary with building height
Active Systems

1. Provide HVAC air intakes at higher level in hot climates where air temperature, air
density and humidity are lower and at lower level in cold climates where air temperatures
are higher to be closer to the desired indoor temperature, minimising cooling and
heating energy usage of HVAC system. Optimise draw of air into HVAC intakes
reducing fan energy by positioning according to wind speeds that vary with height and
orientation.
Peter St. Clair 51 24/02/2010
Conceptual bio-climatic design tactics that respond to building height & vertical micro-
climate
2. Provide HVAC exhausts to cooler outdoor locations higher in the building to minimise
impact on surrounding environment and UHI. Position according to wind speeds that
vary with height and orientation ensure optimum dispersion whilst not drawing foul air
back into the fresh air system.
3. Apply atmospheric temperature lapse rate and vertical variation in humidity to minimise
cooling and heating energy usage of HVAC system
4. Consider differential air pressure and infiltration across façade that varies with height to
minimise cooling and heating energy usage of HVAC system
5. Consider stack effect that leads to increased warm air higher in building to minimise
cooling and heating energy usage of HVAC system
6. Consider varying extent of building shading and reflection with building height to
minimise cooling and heating energy usage of HVAC system
7. Consider operational energy benefits of tall buildings in hot climates where proportion
of building located in cooler zone increases with increasing building height reducing
cooling energy usage
8. Provide several HVAC systems and compartments such as fan coil units, mixed mode
and natural ventilation to suit heating and cooling loads that vary with height and
orientation.
9. Provide building mounted weather stations at height intervals to measure wind speed, air
temperature and pressure, humidity and solar radiation levels.
10. Provide enhanced BMS systems to provide façade and HVAC operability that responds
to micro-climate conditions that vary with height based on actual climate conditions or
programmed conditions based upon measured seasonal and daily fluctuations
Passive Environmental Systems

1. Provide vertical axis wind turbines to roof level where wind speeds are highest and
consider wind generation to facades at higher levels (Roaf, Chrichton & Nicol 2005,
p250). Wind turbine efficiency and output increases with additional height (Yeang 1996,
p135).
2. Provide solar arrays to roof level benefiting from higher solar radiation with building
height and reduced airborne pollutants allowing better solar gain
3. Provide building integrated solar photovoltaic’s to sun and shading patterns to facades
that vary with height and orientation
4. Provide zoned mixed-mode systems that vary with height to match varying micro-
climate and building use with height. For example reduced humidity at higher levels may
increase number of days per annum situated within the comfort band allowing reduced
usage of air-conditioning.
5. Provided passive solar heating and thermal mass to match varying sun and shading
patterns that vary with height and orientation. Maximise solar gains for heating at cooler
higher levels.
6. Provide wind scoops and towers to supply and extract cleaner and cooler air from higher
elevations (Battle McCarthy, pp38,39)
7. Provide natural ventilation cooling, fan forced ventilation cooling and night purging to
match temperature, humidity and air quality that varies with height. Increased wind
speeds with height increases the opportunity for natural ventilation at higher levels
(improved air quality, cooling of structural mass and thermal comfort).
8. Provide evaporative cooling to higher sections of building in hot climates where
humidity is reduced
9. Harvest water in dry climates with collection to roof and upper windward elevation

Peter St. Clair 52 24/02/2010
6.4 Relationship of building height & vertical micro-climate to other aspects
of sustainable development
The application of bio-climatic principles related to building height & vertical micro-climate
could coincide with other objectives of sustainable development such as:
 Modifying the external micro-climate of tall buildings to reduce thermal loads and
indoor heating and cooling requirements may also provide improved thermal comfort
and amenity for pedestrians
 Reducing dependencies upon energy for HVAC promotes stronger relationships
between occupants and the outdoor environment which represents a key weakness of
tall buildings (Gifford 2008).
 The use of passive systems in tall buildings has the additional advantage of providing
greater occupant control which can provide less thermal stress and a wider range of
acceptable conditions (Roaf 2005, p118, 119).
6.5 Summary of potential applications to bio-climatic design
The following conclusions are drawn from this investigation in respect to the study objectives:
1. Bio-climatic design is largely focused on low- rise buildings that are subject to differing
micro-climate conditions than tall buildings. The vertical micro-climate may provide
opportunities for vertically differentiated environmental control systems and the concept
of ‘strata’s’ or compartments that respond to differing outside conditions and urban
contexts with height.
2. Strategies that use building height to reduce energy consumption can be described in
three categories:
 Harvesting of vertical changes in micro-climate through passive strategies and renewable
energy sources.
 Modifying the micro-climate to reduce heat losses and gains
 Applying ventilation principles related to stack effect and air pressure differentiation that
accelerate with increased building height
3. Whilst temperature gradients were shown to be highest within the urban canopy this also
corresponded to the zone of greatest variability and is most commonly more affected by
noise and air pollution. Therefore the types of buildings that may benefit most from the
application of changes in climate with building height are those situated above or away
from the influences of the urban canopy.
4. The benefits of vertical bio-climatic strategies to tall buildings may be greater in hot
climates dominated by cooling as increased height provides cooling benefits through air
temperature reductions and passive ventilation strategies. The reverse may be the case in
cold climates where increased height and wind speeds and reduced air temperatures may
increase heating loads due to increased convection and infiltration.
5. Some aspects of changes in the climate with height have already been applied in for
example the Freedom Tower in New York active systems have benefited from accurate
meteorological predictions based upon temperature lapse rates to achieve 13%
reductions in energy use through HVAC design. There is less evidence of the application
of architectural strategies which may be promoted by the use of predictive software or
accurate on site meteorological data.
6. The application of vertical changes in micro-climate is dependent on the range and
gradient of climatic changes with height and so any rapid changes may limit the
applications of vertical changes. This variation of climate from street to street and level
to level demonstrates the importance of urban meteorological data at a micro-climate
scale.
Peter St. Clair 53 24/02/2010
7 CONCLUSION
7.1 Implications
The following conclusions are drawn:
1. Low-rise buildings are subject to a horizontal micro-climate consisting of local changes
in solar radiation exposure, wind speed, temperature and humidity conditions. Bio-
climatic design commonly applies these variations in hot climates where shading and
natural ventilation strategies are used to limit heat gains.
2. Tall buildings are subject to a vertical micro-climate consisting of similar types of local
changes with the addition of atmospheric processes such as air pressure that reduces
with increased height. The range of conditions is also greater over vertical distances than
over horizontal distances on the ground providing a greater opportunity to harness the
micro-climate than in low-rise buildings.
3. Micro-climates extend vertically from just below the ground to several hundred metres
above the ground during the night and to approximately one kilometre above the ground
during the day.
4. Vertical climatic conditions in the natural environment vary significantly with height with
the widest ranges being closer to the ground which influences conditions up to
approximately 100m. Changes include reduced air temperature, air pressure and
humidity and increased wind speeds with increased height.
5. Vertical climatic conditions in the urban environment are shown to be more complex
due to UHI factors such as varying building densities and anthropogenic energy outputs
which can influence conditions up to 200 – 500m. Similar trends apply as in the natural
environment including reduced air temperature, air pressure, wind turbulence and
humidity and increased wind speeds with increased height. However the range and
vertical gradients of conditions are more variable and field measurements show thermal
radiant temperatures can be flattened out to provide no distinction between ground and
roof level conditions in the case of a south west facing façade within a zone of higher
building density.
6. Access to cooler and cleaner air for natural and mechanical ventilation and sunlight for
PV generation increases with increased building height and clearance from the urban
canopy. Whilst wind speeds increase with height this does not necessarily provide
suitable laminar flow for roof mounted wind turbines and may not increase effective
wind power generation.
7. Operational energy per unit of floor area increased with building height in one study of
6-48 storey commercial buildings in Hong Kong. Electricity usage decreased with
building height in one study of a 12 storey residential building in a cold climate. Heating
and cooling loads can vary at each level of a tall building and with overall building
height. This results from increased levels of engineering services, solar heat loads and
convective forces from wind with increasing height. The building surface area relative to
the floor area reduces with increased height in buildings reducing heat losses and gains
through the envelope. The stack effect contributes further by moving hot air up through
a building and by façade infiltration and exfiltration.
8. Measurements of thermal radiant temperature in a 228m tall building showed similar
trends than for air temperatures in rural areas with temperatures and temperature
gradients reducing with increased height above the ground. Temperatures cooled by up
to 6.5 ° C from the ground to roof level representing an overall gradient of -2.85 ° C per
100m. Gradients from the ground to 75m were considerably higher than in rural areas
ranging up to 3.15 ° C per 100m and 6.47 ° C per 100m where the temperature of the
ground plane is considered.
Peter St. Clair 54 24/02/2010
9. Higher and more variable temperature gradients were evident in the field study to the
lower levels of the building coinciding approximately with the height of the surrounding
urban canopy. Lower and more consistent temperature gradients were evident to the
upper levels of the building coinciding approximately with the urban boundary layer
above adjacent building roofs. This suggests differing tactics such as natural ventilation
to the upper levels of tall buildings and insulation and more responsive facades to the
lower levels.
10. Bio-climatic design requires the application of systematic climate patterns and site data.
Urban locations consist of multiple horizontal and vertical micro-climates making the
application of micro-climatology complex and dependent on local site data not
commonly available. This study demonstrates that applications such as thermal imaging
can provide detailed data in urban environments. This could be combined with multiple
compartment energy modelling used in Freedom Tower, new GIS data models such as
Zeilers and a new urban climate zone classification system by Stewart and Oke. This may
lead to a more accurate 3-D understanding of urban micro-climates and allow the
application of the vertical micro-climate to bio-climatic design to be investigated further.
11. The benefits of vertical bio-climatic strategies to tall buildings may be greater in hot
climates where principle energy usage is for cooling, as increased height provides cooling
benefits through air temperature reductions and passive ventilation strategies. Strategies
in cold climates may include increasing wall insulation with height to correspond to
cooler temperatures and higher wind speeds.
12. Super tall buildings, buildings in lower density clusters, levels of tall buildings above the
average urban canopy height of 50-100m and mixed use buildings may be most suited to
the use of bio-climatic design based on building height and vertical climate.
13. This investigation provides conceptual tactics for further development that may lead to a
design primer for architects and enhanced bio-climatic design strategies. Tactics are
classified according to building elements and include varying window to wall ratio, sun
shading and u-value selections to match climate conditions that vary with height. These
are focused on reducing cooling loads in hot climates and heating loads in cold climates.
Other more commonly applied tactics include pressure driven thermal buoyancy in atria
to assist with natural ventilation and reduce energy consumption for cooling.

14. Other tactics consider varying façade and opening types and HVAC systems to match
climate conditions that vary with height. This would include the use of climate
responsive facades and be focused on the greater use of passive cooling in hot climates.
These tactics would lead to a building design that varies vertically to match the micro-
climate which changes with height. This would be conceptually similar to the varying of
facades with orientation to match sun movement which is a condition of meso-climate.
15. The vertical micro-climate has been applied to existing tall building designs such as
Freedom Tower in New York although this case study is limited to a super tall building
and the use of temperature lapse rate in mechanical engineering design. This project was
studied by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in the USA who concluded that
“environmental factors that vary with altitude have a significant effect on the annual
total building and cooling energy”.
16. This may contribute to climate mitigation by off-setting increases in construction costs
and embodied energy that occur with increased height. It may contribute to climate
adaptation by optimising envelope and environmental systems in the retro-fitting of
existing tall buildings.
17. Previous studies have examined the relationship of building height and sustainable
design however these studies are primarily focused on the optimisation of HVAC design.
This study identifies the opportunity for further research, verification and development
of the proposed conceptual tactics which may contribute to a bio-climatic design based
on building height.
Peter St. Clair 55 24/02/2010
7.2 Future research
Further research is required to examine the opportunities that the vertical micro-climate and
other features of building height provide to climate mitigation and improved indoor environment
quality. This includes:
1. Modelling and meteorological measurements of vertical micro-climate conditions
including solar radiation, relative humidity or dewpoint, air and radiant temperature, air
pressure and wind speed at vertical intervals to existing tall building facades. A range of
climate zones and urban climate sites could be selected based on Stewart and Oke's
classification system. This could employ thermal imaging and GIS as well as
methodologies developed by micro-meteorologists and building climatologists.
2. Development of a ‘vertical mapping’ methodology to record and analyse vertical micro-
climates to tall building envelopes. Methodologies used to record and analyse ground
level micro-climate could be combined with 3-D GIS to suit vertical applications. This
may also contribute to a vertical urban design (Yeang 1996, p75).
3. Investigate the effectiveness of the conceptual bio-climatic design tactics proposed in
Table 4 to the reduction of heating and cooling loads through the use of multiple vertical
compartment modelling. Determine if the greater use of vertical micro-climate data
could contribute to mathematical models used to predict the climate conditions and
envelope controls within different urban climate sites and at different heights.
4. Investigate the life cycle performance of tall buildings to compare the operational energy
and indoor environment quality benefits relative to embodied and maintenance energy
increases that may result from multiple façade types and environmental control systems.


Peter St. Clair 56 24/02/2010
8 APPENDIX
8.1 Additional field measurement data
8.1.1 Eastern Elevation
Image Time Image Max.
Temperature
Image Min.
Temperature
Image Date
9:28:55 AM 34.1 °C 1.3 °C 11/19/2009

Sp1 Temperature Sp2 Temperature Sp3 Temperature
24.5 °C 24.4 °C 22.8 °C
Figure 41 – Thermal imaging data summary (east elevation)


8.1.2 Northern elevation
Image Time Image Max.
Temperature
Image Min.
Temperature
Image Date
9:46:27 AM 62.0 °C 3.6 °C 11/19/2009

Sp1 Temperature Sp2 Temperature Sp3 Temperature
26.9 °C 24.0 °C 24.6 °C
Figure 42 – Thermal imaging data summary (north elevation)


8.1.3 West elevation
Image Time Image Max.
Temperature
Image Min.
Temperature
Image Date
8:56:33 AM 44.4 °C -8.3 °C 11/19/2009

Sp1 Temperature Sp2 Temperature Sp3 Temperature
29.1 °C 26.8 °C 26.2 °C
Figure 43 – Thermal imaging data summary (west elevation)


8.1.4 South elevation
Image Time Image Max.
Temperature
Image Min.
Temperature
Image Date
9:15:34 AM 43.2 °C -13.8 °C 11/19/2009

Sp1 Temperature Sp2 Temperature Sp3 Temperature
24.4 °C 28.4 °C 24.4 °C
Figure 44 – Thermal imaging data summary (south elevation)




Peter St. Clair 57 24/02/2010
8.1.5 North elevation podium
Image Time Image Max.
Temperature
Image Min.
Temperature
Image Date
10:09:30 AM 32.9 °C -2.1 °C 11/19/2009

Sp1 Temperature Sp2 Temperature Sp3 Temperature
25.8 °C 28.7 °C 23.9 °C
Figure 45 – Thermal imaging data summary (north elevation podium)

Peter St. Clair 58 24/02/2010

9 REFERENCES
American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) 2004, Outdoor Human Comfort and Its Assessment,
ASCE Publications, Reston.
Aynsley, R. 2007, ‘Natural Ventilation in Passive Design’, BEDP Environment Design Guide Tec 2.
Battle McCarthy Consulting Engineers 1999, Wind Towers – Detail in Building, Academy Editions,
Chichester.
Beedle, S.L (Ed.) 1978, Philosophy of Tall Buildings, Planning and Environmental Criteria, Chapter PC-1,
American Society of Civil Engineers, New York.
Beedle, L.S, Ali, P.J, & Armstrong, M.M 2007, The Skyscraper and the City, Design Technology and
Innovation, Book 1, Edwin Mellen Press, New York.
Blocken, B., Carmeliet, J. 2004, ‘A Review of Wind-Driven Rain Research in Building Science’,
Journal of Wind Engineering and Industrial Aerodynamics
Cho, J.S 2005, ‘A study of architectural design factors for tall office buildings with regional
climates based on sustainability’, Tall Buildings: Sixth international Conference on Tall buildings,
p.1001 - 1010, World Scientific.
Climate Consultant Version 4.0, [online], Available: http://www.energy-design-
tools.aud.ucla.edu/

Driskill, M. Climatological constraints on high rises, [online], Available:
http://www.arch.ttu.edu/courses/2007/fall/5605_392/students/Driskill/Climate%20C
onstraints%20on%20High%20Rise%20web.pdf

Ellis, P.G., Torcellini, P.A. 2005, Simulating Tall Buildings Using Energy Plus [online], Available:
http://www.ibpsa.org/proceedings/BS2005/BS05_0279_286.pdf (July 27 2009).
Emmanuel, M.R 2005, An Urban Approach to Climate Sensitive Design, Strategies for the Tropics, Taylor
& Francis, New York.
Etheridge, D.W., Ford, B. 2008, Natural ventilation of tall buildings – options and limitations, CTUBH
8
th
World Congress 2008 [online], Available:
http://www.ctbuh.org/Portals/0/Repository/T5_EtheridgeFord.b6a96cc4-17e2-4c6b-
9ea2-97d41f025922.pdf
Feustel, H.E, Diamond, R.C, ‘Air Flow Distribution in a High Rise Residential Building’, [online],
Available: http://epb.lbl.gov/homepages/Rick_Diamond/LBNL43642-
roomvent_98.pdf
Geiger, R. 1973, The Climate Near the Ground, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, USA.
Gifford, R. 2008, The Consequences of Living in High Rise Buildings, Architectural Science
Review,Volume 50.1, [online],
http://web.uvic.ca/psyc/gifford/pdf/ASR%20High%20Rises%20proof.pdf (26 August
2009).
Givoni, B. 1998, Climate Considerations in Building and Urban Design, John Wiley and Sons, New
York.
Guthrie, A. 2008, ‘Tall Buildings Sustainability from the bottom up’, CTBUH 8th World
Congress 2008
Available: http://www.ctbuh.org/Portals/0/Repository/T1_Guthrie.07da35be-290f-
402e-bd18-709be2c1ce31.pdf

Haase, M., Amato, A. 2006, Sustainable Façade Design for Zero Energy Buildings in the Tropics [online],
Available:
Peter St. Clair 59 24/02/2010
http://www.unige.ch/cuepe/html/plea2006/Vol1/PLEA2006_PAPER509.pdf (28 July
2009).
Haase, M., Amato, A. 2005, Development of a Double Skin Façade System that Combines Airflow Windows
with Solar Chimneys, The 2005 World Sustainable Building Conference, [online], Available:
Hausladen, G., de Saldanha, M., Liedl, P. 2006, Climate Skin: Building Skin Concepts that can do more
with Less Energy, Birkhauser, Berlin.
Holt, T., Pullen, J. 2006, ‘Urban Canopy Modelling of the New York City Metropolitan Area: A
Comparison and Validation of Single- and Multilayer Parameterizations’, Monthly Weather
Review, Vol. 135, [online], Available:
http://74.125.153.132/search?q=cache:cPybBL9QjFoJ:www.theworldisyourocean.net/p
apers/2007mwr.pdf+urban+canopy+height+new+york&cd=7&hl=en&ct=clnk (3rb
February 2010)
Hyde, R., 2000, Climate Responsive Design – A Study of Buildings in Moderate and Hot Humid Climates,
E & FN Spon, Oxon.
IPCC, 2007, Climate Change 2007; Impact, Adaptation and Vulnerability. Contribution of
Working Party Group II to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental
Panel on Climate Change, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
Johnson, C. 2004, Greening Cities, Government Architect’s Publications, Sydney.
Leung, L., Weismantle, P. 2008, Sky-sources sustainability – How Super Tall Buildings can Benefit from
Height [online], Available:
http://www.ctbuh.org/Portals/0/Repository/T8_LeungWeismantle.027115a3-4810-
41ca-97d6-e6b32b449829.pdf
Lim, B. 1994, Environmental Design Criteria of Tall Buildings, Lehigh University, USA.
Lowry, W. 1991, Atmospheric Ecology for Designers and Planners, Thomas Nelson Australia, South
Melbourne, Australia.
Oke, T.R. 1991, ‘Climate of Cities’, Climate in Human Perspective, 61-75
Oke, T.R. 1978, Boundary Layer Climates, 2
nd
Edition, Methuen, New York.
Oke, T.R 1974, Technical Note No. 134 – Review of Urban Climatology 1968-1973, World
Meteorological Association, Geneva.
Oldfield, P., Trabucco, D., & Wood, A. 2008, Five Generations of Tall Buildings: A Historical Analysis
of Energy Consumption in High Rise Buildings,
Olgyay, V. 1963, Design with Climate: Bioclimatic Approach to Architectural Regionalism, Princeton
University Press, New Jersey.
Oliver, J.E (Ed) 2005, The Encyclopedia of World Climatology, Springer, The Netherlands.
Page, J.K. 1976, Application of Building Climatology to the Problems of Housing and Building for Human
Settlements – Technical Note 150, World Meteorological Organisation, Geneva, Switzerland.
Phillips, D., Beyer, M., Good, J. 2009, ‘How High Can You Go?’, ASHRAE Journal, September
2009 pp32-36).
Richards, I. 2001, T.R Hamzah & Yeang: Ecology of the Sky, Images Publishing, Victoria.
Roaf, S., Chricton, D. & Nicol, N. 2005, Adapting Buildings and Cities for Climate Change, A 21
st

Century survival guide, Architectural Press, Oxford, U.K.
Roodman, D.M. & Lenssen, H. 1995, A Building Revolution: How Ecology and Health Concerns are
Transforming Construction, World Watch Paper 124, Worldwatch Institute, Washington D.C.
Roth, M. 2009, ‘Effects of cities on the local climate and the relationship with climate change
mitigation and adaptation’, IOP Conf. Series: Earth and Environmental Science, Volume
6 332032, [online], Available: http://www.iop.org/EJ/article/1755-
Peter St. Clair 60 24/02/2010
1315/6/33/332032/ees9_6_332032.pdf?request-id=5640236a-6e30-4bbf-92b5-
e9d5fb0b38d5 (February 21st 2009).
Rovers, R. 2008, ‘How Tall is a Sustainable Building ?’
Paper based on a presentation at XXIII UIA World Congress of Architects, Torino, Italy
2008 [online], http://www.sustainablebuilding.info/post-crash/files/tallbuildings-UIA-
paper-010608-rovers.pdf (January 25th 2010).
Sharples, S. 1984, ‘Full-Scale Measurements of Convective Energy Losses from Exterior Building
Surfaces’, Building and Environment, vol.19, pp.31-39
Smith, P. 2008, Architecture in a Climate of Change, Architectural Press, Oxford.
Stewart, I., Oke, T. 2009, ‘A New Classification System for Urban Climate Sites – The Case of
Nagano Japan’, [online], Available:
http://www.ide.titech.ac.jp/~icuc7/extended_abstracts/pdf/385055-1-090515165722-
002.pdf
Stewart, I. 2009, ‘Classifying Urban Climate Field Sites by Local Climate Zones’, Urban Climate
News, Issue 34, December 2009, [online], Available: http://www.urban-
climate.org/IAUC034.pdf
Strelitz, Z. (ed) 2005, Tall Buildings: A strategic design guide, RIBA Publishing, London.
Treloar, G J , Fay. R, Ilozor, B, Love, P E D. 2001, ‘An analysis of the embodied energy of office
buildings by height’, Facilities, Bradford: May/June, Vol. 19, Issue. 5/6; p. 204 -
Van den Dobbelsteen, A., Thijssen, S., Colaleo, V. & Metz, T. 2007, ‘Ecology of the Building
Geometry - Environmental performance of different building shapes’, Paper at CIB
2007 Congress, [online], Available: http://www.irbnet.de/daten/iconda/CIB4781.pdf
(February 9th 2010).
World Meteorological Organisation 1988, ‘World Climate Applications Programme Report of
Rapporteur on Urban and Building Climatology, WMO, Reprint 168’, [online], Available:
http://www.weather.gov.hk/publica/reprint/r168.pdf (February 13th 2010)
Wu, Lin. 2000, ‘GIS Development and Urban Climate Modeling’, [online], Available:
http://www.colorado.edu/research/cires/banff/pubpapers/75/
Yeang, K. 1996, The Skyscraper Bioclimatically Considered: A Design Primer, Academy Editions, Great
Britain.
Yeang, K. 1994, Bioclimatic Skyscrapers, Artemis, London.
Yeang, K. 1999, The Green Skyscraper – The basis for designing sustainable intensive buildings, Prestel
Verlag, Munich.
Peter St. Clair 61 24/02/2010

Internet Sources

http://www.npcaa.com.au/datasheets/Prec32.pdf (viewed 9th September 2009)
http://www.seidler.net.au/projects/012.html (viewed 21st February 2010).
http://www.joelertola.com/grfx/grfx_update_feb_05/tall_buildings.jpg
http://skyscraperpage.com/diagrams/ (viewed 21st February 2010).
http://www.grida.no/publications/other/ipcc_tar/?src=/climate/ipcc_tar/wg1/518.htm
(viewed 21st February 2010).
http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/syr/en/contents.html (viewed 21st February
2010).
http://journal.ccsenet.org/index.php/jsd/article/viewFile/1477/1417 (viewed 21st February
2010).
http://www.physicalgeography.net/fundamentals/7w.html (viewed 21st February 2010).
http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/environ/design/design_a.shtml (viewed 2nd October 2009).
http://www.aeromech.usyd.edu.au/aero/atmosphere/ (viewed 21st February 2010).
http://www.pdas.com/refs/us76.pdf (viewed 21st February 2010).
http://www.hpo.bc.ca/PDF/Research/Reports/SHREPsummary.pdf (viewed 16th October
2009).
http://www.cmhc.ca/en/inpr/bude/himu/hehi/upload/Chapter-3-Enhancing-IndoorAir-
Quality-IAQ.pdf (viewed 16th October 2009).
http://www.cmhc.ca/publications/en/rh-pr/tech/tech02-101-e.html (viewed 16th October
2009).
http://www.nrc-cnrc.gc.ca/eng/ibp/irc/cbd/building-digest-104.html (viewed 3rd November
2009)
http://www.ctbuh.org/Portals/0/Repository/T16_SwiftStead.7cba136a-c664-456c-a6e6-
0eb4cca05a89.pdf (viewed 21st February 2010).
http://ldf-consult.rbkc.gov.uk/portal/planning/aq_spd/aq_spd?pointId=1224843506487
(viewed 21st February 2010).
http://www.tpub.com/content/aerographer/14312/css/14312_47.htm (viewed 21st February
2010).
http://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/nr/rdonlyres/de3830fe-d52d-4b10-b8b6-
ab8eeb001404/0/bc_rs_tallbuild_0202_fr.pdf (viewed 21st February 2010).
http://www.som.com/content.cfm/113009_pr_groundbreaking_digital_media_city_landmark_t
ower (viewed 21st February 2010).
http://www.buildinggreen.com/auth/article.cfm?fileName=180501a.xml (viewed 21st February
2010).
http://www.emporis.com/application/?nav=building&lng=3&id=108161 (viewed 21st February
2010).

THE CLIMATE OF TALL BUILDINGS : AN INVESTIGATION OF BUILDING HEIGHT IN BIO-CLIMATIC DESIGN Table of Contents
1 INTRODUCTION ........................................................................................................ 6 1.1 Introduction to the Topic ................................................................................. 6 1.2 Reasons for the Study .................................................................................... 7 1.3 Previous Related Studies of Building Height and Sustainable Design................ 7 1.4 Organisation of the Study ............................................................................... 7 RESEARCH OBJECTIVES & METHODOLOGY .......................................................... 9 2.1 Key Objectives of the Research Report ........................................................... 9 2.2 Scope of study - definitions of tall buildings ...................................................... 9 2.3 Methodology for sourcing vertical climate data................................................. 9 2.4 Methodology for thermal imaging studies....................................................... 10 LITERATURE REVIEW OF VARIATIONS IN MICRO-CLIMATE WITH INCREASING HEIGHT ABOVE THE GROUND ........................................................................... 12 3.1 Introduction ................................................................................................. 12 3.2 Climate scale and sources of measurements................................................. 12 3.3 Urban influences on rural micro-climate......................................................... 12 3.4 Variations in solar radiation with increasing height ......................................... 13 3.5 Variations in air temperature with increasing height ........................................ 14 3.6 Variations in humidity with increasing height .................................................. 16 3.7 Variations in wind velocity and direction with increasing height ....................... 17 3.8 Variations in building infiltration with increasing height .................................... 19 3.9 Variations in air pressure with increasing height ............................................. 19 3.10 Variations in rainfall with increasing height..................................................... 20 3.11 Variations in building energy usage with increasing height .............................. 21 3.12 Variations in embodied energy usage with increasing height........................... 22 3.13 Summary .................................................................................................... 23 3.13.1 Nature and gradients of micro-climates in rural and urban areas ......... 23 3.13.2 Effect of building height on energy usage and internal micro-climates in tall buildings .................................................................................... 24 FIELD MEASUREMENTS OF VARIATIONS IN FAÇADE THERMAL RADIANT TEMPERATURES WITH INCREASING HEIGHT ABOVE THE GROUND................ 26 4.1 Introduction ................................................................................................. 26 4.2 Time and weather conditions ........................................................................ 26 4.3 Image results & observations ........................................................................ 27 4.3.1 Eastern elevation............................................................................. 27 4.3.2 Northern elevation ........................................................................... 28 4.3.3 Western elevation............................................................................ 29 4.3.4 South elevation ............................................................................... 30 4.3.5 North elevation podium .................................................................... 31 4.4 Summary of variations and gradients of radiant temperature changes in field study........................................................................................................... 31 ANALYSIS OF VERTICAL MICRO-CLIMATE DATA FROM THE LITERATURE REVIEW & FIELD STUDY..................................................................................... 33 5.1 Analysis of vertical climate data and principles from the literature review......... 33 5.1.1 Classification of vertical climate zones .............................................. 36 5.2 Analysis of thermal imaging of the MLC Centre.............................................. 36 5.3 Diagrammatic analysis of the effects of building height on micro-climate & building characteristics................................................................................. 38 5.4 Case study of the application of temperature lapse rate to HVAC design in the Freedom Tower ........................................................................................... 39 5.5 Summary of analysis for tall buildings in urban locations................................. 40

2

3

4

5

Peter St. Clair

1

24/02/2010

........................... 48 6......................4 South elevation ..........................................................2 Variability of micro-climate in urban areas ............1 Implications ... 52 6...1................... 42 6... 45 6......the case against the use of building height .............................. 56 8............................................................... 56 8..2...................................................................... 58 7 8 9 Peter St.................................................1........................................................5 Summary of potential applications to bio-climatic design........1...............................1 Patterns of micro-climate in urban areas – the case for the use of building height in bio-climatic design......................................................................... 53 7.......................................1 Building operational energy performance ......................................................................................................................1.....1........2 Possible applications of building height & the “vertical micro-climate” to BioClimatic Design ............................................................. 44 6......................................... 42 6..................... 56 8................................................. 57 REFERENCES .........1 Eastern Elevation ........ 56 8............. 44 6......1........2................3 West elevation.....1 Discussion of vertical micro-climate characteristics & atmospheric processes ................................................................1 Additional field measurement data ... 55 APPENDIX............................4 Relationship of building height & vertical micro-climate to other aspects of sustainable development ................. 42 6.............................................................. 52 CONCLUSION ................. 56 8........................ 45 6............................................. 48 6............5 North elevation podium ....6 DISCUSSION & POSSIBLE APPLICATIONS OF BUILDING HEIGHT TO THE BIOCLIMATIC DESIGN OF TALL BUILDINGS .............................................................. 43 6........... 56 8...............3 Building energy generation......................................3 Bio-climatic design tactics for tall buildings based upon building height................2..2 Building performance and durability ............2 Future research ........................... Clair 2 24/02/2010 ............................................................................2.........1................................4 Building types and locations ............ 53 7........................................................2 Northern elevation .....................

.......................................... 28 Figure 27 – Vertical radiant temperatures .................... 26 Figure 24 – Digital and IR image of MLC Centre east elevation...Mass air flow with varying wind speeds & increasing building height ..................... 22 Figure 20 – Embodied energy variation with increasing height ......................................................... 30 Figure 31 – Vertical radiant temperatures ....Diurnal variation of wind speed at different heights...........................Water vapour stratification in the lowest 100m on clear days ........... 15 Figure 8 – Decreasing temperature fluctuation with height above the ground .......................................... 5 Figure 2 – 350 m radius study area surrounding MLC Centre in Sydney CBD................................................................................................................................................... 19 Figure 16 ............................................................... 43 Figure 37 – Approaches to bio-climatic design & enhanced bio-climatic design ...................................... 56 Figure 43 – Thermal imaging data summary (west elevation)............................................................................................................................... 29 Figure 30 – Digital and IR image of MLC Centre south elevation ............................................. 17 Figure 12 – Reduction in wind speeds due to terrain roughness.............. 14 Figure 7 – Influence of seasons and weather on temperature variation near the ground ............................ 30 Figure 32 – Digital and IR image of MLC Centre podium north elevation.................................................................... 14 Figure 6 . 46 Figure 39............................................... 27 Figure 26 – Digital and IR image of MLC Centre north elevation ..................................... 27 Figure 25 – Vertical radiant temperatures ...The Pearl River Tower ................................................. 22 Figure 19 – Relationship of energy use & building height in Hong Kong commercial buildings ...... 13 Figure 4 ........ 47 Figure 41 – Thermal imaging data summary (east elevation) .................................................................................. 21 Figure 18– Annual electricity consumption in a 12 storey apartment building .................................................................................. 47 Figure 40 – Electricity potential for increasing floor numbers and locations ............................. 56 Figure 44 – Thermal imaging data summary (south elevation) ........................................... 57 | Peter St............................................................................... 31 Figure 34 – Analysis of effects of building height on vertical micro-climate... 18 Figure 13 – Effects of building type and height on wind turbines...... 11 Figure 3 – Urban canopy layer and urban boundary layer ........................ 16 Figure 11 ................................... 29 Figure 29 – Vertical radiant temperatures ..List of Figures Figure 1 – Ken Yeang’s proposal for the Tokyo Nara Tower of 180 storeys .........................................................Wind flow around a tall building .DMC Tower ..... 56 Figure 45 – Thermal imaging data summary (north elevation podium) ....................................................... 26 Figure 23 – Time and weather conditions ...............................................................................Additional reflection & absorption of sunlight & shade around tall buildings .... Clair 3 24/02/2010 .............................. 18 Figure 14 .................................................................................................................................................................... 19 Figure 15 ...................................................................... 56 Figure 42 – Thermal imaging data summary (north elevation) ................ 44 Figure 38 ......................................................Stack effect for idealized building .................. 15 Figure 9 – The effect of wind on temperature gradients (lapse rates)............................. 20 Figure 17 – Driving rain intensity on a tall building ..................... 13 Figure 5 ......... 23 Figure 21 – Relationship of building height and weight ...... 16 Figure 10 .... 28 Figure 28 – Digital and IR image of MLC Centre west elevation .....Diurnal variation of temperature lapse rate in a rural environment ..... 40 Figure 36 – Urban climate zones by Stewart and Oke .................................................................... 23 Figure 22 – The MLC Centre looking north with denser building clusters beyond ............................... 31 Figure 33 – Vertical radiant temperatures ......... 39 Figure 35 – Freedom Tower by SOM ...The affect of solar radiation on tall buildings ......................................................................................

............................ 37 Table 3 – Summary of thermal imaging data for the MLC Centre considering the subject building facades & adjacent low rise building facades..........................................List of Tables Table 1 – Analysis of vertical micro-climate characteristics in rural and urban locations from the literature review & field measurements ........ 33 Table 2 – Summary of thermal imaging data for the MLC Centre considering only the subject building facades........................Conceptual bio-climatic tactics for tall building elements...... Haico Schepers from Arup for initial discussions of ideas......................... 49 Acknowledgements Krishna Munsami for his technical expertise and use of thermal photography equipment.................................. form and fabric. Clair 4 24/02/2010 ......... Chris Arkins from Steenson Varming for discussions of mechanical engineering design methods and possible applications of vertical climate........ 37 Table 4............ Peter St..............................................................

Clair 5 24/02/2010 . p108) Peter St.Figure 1 – Ken Yeang’s proposal for the Tokyo Nara Tower of 180 storeys (Johnson 2004.

The vertical climate of rural areas and urban areas are compared with these field measurements to determine if applications exist to the bio-climatic design of tall buildings typically located in urban locations. window to wall ratios. In cold climates such as in Moscow the lower levels of tall buildings can provide better living conditions where the higher levels over-heat due to vertical pressure differences causing mechanically warmed air to rise through stairs and shafts. These improved comfort conditions may provide opportunities for low energy solutions such as passive cooling whilst also promoting outdoor living. urban climatology and thermal imaging. Architectural and environmental control solutions rarely respond to building height and instead provide uniform facades from the ground to roof level. The report integrates results of past related studies and considers case study examples. The additional influences of the urban environment on the vertical climate are investigated based upon research by Oke and other urban climatologists who identified the Urban Heat Island effect. Tall buildings consist of many external and internal conditions that vary incrementally with increased height above the ground. In this case bio-climatic design applies the varying horizontal micro-climate conditions through climate matching tactics such as site planning. In Hong Kong where residents’ desires for better views and increased access to daylight and fresh air have been a principle driver for increases in building height. day lighting levels and reflections from roof tops. On the other hand the embodied energy of materials increases and floor area and cost efficiencies decrease with increased height above the ground as a result of the increasing structural demands. levels of privacy and outlook.1 1.1 INTRODUCTION Introduction to the Topic In tropical cities such as Singapore the climate above the urban canopy is milder and not subject to the same temperature and humidity as at street level where solar radiation is absorbed by the ground (Beedle. This report investigates the nature and gradient of vertical changes in micro-climate and atmospheric processes to consider if they support new or enhanced tactics for bio-climatic design. Peter St. Bio-climatic design tactics for tall buildings are largely undifferentiated from those employed for low-rise buildings responding primarily to orientation and not height above the ground. More recently Stewart and Oke have developed a system for classifying local climates in cities that may assist with the assessment of tall building micro-climates on urban sites. This includes measurements of vertical changes in climate with increasing distance from the ground. The study includes field measurements of thermal radiant temperature of a 228m tall commercial building in the Sydney CBD. temperature. Ali & Armstrong 2007). External conditions that vary with height include the surrounding building densities and heights. correct orientation and variations in façade and material type to reduce operational energy usage and improve human comfort. Clair 6 24/02/2010 . The basis of this investigation is Rudolf Geiger’s seminal work ‘The Climate Near the Ground’ which presents hundreds of studies by micro-climatologists from the time of it’s first edition in 1927 to more recent studies included in the 2009 edition. topography and vegetation result in varying solar access. airflow and humidity wind patterns. It evaluates the application of building height to the bio-climatic design of tall buildings through the use of micro-climatology. The use of microclimatic design in low-rise buildings is well established where local variations in soil conditions. This is distinctly different to low -rise buildings that are exposed to a limited number of micro-climatic variations at ground level. the higher levels of buildings are sought after. The opportunities to harness the wind and sun for renewable energy are also reported to increase with additional height above the ground. The report concludes with a series of conceptual bio-climatic design tactics related to building height that will form the basis of proposed future research and development and may contribute to a design primer for architects and engineers. The internal character of tall buildings change with height through varying structural requirements. This is in contrast to the structural design of tall buildings which must consider varying external forces such as wind loads that result from increasing wind speeds with height.

Global reductions in energy supply and access may reduce the continuing viability of total HVAC solutions in tall buildings.4 Organisation of the Study Chapter 2 describes the research objectives.1. The 21st century will be unique in seeing an unprecedented growth in man-made climate change. He concludes there is not adequate research available to determine this and few tools and models with which to optimise the benefits of height against the greater resource usage required for tall buildings (Ronald 2008). Guthrie of Arup reviewed the relationship of tall buildings and renewable energy showing that whilst winds increase with height this may not support building integrated wind generation (Guthrie 2008). Ken Yeang and engineers Battle McCarthy described generic changes in structural and environmental conditions with increased height for the Nara Tower. There is an absence of meteorological information and performance guidelines regarding vertical surfaces in cities (Oliver 2005). Chapter 4 provides field measurements of the vertical distribution of thermal radiant temperatures in a 228m high commercial building in the Sydney metropolitan centre. p72. methodologies and definition of tall buildings employed in this study. 2. The literature related to tall buildings distinguishes bio-climatic design strategies by climate zone and does not consider building height. Lower energy models that harness and modify the micro-climate may provide necessary alternatives. Ronald reviewed a broad range of related issues asking the question “How tall is a sustainable building?”. Chapter 6 discusses the case for and against the use of vertical climate principles Peter St. an unbuilt project of eighty storeys in Tokyo (Richards 2001. 1. These systems can lead to an energy usage double that of a low-rise building of the same area (Roaf 2005. 4. Climate sensitive design can cut heating and cooling energy use by 60% in commercial buildings and 70% in residential buildings and so may represent the single largest means to reduce the environmental impact of buildings (Roodman & Lenssen 1995 pp33. Chapter 3 reviews vertical micro-climatic principles and data from the literature related to natural and urban environments and the internal micro-climates of tall buildings. Specific reasons include: 1. 38.3 Previous Related Studies of Building Height and Sustainable Design 1. p247. 39). Whilst the focus of the paper is on HVAC design they conclude with suggestions for architectural treatments (Leung and Weismantle 2008). 4. This can contribute to climate mitigation. 73). 256). Tall buildings generate a significant level of green house gases due to their high dependency upon air conditioning and lighting and the high embodied energy content of their special structural systems.2 Reasons for the Study This study seeks to make a contribution to the field of ecologically sustainable design by promoting a climate responsive design model for tall buildings. Leung and Weismantle of SOM examined the application of temperature lapse rates to super tall buildings showing reductions in energy usage through the use of Energy Plus modelling of multiple vertical and horizontal compartments.1 to 8. 3. Clair 7 24/02/2010 . Much of the bio-climatic design literature considers low-rise buildings. improved human health and a regionally appropriate model for tall buildings in the developed and developing world. 1. 5.1 billion (Roth 2009 p1) with much of this growth concentrated in tall buildings in urban areas located in less developed countries. the world population is expected to increase from 6. Chapter 5 analyses relationships between the literature and field measurements in the context of bioclimatic design. 2. During the next three decades. 3. 6.

Peter St. It provides conceptual building tactics that with further development may provide a design primer for building design professionals. Clair 8 24/02/2010 . Chapter 7 presents the conclusions and identifies further research necessary to establish if the vertical micro-climate concept can contribute to practical and verifiable climate mitigation applications in tall buildings.and possible applications to bio-climatic design.

Buildings taller than 305 m are commonly referred to as “super tall”. design and construction when compared with buildings representative of ordinary construction” (Beedle 1978. urban and building climatology. The methodology is therefore to identify principles and data from disciplines including microclimatology. Torcellini 2005). atmospheric sciences and services engineering. Measure the quantitative effects of building height on the outdoor temperature of a tall building in an urban area and compare the results to the principles and data determined from the literature review. p7). p24). climatic and thermodynamic principles describing the moderating effects of cities by Oke.3 Methodology for sourcing vertical climate data Little literature exists on the applications of vertical changes in climate to building design. pp7-9). ASHRAE defines tall buildings as those higher than 91m (Ellis. 5. Develop conceptual bio-climatic building tactics based upon building height as a design primer for architects and as a basis for future research.2 2. operation or urban impact are influenced by the quality of tallness and require special measures in planning. Step changes occur in construction costs with increasing building height where for example structural design must be enhanced and area efficiencies and economic returns are reduced with every additional 10-20 levels (Strelitz 2005. medium-rise and low -rise buildings however common to Beedle he differentiates tall buildings by their special structural and engineering systems that result from their height.definitions of tall buildings Definitions of tall buildings can help to identify the differences between tall buildings and low rise buildings. 4. Build upon previous related studies of building height by considering the application of micro-climatology and thermal imaging not seen in the literature and considering the implications to architects. Importantly the threshold at which tall buildings become technically distinct is identified as 20 storeys (approximately 80 metres). but one that is differently designed’. 3. Yeang provides a definition for skyscrapers as ‘essentially a tall building with a small footprint and small roof area with tall facades’ (Yeang 1999. The definition employed for this report is by the British Council for Office Tall Buildings Working Party which defines tall buildings as ‘a tall building is not a low building that is simply extruded vertically. gradient scales such Peter St. This includes detail meteorological data by Geiger typically measured in rural areas. Investigate the effect of building height on energy usage and explore if increasing building height could reduce operational energy usage and off-set the increased operational and embodied energy inherent in taller structures. Assess the value and applications of vertical micro-climate to the bio -climatic design of tall buildings based on the extent of evidence.2 Scope of study . The Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat does not define tall buildings in terms of the number of floors but by “whether or not the design. 2.1 RESEARCH OBJECTIVES & METHODOLOGY Key Objectives of the Research Report The objectives of this report are to: 1. 2. Other tall building characteristics that distinguish them from low-rise buildings include high net density (ratio of floor space to area of site) and a building height that extends above the urban canopy. 2. Consider how these climatic characteristics may vary to those of low-rise buildings. Clair 9 24/02/2010 . His definition distinguishes between skyscrapers. Investigate the nature and gradient of changes in vertical climate in the natural and urban environments as documented by micro-climatologists and urban climatologists and analyse possible applications to the bio-climatic design of tall buildings.

 The MLC Centre contains a variety of frontages to enclosed streets.  The relatively high degree of openness surrounding the building provides the opportunity for full height images of the building and adjacent buildings and streets from a variety of locations. The photography was completed on a warm day with low -medium wind speeds typical of a summer’s day in Sydney. 2.com/application/?nav=building&lng=3&id=108161). The camera equipment used was a Flir B660. Clair 10 24/02/2010 . Radiant temperatures also provide an indication of sol-air temperatures and the associated heat transfer through facades giving an indication of how cooling loads may vary with building height.15pm onwards which was immediately after sunset. Thermal imaging also provides complete data for all points within the image that could not be achieved with thermometers. Conceptual investigations by Battle McCarthy for the experimental design of the Tokyo Nara Tower are reviewed which consists of diagrams with brief notes but without scientific references. west. The time selected was from 7. Measuring the external radiant temperatures of facades provides some correlations with air temperature.as the Beaufort Wind Scale which consider terrain roughness and the International Standard Atmosphere. The elevations are oriented towards the eight 8 cardinal directions allowing the effects of sun movement on differently oriented facades to be considered. open urban spaces and closely positioned buildings of a variety of heights providing the opportunity to measure temperature to facades that vary in exposure to building density and solar radiation. This is a key factor in determining the suitability of passive strategies such as natural ventilation and the use of thermal mass.emporis. Thermal imaging measures radiant temperature which is the energy emitted from heat sources in the environment such as facades and roads.  The octagonal plan shape and uniform elevation design removes self shading effects that may otherwise be caused to solar access and wind movement. At 228m it remains one of the tallest buildings in the world constructed of reinforced concrete and was Sydney's tallest office building from 1977 to 1992 (http://www. The methodology used for the photography was to calculate the distance required from the building based on focal length and scribe a 350m radius around the building (Figure 2). It was selected for this study due to it:  Being the second tallest building in the Sydney CBD it provides the opportunity to measure temperature from street level to a point above the urban canopy due to the surrounding lower height buildings. The building selected was the MLC Centre in the Sydney CBD which at the time of its completion was the tallest building in the world outside of North America. Four locations were then identified to the north.4 Methodology for thermal imaging studies The objective of the field study was to draw conclusions regarding the effects of urban conditions on the vertical variations and gradients of air temperature shown by microclimatologists in the natural environment. Peter St. south and east from which to photograph the building.

21.Camera position for north elevation. 4 . 3.Camera position for south elevation) Peter St. Clair 11 24/02/2010 .Figure 2 – 350 m radius study area surrounding MLC Centre in Sydney CBD (1.Camera position for west elevation.Camera position for east elevation.

and viscosity of the Earth's atmosphere change over a wide range of altitudes. wind and air pressure on the internal vertical environments of tall buildings such as those by Diamond of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. 3. It consists of tables of values at various altitudes. temperatures and rainfall across a region. Whereas the principle zone of micro-climatic influence in a low rise building is horizontal the principle zone for a tall building is vertical. Clair 12 24/02/2010 . The horizontal extent of micro-climate is considered to extend from several millimetres to one kilometre (Oliver 2005. The scale of climate most commonly applied to bio-climatic design is meso-climate which dictates mean solar radiation. density. Micro-climates extend vertically from just below the ground to several hundred metres above the ground during the night and to approximately one kilometre above the ground during the day when the effect of solar radiation is greatest. Page and Lowry describes the general influences of the urban environment on micro-climate as a result of the local configuration of urban spaces.3 Urban influences on rural micro-climate Tall buildings are primarily located in urban and suburban locations and so the influence of the city on rural micro-climates is important to the study of the climate of tall buildings. slope and building density cannot be distinguished from local climate. However there is less attention paid to the local climate or micro-climate. The literature related to micro-climatology in rural areas provides extensive data within a variety of climate zones. p486). Oke distinguishes between two vertical strata being the urban canopy (the zone from the ground to the average height of buildings) and the urban boundary layer above that can extend up to 1000m as seen in Figure 3. p63).3 3. Ali & Armstrong 2007. Whilst winds are light the boundary layer Peter St.2 Climate scale and sources of measurements Geiger describes all meteorological elements as being subject to change with vertical height and horizontal distance due to the varying effect of the ground (Geiger 1973).Geiger provides a summary of research data based on the lowest 100m of the atmosphere on natural and level sites without vegetation. 4. The additional influences of the urban environment are also investigated although less meteorological data exists describing variations in vertical climate in urban areas (Page 1973.1 LITERATURE REVIEW OF VARIATIONS IN MICRO-CLIMATE WITH INCREASING HEIGHT ABOVE THE GROUND Introduction Micro-climatology is considered a sub-division of climatology. p. 2.The International Standard Atmosphere (ISA) provides an atmospheric model of how the air pressure. External micro-climate in the lowest 100m . 3. Oliver defines this as the scientific study of micro-climates focused on the atmospheric layer between the ground and a point at which the effects of the ground features such as vegetation cover. External micro-climate in the boundary layer up to 1000m – Oke. temperature. These are categorised as: 1. Page shows this is of particular importance in the design of tall buildings where there are significant variations in local climate dependent upon building density and height contributing to the Urban Heat Island (UHI) (Page 1973). 3.24). streets and buildings. Internal micro-climate – Field tests have studied the effects of the stack effect. This is partly advanced by Stewart and Oke’s new classification system (Stewart & Oke 2009) although actual vertical meteorology in cities is scarce. surface thermal properties and human made waste heat inputs (Emmanuel 2005. Tall buildings in groups cause their own micro-climates (Beedle. p218) which are effected by urban geometry. External micro-climate of the standard atmosphere . Varieties of literature describe different scales and characteristics of vertical micro-climates and are relevant to the micro-climate of tall buildings. This section will review this literature to determine if this can contribute to the bio-climatic design of tall buildings based on building height.

surface albedo and pollution levels (Geiger 1973. p141). Temperatures are less tied to surface features in the case of stronger winds caused by larger scale weather systems w hich can mix the atmosphere and remove small scale differences or micro-climatic effects (Oke 1978.4 Variations in solar radiation with increasing height Solar radiation is a function of meso-climate however can vary locally through changes in altitude. The absorption and emission of solar radiation by the ground surface forms the greatest effect on the lower atmosphere in a rural environment. p5).The affect of solar radiation on tall buildings (Emmanuel 2005. p18). Clair 13 24/02/2010 . p25) Peter St. The areas of a tall building above the urban canopy layer will typically receive greater solar radiation than below the urban canopy which may be shaded for portions of the year due to greater exposure and reflections from adjacent rooftops (Givoni 1998). density and height leading to shade and reflection from adjacent buildings (Figure 4. p442-447). Exposure to solar radiation is influenced by building clustering. pp4. 17). Figure 3 – Urban canopy layer and urban boundary layer (Lowry 1991. Solar radiation levels in cities are reduced due to polluted urban atmospheres however this is typically counteracted by reduced surface albedo leading to only minor variations to the solar gains experienced in the rural environment (Oke 1974. p135) 3. Figure 4 .is mostly influenced by the ground conditions and can lead to significant vertical differences in climate character such as air temperature. The ability of building mass to cool at night time through radiation to the sky is reduced by the sky view factor meaning that denser building clusters will experience greater heat retention at night time as seen in Figure 4 (Lowry 1991. Additional solar radiation is received by vertical surfaces (facades) in urban areas from low altitude sun in the morning and evening than would be the case in a natural environment (Oke 1974. Figure 5).

Peak temperatures are delayed further into the afternoon with increasing height and with seasonal influences where they can be delayed by between 1 and 2 hours in winter (Geiger 1973. In Figure 6 Geiger shows that daily patterns.htm). p135) Leung and Weismantle describe solar radiation as increasing 4 -5% with each additional 300m of building height under clear sky conditions (Leung & Weismantle 2008. Clair 14 24/02/2010 . Figure 6 . At heights above 100m the ground provides less influence on air temperature and follows the adiabatic lapse rate of approximately 1 °C for each 100m of additional height (http://www.tpub. p68).usyd. Figure 8 shows that the temperature lapse rate from the ground to a height of 50m is about 1.Diurnal variation of temperature lapse rate in a rural environment (Geiger 1973. 3. This temperature is graded vertically from warmer at the surface to cooler higher in the atmosphere. The Standard Atmosphere model indicates a lapse rate of approximately 1 °C with each 150m of additional height or 6.Additional reflection & absorption of sunlight & shade around tall buildings (Lowry 1991. This vertical gradient is known as the temperature lapse rate or the rate of decrease in temperature with height.0 °C (increasing temperature with height) during the night time and -2.aeromech.0 °C (decreasing temperature with height) during the afternoon for each 100m of additional height above the ground for altitudes between 16 m and 61 m.Figure 5 . p6). 71). Peter St.5 °C on a clear day and reduced significantly on over-cast days.5 °C per 1000m (http://www. p73) Figure 7 also demonstrates that the temperature lapse rate changes diurnally typically sitting between + 2.edu. Figure 7 shows that the variation of temperature lapse rate and the shifting of the peak temperature at heights up to 17m are much higher on bright days than cloudy days. temperature ranges and peak temperature times vary with the distance above the ground.com/content/aerographer/14312/css/14312_47.5 Variations in air temperature with increasing height In natural environments the temperature of the air layer near the ground is determined by the surface conditions.au/aero/atmosphere/). p70. the transport of heat upwards and the extent of air mixing regardless of the effects of the surrounding area (Geiger 1973.

Figure 7 – Influence of seasons and weather on temperature variation near the ground (Geiger 1973. Clair 15 24/02/2010 .radiation. Temperature is also affected by wind velocities particularly from the ground to a height of 2m where a lack of mobility of air allows the effects of solar radiation absorption and emission to be maintained (Geiger 1973. Peter St. Changes to air temperature due to the effects of wind reduce with increasing height. fluctuating wind patterns and air mixing and the impact of vertical surfaces (walls) upon solar absorption and re. Oke shows that the influence of a large city on air temperature can extend up to 200-300m above the ground and in some cases to 500m and beyond (Oke 1973. In addition to the urban boundary layer and the urban canopy layer Oke identifies a surface zone from the ground to approximately 50m which is characterised by unstable temperatures (Oke 1974. The effects of a city on the vertical temperature gradient are influenced by changes to ground surface character. p120). p76) The temperature lapse rates to altitudes of 100m are inverted at night time due to the cooling of the ground commonly causing temperatures to increase with additional height (Geiger 1973. p80). p76) Figure 8 – Decreasing temperature fluctuation with height above the ground (Geiger 1973. p51). increased shade at lower levels and exposure to solar radiation at higher levels. Urban Heat Island (UHI) models show that the atmosphere can be contained with an ‘urban dome’ assuming calm air. Figure 11 shows that the vertical temperature gradient (or lapse rate) decreases as wind velocity increases during the night time whilst the effects of wind during the day time are negligible. p52).

p17). The data demonstrates that variability in humidity is greatest up to 40 – 50m above which the range and gradient of humidity remains more constant.00pm in the afternoon and highest levels at 8. The temperature lapse rates may vary in cities with the effects of building clustering and the UHI however studies have shown rates of between 5. p53).Figure 9 – The effect of wind on temperature gradients (lapse rates) (Geiger 1973. This phenomenon is reduced with higher latitude where there is insufficient convection to carry the water vapour upwards (Geiger 1973. Measurements show that the humidity gradient decreases with additional height above the ground during the day and is subject to an inversion at night time whereby the humidity increases with height. Figure 10 . The range of temperatures and the delay in reaching maximum or minimum temperatures increases with increasing distance from the ground (Lowry 1991.6 Variations in humidity with increasing height In the natural environment humidity is influenced by the ground in a similar way to temperature where evaporation from the ground surface is directed upwards as vapour leading to decreasing humidity (or vapour pressure) with height (Geiger 1973. p104). 3. Figure 10 again indicates water vapour pressure decreasing with height and being at lowest levels at 2.5 and 6 °C per 1000m of height (Oke 1974. Peter St.00am in the morning. In summary air temperature is shown to reduce with increasing altitude. Clair 16 24/02/2010 . p108). p124).Water vapour stratification in the lowest 100m on clear days (Geiger 1973). The greatest diurnal and annual variability of temperature is at the ground level. The levels of humidity at ground level are subject to much higher variation consistent with the principles described for temperature variations.

In summary it can be expected that the humidity will reduce with increasing altitude during the day and increase with increasing altitude at night time. Higher levels of shade near the base of tall buildings. p6). In urban areas buildings and topography reduce average wind speeds in the urban canopy layer. Random fluctuation in wind speed and direction also increases with greater terrain roughness such as varied building heights (ASCE pp5. However the effect of the city on the change in humidity with height is considered “small in magnitude” by Oke (1974. p7). 75).Atmospheric humidity in urban areas is generally lower than in rural areas during the day and higher than in rural areas during the night time. 7). p143) although 4-8% less overall than in rural areas (Oke 1991 pp74. p2). Wind speeds at 500m above the ground are fairly constant however below this height they are affected by the surface of the earth which acts as brake on the movement of the air (Aynsley 2007.7 Variations in wind velocity and direction with increasing height Wind velocity and direction is a result of large-scale differences in air pressure with the flow of air being from areas of higher pressure to areas of lower pressure. 3. This can occur within a timescale of a few seconds or minutes. Figure 11 . Wind speeds typically increase with additional height (Lim 1994) and over the course of the day as demonstrated by Figure 11.Diurnal variation of wind speed at different heights (Geiger 1973. Figure 12 shows that the terrain roughness will reduce the wind speeds at all heights while maintaining the trend of increasing wind speed with height. Local winds are small-scale winds produced by locally generated pressure gradients. The ground plane will experience greater variation in humidity levels and the stability of humidity increases with additional building height. p58) and Lowry (1991. p115) Figure 11 also demonstrates that this variation of wind speed is due to the decreasing influence of the ground at night. wind downdrafts at building faces and the UHI may influence the humidity gradient (Oke 1974. At lower levels there is a distinct diurnal pattern in mid latitudes where wind speeds peak at midday and reduce at night time. Clair 17 24/02/2010 . At heights above 100 m the reverse is the case with wind speed peaking during the night and being minimised in the middle of the day. p59). For example the reference wind speed of 100% at 10m altitude at an airport occurs at 30m in a suburban area and at 150m in an urban area. Leung and Weismantle also confirm the tendency for reduced moisture levels with altitude (2008. Peter St. This logarithmic increase in wind speed with height does not necessarily apply in all cases where for example wind speed maxima are found between 50m and 120m in Tokyo (WMO 1988.

Sharples shows that increased local wind speeds lead to increased convective heat transfer from the building fabric influencing the heating and cooling loads at each level (Sharples 1984). The effects of wind turbulence reduce the effectiveness of wind-turbine performance which prefers a strong laminar wind where all of the air flows in a single direction (http://www. Clair 18 24/02/2010 .xml).com/auth/article. p2) The University of Delft have categorised differing urban wind conditions for the purposes of selecting suitable wind turbines.buildinggreen. Figure 13 shows that tall buildings clustered with buildings of similar heights experience greater changes in wind direction and greater turbulence than tall buildings that rise above the urban canopy (Smith 2008.Figure 12 – Reduction in wind speeds due to terrain roughness (Aynsley 2007. Wind direction in the urban boundary layer can change direction by Peter St. Figure 13 – Effects of building type and height on wind turbines (Smith 2008. 110). p65). p110) Urban areas shows a higher level of air turbulence by 30-50% but this reduces with increasing height (Oke 1974. p109.cfm?fileName=180501a.

tpub.com/content/aerographer/14312/css/14312_47.(http://epb. p147). Peter St.up to 10-20 ° bending around the city from both sides up to 200-300m (Oke 1974. Cities also produce updrafts and downdrafts due to their rougher shape and their warmer surfaces as shown in Figure 14 (Lowry 1991. The vertical reduction in external air pressure causes the air to expand forming the basis for the vertical reduction in air temperature discussed earlier (http://www. 3. Clair 19 24/02/2010 .Mass air flow with varying wind speeds & increasing building height Windward side (left) and lee side (right) .lbl. On the other hand air flow through the façade reduces with height on the lee side of the building (Feustel & Diamond).htm). Figure 15 .Wind flow around a tall building (Oke 1987. In medium rise apartments and with high winds air flow increases with height on the windward facade whereas in low wind conditions the air flow reduces with height.9 Variations in air pressure with increasing height Air pressure is the force exerted by the weight of air above and so decreases with additional height above sea level due to there being less air above to exert a force downwards. In the case of tall buildings these differences in external air pressure influence the:  vertical movement of wind externally in the form of updrafts and downdrafts.gov/homepages/Rick_Diamond/LBNL43642roomvent_98. p269) In summary it can be seen that wind speeds increase with increasing altitude due to the lessening influence of the ground and buildings whilst air turbulence decreases with increasing height. In the urban environment air pressure is further influenced by the effects of wind around building clusters creating positive and negative air pressure zones related to prevailing wind directions and speeds.8 Variations in building infiltration with increasing height Diamond shows that the flow of air into a building as infiltration varies at different levels of the building. Figure 14 .pdf) 3. p68). Higher wind speeds with height will also contribute to greater cooling of building fabric by means of convection and infiltration (Lowry 1991. p140).

nrc-cnrc. Peter St. This influences the moisture transfer co-efficient of facades and thereby the level of heat transfer into buildings (Blocken & Carmeliet 2004). Clair 20 24/02/2010 . Figure 16 . In the urban environment the quantity and trajectory of rain is significant and varies with height and wind speeds. In summary driving rain intensity increases with increasing building height and wind speed. Warmer indoor air rises up through the building in the heating season and escapes at the top through openings or leakage. The trajectory of rain is affected by the local wind speeds and directions and the effects of the surrounding topography on wind. Driving rain also affects the durability of building materials where moisture enters the building envelope.html).Stack effect for idealized building (http://www. driving heat upwards through building voids with air flow moving from high to low pressure. Figure 16 describes how the pressure differences between the building interior and exterior together with the building height form a stack effect which drives air vertically (the chimney effect) and through the building envelope (infiltration and exfiltration) ( http://www.nrccnrc.ca/eng/ibp/irc/cbd/building-digest-104. The rising warm air reduces the pressure inside the lower levels of the building. forcing cold air to infiltrate through openings and leakage. In Figure 17 Page shows that in light winds the driving rain intensity is on the roof whilst in strong winds the upper levels of the windward façade receive the greatest rain intensity.10 Variations in rainfall with increasing height The quantity of rainfall in the natural environment varies with altitude as a result of the varying dewpoint with mid and upper slopes typically receiving more rainfall then lower slopes (Geiger 1973).  levels of infiltration and ex-filtration through the building envelope due to pressure differences across the exterior wall.ca/eng/ibp/irc/cbd/building-digest-104.gc.gc. The windward face can receive more than double the rain intensity than the roof in very high winds. The stack effect is reversed in the cooling season with air flowing downward within the building but is weaker due to reduced temperature differences between the interior and exterior. indoor air pressure differences.html) 3.

The surface area relative to the floor area and building volume actually reduces with increased height in buildings of the same floor plate area. Cho’s study shows that a 30 storey building with a smaller floor plate size will have an increased surface to volume ratio of 47% when compared to a 90 storey building with a larger floor plate (Cho 2005.11 Variations in building energy usage with increasing height The internal micro-climates and energy usage of tall buildings are effected by their external micro-climate and building height. p1007). Cooling and heating loads are impacted by the combined effects of external air temperature and solar radiation and the convective influences of wind on the building fabric which vary with height. Feustel and Diamond show that other influences include pressure driven movement of heat upwards in tall buildings and levels of infiltration and ex-filtration through facades (http://epb. p52) 3. Energy use peaks at Level 3 and then reduces vertically until the upper-most level where the energy use spikes again due to the lack of an insulating level above.gov/homepages/Rick_Diamond/LBNL43642-roomvent_98. The maximum height of a building that can be supported by renewable energy is 2-3 stories of floor area in the case of roof mounted solar technology in a hot climate (Phillips. Therefore the increasing exposure of tall buildings in the city with increasing height can lead to varying energy balances at each level of tall buildings. Clair 21 24/02/2010 .Figure 17 – Driving rain intensity on a tall building (Page 1976. 186). Relative to low-rise buildings tall buildings of the same floor area can use double the amount of energy due to the increasing requirement for lifting of people water and goods (Roaf. p256). Chricton & Nicol 2005.lbl. The energy use patterns of tall buildings are influenced by their building height and floor area.181. The use of case of façade mounted Figure 18 demonstrates the pattern of operational energy usage in a 13 storey residential building in a heating dominated cold climate.pdf). pp34-35). Peter St. Approximately half of the energy is used in the operational energy of buildings. Van den Dobbelsteen shows that for tall buildings above 36 stories the material. environmental and energy costs increase exponentially and that each floor plate area has an optimum number of floors (Van den Dobbelsteen et al 2007 p. Cho shows that these factors determine the surface area which is a major contributor to heat gains and losses through the building envelope. Beyer & Good 2009.

Peter St. Clair 22 24/02/2010 .info/post-crash/files/tallbuildings-UIA-paper-010608-rovers.pdf ) Cho’s study showed that energy use per unit area can be less in the case of taller buildings with wider floor plates than in shorter buildings with smaller floor plates (Cho 2005.12 Variations in embodied energy usage with increasing height Embodied energy usage is increased per unit of floor area with increasing building height (Treloar et al 2001) as seen in Figure 20.pdf) Energy usage was shown to increase with increasing height in the cooling dominated hot climate of Hong Kong with HVAC and lift energy showing some step changes in tall buildings at 7-10 levels and again at 25 levels as seen in Figure 19 (Rovers 2008).Figure 18– Annual electricity consumption in a 12 storey apartment building (http://epb.gov/homepages/Rick_Diamond/LBNL43642-roomvent_98. This is attributed to the greater requirement for structural steel content for stiffening and can be seen most clearly in the upper floors. 1008).sustainablebuilding. 3. pp1007.lbl. Figure 19 – Relationship of energy use & building height in Hong Kong commercial buildings (http://www.

13. Clair 23 24/02/2010 .1 Nature and gradients of micro-climates in rural and urban areas 1. show a significant reduction in the efficiency of materials with increasing height and that at 36 levels the loads for both energy and materials start increasing exponentially (Van den Dobbelsteen et al 2007).50m (reducing to a few metres at night time)  the urban canopy layer (from ground level to the average height of buildings)  the micro-climate layer most influenced by the ground at 0 – 100m  the urban boundary layer extending from the average height of buildings to between 200 and 500m 2. Changes with height include reduced air Peter St.sustainablebuilding. Figure 21 – Relationship of building height and weight (http://www.13 Summary The following conclusions are drawn for this chapter against the study objectives: 3. Studies of real buildings including the Commerzbank in Frankfurt.pdf ) 3.Figure 20 – Embodied energy variation with increasing height (Treloar et al 2001.info/post-crash/files/tallbuildings-UIA-paper-010608-rovers. Climatic conditions in the natural environment vary significantly with height with the widest ranges being closer to the ground. p210) In Figure 21 Ali shows that the average weight of steel per square foot increases with increased height. Oke and Geiger identify a number of broad vertical climate zones in rural and urban environments that may be significant to the bio-climatic design of tall buildings:  roughness layer at a 0 – 2 m  turbulent surface layer at 0 .

Changes with height in the urban environment are shown to be more complex due to the development of multiple micro-climates in and around building clusters and as a result of the UHI. These result from atmospheric processes such as the temperature lapse rate and additional influences of the ground within the lowest 100m.0 °C per 100m applies. Air temperature is shown to reduce with increasing altitude as is the case in natural environments however the lapse rate is more variable in urban environments. air pollution such as sulphur dioxide. location and time of day and may further influence the quality of the outdoor and indoor micro-climate. Each of these characteristics may also vary with height. Varying air pressures between the top and bottom of tall buildings can lead to high speed vertical winds not present in the natural environment. 3. air pressure and humidity with increased height. Embodied energy use increases with increased building height with step changes in material efficiencies at 7 – 10 and 25 storeys due to the requirement for higher strength materials and greater use of steel reinforcing. and carbon dioxide. 5. Proximity to the ground leads to a greater range of diurnal and annual conditions (more extremes) but a slower rate of change (more stable). Winds accelerate at the urban canopy level leading to increased driving rain exposure on facades.temperature. 3. The energy use has been shown to reduce at each level toward the roof in a low-rise tower in a cold climate partly due to the stack effect causing infiltration of cold air at lower levels. This may be supported by Geiger’s data that shows higher altitudes to be less affected by the stabilising influence of the ground. Peter St. Increasing levels of energy are required to move air and water per m2 with increased height although reduced air pressure with height can reduce fan energy in HVAC systems. The range of climate conditions in the natural environment and the vertical gradient of climatic change varies at different heights above the ground. dust and electro-magnetic interference and in certain climates mosquitoes. The gradients of change are greatest within the lower 100m due to the influence of the ground with reductions in air temperature up to 3 °C per 100m after which the atmospheric lapse rate of 1.13. traffic noise. the upward movement of hot air and ex-filtration at upper levels. 2. Greater distance from the ground leads to a reduced range of climatic conditions and vertical gradients of change. Oke shows for example that the influence of a large city on air temperature can extend to between 200 and 500m above the ground. Wind speed was shown to increase with height however at differing rates to those in the natural environment due to the effects of buildings whilst turbulence will decrease with height. Humidity reduces with height with the greatest variability being within 40-50m above the ground. Wind speeds and solar radiation increase with additional height. 3. The urban environment influences the vertical climate patterns that exist in the natural environment. Higher wind speeds with height will contribute to greater cooling of the building fabric. The speed of weather change is described as being faster higher above the ground by McCarthy (Richards 2001).2 Effect of building height on energy usage and internal micro-climates in tall buildings 1. 4. Humidity is also shown to reduce with increased height to a similar level as in the natural environment. Solar radiation levels increase with height although more significantly solar exposure is modified at lower levels by street canyons providing shade and at higher levels by rooftops providing reflected solar radiation. Considerations that were not reviewed include natural light. Operational energy usage is shown to increase with increased building height in hot climates due mostly to increased HVAC and lift energy. Clair 24 24/02/2010 . Internal micro-climates in tall buildings are influenced by external conditions such as changing temperature and air pressure differences which increase with height and contribute to façade infiltration and ex-filtration.

building shading and the stack effect on the internal micro-climate of tall buildings suggests that higher temperatures and cooling loads will be experienced at the upper levels and lower temperatures at lower levels. Conversely lower heating loads have been shown in winter to upper building levels in a cold climate due to rising heat from the stack effect and increased infiltration of cold air at lower levels.4. Access to cooler and cleaner air for natural and mechanical ventilation and sunlight for PV generation increases with increased building height and clearance from the urban canopy. The effects of solar radiation. 5. Peter St. Whilst wind speeds increase with height this does not necessarily provide suitable laminar flow for roof mounted wind turbines and may not increase effective wind power generation. Clair 25 24/02/2010 .

Sunrise had occurred at 5. shading and the extent of man made heat sources such as traffic on the micro-climate and UHI (Stewart p9). Whilst the temperature lapse rate is systematic and relatively constant in the natural environment as shown by Geiger the literature reviewed does not detail lapse rates in urban areas.2 Time and weather conditions 5 PM 8 PM 25 18 67% 16 km/h NNE Overcast 0% 100% 28 19 57% 18 km/h NE Mostly Cloudy 0% 82% Temperature (C) Dew Point (C) Humidity Wind Conditions Precipitation Cloud Cover Figure 23 – Time and weather conditions (http://www.com/images/CBD. Thermal imaging was completed of the MLC Centre measuring thermal radiant temperatures to provide a comparison with the rural micro-climate air temperature data and determine the level of influence of the UHI dome vertically by measuring vertical temperature gradients at different levels in the same way as shown by Geiger in rural areas.PIC_0071.gl=#max8 (Viewed 19th November 2009)) Peter St. building heights and densities.com/ig?hl=en&amp. These may vary due to the influence sky view factor. The plan shape is octagonal providing eight elevations each facing a cardinal direction.4 FIELD MEASUREMENTS OF VARIATIONS IN FAÇADE THERMAL RADIANT TEMPERATURES WITH INCREASING HEIGHT ABOVE THE GROUND Introduction 4. albedo.39pm.41am and sunset at 7. Figure 22 – The MLC Centre looking north with denser building clusters beyond (http://www. Images were taken between 7.google. It forms the tallest building in a cluster of lower buildings between 50m and 100m in height. The MLC Centre is constructed of pre-cast concrete with recessed banded windows.15pm and 8. The building is raised on retail podium of three stories and separated from other buildings over 100m in height by several city blocks (Figure 22).1 Air temperature is a key component of vertical climate and is critical to the application of passive and HVAC design strategies.JPG) 4.sydneyarchitecture. Clair 26 24/02/2010 .30pm on a warm summer day with a partly overcast sky on the 19th November 2009 being early summer.

9 °C at roof level of the MLC Centre. The temperature at the lowest point on the subject façade not obstructed by adjacent buildings measured 23.3.0 °C are seen between opaque spandrel panels and recessed glazing in the subject building.58 °C with each 100m for the lower levels.1.5 °C at roof levels and 27. The lower levels of the subject building are obscured and provide no measurements however adjacent south facing low rise buildings demonstrate temperatures between 25.4.0 °C at the ground level of adjacent buildings to 21.3 4.0 °C with each 100m for the upper levels which is consistent with the adiabatic lapse rate. Other observations include the variation in temperatures with façade material where ranges of 0. Peter St. Clair 27 24/02/2010 .6 °C 26 25 24 Sp1 23 Sp3 22 21 Sp2 Li2 Li1 20 19.9 Figure 24 – Digital and IR image of MLC Centre east elevation View from east at 7.5 .3 °C at approximately 90m. This represents a vertical gradient of -1.1 Image results & observations Eastern elevation 26.0 °C at ground level representing a vertical gradient of 1.50pm Figure 25 – Vertical radiant temperatures Temperatures plotted from ground level (left) to roof (right) Figure 25 shows a variation in façade radiant temperature from 27.

Peter St.07pm Figure 27 – Vertical radiant temperatures Temperatures plotted from ground level (left) to roof (right) Figure 27 shows a variation in radiant temperature on the north-east facing façade from 26.66 °C with each 100m for the upper levels of the subject building which is higher than the adiabatic lapse rate.0 .2 °C representing a vertical gradient of -1.2 Northern elevation 26. Clair 28 24/02/2010 .6 °C 26 25 24 Sp3 Sp2 23 22 21 Sp1 Li2 Li1 20.0 Figure 26 – Digital and IR image of MLC Centre north elevation View from east at 8. 4.4 °C at roof level.0 °C at the ground level to 21. This represents an average vertical gradient of – 2.3.1 °C with each 100m over the full height of the MLC Centre. The temperature at approximately 120m on the north facade measured 23.Figure 24 clearly shows the upper levels of the MLC Centre façade to be up to 3.0 °C cooler than the facades of the adjacent low-rise buildings.4.

2 °C at the ground level of adjacent buildings to 25 °C immediately below the subject building roof level at 220m.17pm Figure 29 – Vertical radiant temperatures Temperatures plotted from ground level (left) to roof (right) Figure 29 shows a variation in radiant temperature on the west facing façade from 27. Glazing is shown at below 20 °C and down to 3 °C corresponding to the sky temperature. The lowest temperature to the MLC Centre façade was 24 °C at approximately 175m above the ground coinciding with a recessed plant room level.9 °C Sp3 28 26 Sp2 Sp1 24 Li1 22. The lower levels of the building are obscured and so no clear measurements were taken however adjacent west facing low rise buildings demonstrate temperatures of up to approximately 29.59 °C with each 100m for the upper levels which is higher than the adiabatic lapse rate.4 °C to stone and metal facades and canopies within the street canyon to the north facing façade of other buildings in the foreground.4 Figure 28 – Digital and IR image of MLC Centre west elevation View from east at 7. The lowest point on the façade not obstructed by adjacent buildings measured 27.3.0 °C warmer than the adjacent outward facing parapets. Clair 29 24/02/2010 . 4. The highest temperatures recorded were up to 44. Peter St. On this basis the lapse rate would be -1.95 °C per 100m for the lower levels.3 °C at 75m.0 °C approximately 15m above the ground. This represents a vertical gradient of -1.3 Western elevation 28.Other interesting observations in Figure 26 and Figure 27 include the difference in the temperatures of downward facing soffits which are 3.

The temperature at the lowest point on the façade not obstructed by adjacent buildings measured 23.0 °C at the ground level of foreground buildings to 22. The lower levels of the building are obscured and so no measurements were taken however adjacent south facing low rise buildings demonstrate temperatures of up to 26.3.4 South elevation 27.36pm Figure 31 – Vertical radiant temperatures Temperatures plotted from ground level (left) to roof (right) Figure 31 shows a variation in radiant temperature on the south facing façade from approximately 28. Clair 30 24/02/2010 .5 °C 27 26 Sp3 25 24 23 22 Sp1 21 Sp2 Li1 Li2 20. This represents a vertical gradient of -0.1 Figure 30 – Digital and IR image of MLC Centre south elevation View from east at 7.54 °C per 100m for lower levels. On this basis the lapse rate would be -1.5 °C just below roof level. show the temperature Peter St.4. Figure 30 and Error! Reference source not found. Other interesting observations include the differences in the temperatures of the south-west facing façade (still exposed to setting sun) and the south east facing façade (not exposed to sun since early morning).4 °C at approximately 115m.0 °C at ground level.8 °C with each 100m for the upper levels of the subject façade which is slightly lower than the adiabatic lapse rate.

north and north east facing façades.4 Summary of variations and gradients of radiant temperature changes in field study The following conclusions are drawn for this chapter against the study objectives: Peter St. 4.15 °C with each 100m for the lowest 75m of the MLC Centre which represents the highest lapse rate of all images.0 °C.25 °C at 10m above the podium level to 23.5 North elevation podium 26. This represents a vertical gradient of -3.3.22 °C. The vertical temperature differences increase from the north-east to the north to the north-west façade as seen in Figure 32 and Error! Reference source not found. Sections of the subject building spandrel panels are partly recessed and therefore shaded at times of the day showing temperature reductions of 0.0 °C Sp3 Sp1 25 24 23 Li1 Sp2 Li2 Li3 22.2 °C at 75m above the podium at a spandrel panel. The highest temperatures are to the north facing podium stairs at 28.7 °C. Clair 31 24/02/2010 . 4. Differences can also be seen in the temperatures of the north-west.5 °C and 21. The variation in radiant temperature from the street canyon to the roof level façade of the MLC Centre is up to 12 °C and the coolest façade surfaces are at the corners and roof parapet being 21 .6 Figure 32 – Digital and IR image of MLC Centre podium north elevation View from north (Martin Place) at 8..30pm Figure 33 – Vertical radiant temperatures Temperatures plotted from ground level (left) to roof (right) Figure 33 shows a variation in radiant temperature on the north facing subject façade from approximately 25.5 – 1.0 °C.differences at the roof level to be 24.

3. Field measurements of the MLC Centre showed up to a 6. The vertical ranges in temperature varied with façade orientation suggesting that temperature ranges and gradients vary diurnally and annually as is the case in the natural environment. Temperature gradients up to 3. 4. Clair 32 24/02/2010 . The results of this field study show a high level of consistency with the principles and trends shown by Geiger and Oke suggesting that existing micro-climatology and urban climatology research and data may have applications to further research and models for the vertical micro-climate of tall buildings. This gradient correlates approximately with the lapse rate in the natural environment.5 °C/100m were measured in the higher sections between 100m – 228m correlating approximately with the urban boundary layer above the urban canopy.5 °C/100m were measured in the lower sections between 0 – 75m. Temperature gradients up to 1. Peter St.5 °C difference in radiant temperature between the ground level façade and roof level facade. The influence of the ground and urban environment on micro-climate appears to be greater in this case study than in the natural environment. The zone correlates approximately with the height of the surrounding urban canopy. 2. This gradient is greater than that in the natural environment.1.

Solar radiation increases in the urban boundary Standard adiabatic lapse rate of -1.66 degrees to 1. Table 1 – Analysis of vertical micro-climate characteristics in rural and urban locations from the literature review & field measurements Analysis of vertical climate & building height characteristics against bio-climatic design objectives Solar radiation Air temperature Key characteristics – Rural areas Solar radiation increases with increasing Air temperature decreases with increasing altitude approx. Comparisons are made between the micro-climatic data and the field measurements to identify any similarities or differences. Little data exists to demonstrate the ranges and gradients of these conditions except in the case of wind speeds. These consist of verifiable ranges and gradients of temperature. Micro-climatic conditions are shown to vary more vertically than horizontally over a given distance.1 Analysis of vertical climate data and principles from the literature review Chapter 3 demonstrates there are clear and systematic principles related to the vertical climate in the natural environment. temperature ranges can be much greater within the urban canopy. Peter St. air pressure.5 ANALYSIS OF VERTICAL MICRO-CLIMATE DATA FROM THE LITERATURE REVIEW & FIELD STUDY Chapter 5 analyses the micro-climatic data described in the literature and field study of radiant temperature to consider if systematic principles may exist that can be applied to the bio-climatic design of tall buildings. p83). The micro-climatic data related to rural areas is extensive and demonstrates clear systematic patterns of vertical climate. wind speed and humidity with height. The following table summarises the key characteristics of the vertical climate data referenced in Chapter 3 and identifies the potential influences and benefits of these characteristics to building energy consumption and thermal comfort. Air temperature gradient least (uniform) on overcast days up to 100m. This information can however be combined with the results of the field measurements of radiant temperatures to show that whilst the trends remain the same.0 °C per layer due to greater exposure & reflection from 100m. There is also a greater variation in conditions closer to the ground over the course of a day and reduced variation in conditions with increased height above the ground. The literature related to urban areas is extensive however until recently has not distinguished between different climate zones with the city being limited to simple distinctions between rural and urban environments in respect to the UHI. The literature describes the vertical climate of cities in general terms only in respect to the extent of upward influence the city has on the UHI although Table 1 shows the key climatic trends to be the same as in rural areas however with a large degree of variation. 4-5% per 300m. The application of the air temperature lapse rate to HVAC energy reductions in the Freedom Tower in New York is also considered. Temperature lapse rates can reach 3 °C /100m up to 50m height & range from 0. Air temperature gradient greatest on clear. still summer days. 5. The micro-climatic data is organised against possible benefits to energy use and thermal comfort in tall buildings and classified into vertical zones to simplify its potential application to tall building design. humidity and wind speed that reduce with increasing distance from the ground. The gradient of these characteristics increases near the surface of the ground and reduces with increased height (Geiger 1973.0 °C for each 100m above. Clair 33 24/02/2010 . height. This leads to a ‘vertical micro-climate’ characterised by variations in temperature. lower level surrounding roofs.

Decreasing air density with height results in lower energy demand for ventilation systems at higher levels (http://www.sustainablebuilding. Reduced temperature range at higher levels may promote natural ventilation & usable outdoor space. Wind causes varying levels of façade Air temperature decreases with increasing height.cfm?fileName=180501a. Some offset due to reduced solar radiation in dense building clusters. p218).xml) Higher wind speeds with height will cool the building envelope. Higher lapse rates shown in city below urban canopy and in street canyons Temperatures can increase in the urban canopy due to UHI including thermal mass & reduced sky view factor limiting night cooling.info/postcrash/files/tallbuildings-UIA-paper- Peter St.buildinggreen. Air pressure Air pressure decreases externally with increasing height. Ali & Armstrong 2007. Higher wind speeds with height increase facade air pressure difference between top and bottom leading to higher vertical wind speeds. Reduced daylight access to lower levels.Air temperature inversion at night time. Reduced ratio of roof to wall in tall buildings reduces solar exposure & potential for renewable energy generation with increasing height (Haase & Amato. Less temperature variation over 24hr period at higher levels up to 60m (up to 3 °C). Wind flow separates into streams as it comes over the edge of a roof or around a corner producing multiple streams rather than a laminar wind that is required for wind turbines(http://www. Key characteristics – Urban locations Wind speed generally increases with increasing height although can accelerate 3-4 times normal speed in street canyons (Beedle. Influences on energy consumption & physical comfort Increased cooling loads from solar gains with increased height. Air pressure decreases externally with increasing height. Solar radiation exposure increases above the urban canopy due to reduced building density & reflections. Key characteristics – Urban locations Solar radiation levels increase with increasing altitude. Wind turbulence decreases with additional height and above the urban canopy. Clair 34 24/02/2010 . Air pressure difference across exterior wall increases with increased temperature difference & height above the neutral pressure plane @ mid -point. Increased temperature range at lower levels may reduce opportunities for natural ventilation & increase dependency on a/c. Solar heat loads may increase with increased height where building tapers/steps increasing surface to floor area ratio. Decreased cooling loads with increased building height in hot climates (Leung & Weismantle). 2006) Wind velocity & direction Key characteristics – Rural areas Wind speed increases with increasing height. Reduced scope for external sun shading with increased height. Vertical wind speeds to facades increase with increased building height. Similar temperature lapse rates shown in field measurements of 228m tall building above urban canopy. Decreases in the urban canopy layer due to increased shade from adjacent buildings & vegetation. Greater air temperature variation over 24hr period at lower levels below 16m (up to 20 degrees). Day lighting potential greater than in low-rise deep plan buildings. Can cause problems in opening windows and doors (Etheridge & Ford 2008).com/auth/ article.

Key characteristics – Urban locations Effect of city on humidity is a reduction of 48%. 010608-rovers. Increasing infiltration through façade with increasing height causes loss of heated/cooled air to shafts & corridors. Increased wind loadings with height reduce opportunity for external sun-shading Humidity Key characteristics – Rural areas Humidity reduces with increased height during the day. p253). Increased potential for water harvesting with increased building height. Clair . Increasing wind driven rain may reduce thermal properties of envelope requiring additional energy use for heating/cooling. Ground level turbulence and dis-comfort to pedestrians increases with increased building height. Humidity increases with increased height at night. Moisture transfer may increase with height influencing heat transfer and cooling/heating loads (Blocken et al 2006). Peter St.infiltration with increased height.info/postcrash/files/tallbuildings-UIA-paper-010608rovers. Increasing wind driven rain may accelerate material deterioration & increase maintenance & material replacement.pdf) Increasing air pressure with height causes heat from lower floors to rise causing additional cooling loads with increased height. Increasing exfiltration through façade with increasing height causes loss of heated/cooled air to exterior. Influences on energy consumption & physical comfort Increased opportunity for natural ventilation during light winds Increased infiltration/exfiltration increases cooling & heating loads (Roaf 2005. Humidity gradient may be affected by shading & wind downdrafts. Higher convection rates with height will reduce cooling loads in summer & increase heating loads in winter (http://www.sustainablebuilding. Influences on energy consumption & physical comfort Increased outdoor comfort with increasing height. Increased opportunity for natural & mixed mode ventilation with increasing height. Rainfall Rainfall constant with height Wind driven rain to facades increases with increased height & wind speed. Humidity more variable at ground level. Air Pollution Not investigated Decreased traffic generated air pollution with increased height Street canyon effect 35 24/02/2010 Noise Key characteristics – Rural areas Not investigated Key characteristics – Urban locations Increased wind induced noise with increased wind/height.pdf) Opportunities for w ind energy generation adversely effected by varying wind speeds and turbulence Natural ventilation of offices is harder to achieve due to increased wind speeds & noise associated with openable windows at height. Pressure driven thermal buoyancy in atria can assist natural ventilation & reduce energy consumption for cooling.

More opportunities for outdoor recreation spaces.1. 5. The measurements to the lower levels of the MLC Centre showed the lapse rate from 0-75m was the highest of all gradients measured at 3. p4. The identification of broad vertical zones may be useful where the economics of building construction typically requires the number of plan and façade types to be minimised.5) These zones may be applicable to the bio-climatic design of tall buildings that consider height by applying vertical changes in for example façade design. p73)  the urban boundary layer extending from the average height of buildings to between 200 and 500m (Oke 1974. This suggests the anthropogenic heat loads such as traffic and the reduced sky view factor may have a greater effect on the micro-climate between buildings than the period of solar exposure.Decreased traffic noise with increased height.15 °C and 6.htm). 5.1 Classification of vertical climate zones A comparison of the literature shows there are a number of broad vertical climate zones in urban environments that may be significant to the bio-climatic design of tall buildings:  roughness layer at a 0 – 2 m (Oke 1978. Other characteristics that may change with increasing height include reduced dust and mosquitoes however these are not investigated in this study. Clair 36 24/02/2010 .47 °C per 100m to the northern façade.50m (reducing to a few metres at night time) (Oke 1974. natural ventilation and HVAC systems to correspond to varying vertical climate zones. This was despite the greater levels of shading benefit these walls were afforded over the course of the day due to orientation and increased shading. Increased air quality with increased height. can increase traffic pollution levels closer to ground. p4.uk/temperature/thermal/factors. p5)  the urban canopy layer (from ground level to the average height of buildings) (Oke 1978.gov.  the micro-climate layer most influenced by the ground at 0 – 100m (Figure 7 and Geiger 1973. p52. Figure 28 also shows that the temperatures to some other tall buildings actually increase with increased height in the case of the NRMA Building oriented towards the south-west and setting sun and least exposed to the prevailing winds of the afternoon from the NE. 1978. 275).2 Analysis of thermal imaging of the MLC Centre The field study measured thermal radiation which is the heat that radiates from a warm object. 1978. Increased noise/vibrations from wind turbines Influences on energy consumption & physical comfort Greater acoustic insulation may be required at higher levels requiring more energy intensive materials. Whilst air temperature is the most commonly used indicator of thermal comfort radiant temperature actually has a greater influence on how humans lose or gain heat to the environment and is therefore a useful indicator (http://www. p274. Peter St. .hse. The measurements showed the highest temperatures to be on the façades of adjacent low rise buildings at street level. For example Figure 28 showed south facing and north facing facades within 3-4 levels of the street to be 3-4 °C warmer than the lower north facing façade of the MLC Centre (Figure 32) which had been exposed to solar radiation for a greater period of the day and is positioned to the south of Martin Place a large pedestrian zone.5)  turbulent surface layer at 0 . Increased outdoor comfort with increasing height. p51.

47 °C/100m The data suggests that the vertical gradients of temperature measured in the natural environment are modified by adjacent buildings and other UHI factors as would be expected leading to an increased range and gradient of temperatures with height and a cooler micro-climate above the local urban canopy. This shows the importance of considering height together with the more usually Peter St. eastern façade (-1.15pm and 8.72 °C /100m.4 . Influences other than building height may include climate zone. Table 2 – Summary of thermal imaging data for the MLC Centre considering only the subject building facades Temperature ranges measured between 7.5 . The measurements to the higher levels of the MLC Centre were reduced and were shown to vary with orientation.7 °C /100m) followed by the northern façade (-1.15pm and 8.2 °C 1.30pm in summer on partly cloudy day Façade orientations & Radiant temperature range Vertical gradient height Western façade (15 – 220m) 29 – 25 °C 1.3 .5 and 2 °C with each 100m up to 61m as shown in Figure 6.22.29 °C.2 . Clair 37 24/02/2010 .9 °C 23.5 °C 28.15 °C/100m Table 3 – Summary of thermal imaging data for the MLC Centre considering the subject building facades & adjacent low rise building facades Temperature ranges measured between 7.9 °C 26. 6.3 .22.25 °C 1.7 – 23.25 . These values are higher than the adiabatic lapse rate of 1.66 °C /100m).95 °C /100m Northern facade Eastern façade (90-228m) Southern façade (5 – 220m) Northern façade/stair (-10 75m) 25. season and weather at the time of the measurements. The trend is consistent with Geiger where the gradient of air temperatures are shown to reduce with increasing distance from the ground.0 °C /100m) and the southern façade at -0.4 °C Eastern façade (90 -228m) Southern façade (115 – 220m) Northern façade (10-75m) 23. This zone correlates approximately with the average height of adjacent buildings.23.8 °C per 100m to .21.21.66 °C /100m 1. The general trend however of reduced temperature with increased height and increased gradients closer to the ground remain the same in the building studied as in the rural environment.8 °C /100m). The gradients from approximately 75m to 220m range from -0. The greatest lapse rate was on the western façade (-1. The effects of orientation are to create a number of differing temperature gradients to differently oriented facades.1.This is 3-4 times the measurements by Geiger which show a lapse rate in air temperature of between 1.2°C 1.30pm in summer on partly cloudy day Façade orientation & Radiant temperature range Vertical gradient height Western façade (75 – 220m 27.7 °C /100m Northern façade (120 – 220m) 23.2 .21.21.0 °C /100m 0.0 °C per 100m.5 °C 25.8 °C /100m. This suggests that the gradient is influenced by solar exposure with reduced gradients being seen to the shaded eastern facade and progressively increasing temperatures and gradients to the north and then western façade which was exposed to sunlight at the time of the measurements. 3. This higher level zone correlates approximately with the urban boundary layer above the adjacent buildings.7 °C per 100m representing an average lapse rate of -1.4 °C 25.5 .8 °C /100m 1.58 °C /100m 1.

5.3 Diagrammatic analysis of the effects of building height on micro-climate & building characteristics The vertical climate data was studied in diagram form to illustrate the key principles that could be considered in the bio-climatic design of tall buildings based on building height. Further studies could be completed to examine the gradients at different times of the day and year to consider the effects of night time cooling to the sky and varying weather effects such as high winds and reduced cloud cover. Clair 38 24/02/2010 .considered orientation in the measurement. Adjacent low rise buildings within street canyons showed no reductions in temperature vertically. In summary the data showed temperatures to vary up to 7. Work completed by Chris McCarthy on the Nara Tower is adapted and developed further to include additional detail and climatic elements from the literature review and field measurements. design and harnessing of micro-climates in tall buildings. Peter St.6 °C from the street level façades of adjacent buildings to the roof level façade of the MLC Centre.

Peter St. The study was completed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in the USA modelling the effect of changes in air temperature and wind with altitude and the energy saving benefits of these and concluded that “environmental factors that vary with altitude have a significant effect on the annual total building and cooling energy”.4 Case study of the application of temperature lapse rate to HVAC design in the Freedom Tower Figure 35 illustrates the design for the Freedom Tower in New York by SOM which provides one of few case studies that apply changes in vertical climate to the reduction of energy usage. 2001 p. This contrasts with the standard approach based upon regional climate data which assumes standard temperatures at all floor levels. McCarthy in Richards. The study examined the annual energy required for each floor level based upon the changing external climate conditions with height.Figure 34 – Analysis of effects of building height on vertical micro-climate (adapted & expanded by author from C. Clair 39 24/02/2010 .73) 5.

The investigation has shown that graduated differences exist in radiant temperature between the ground level and roof in a tall building in the Sydney CBD. Clair 40 24/02/2010 . Figure 35 – Freedom Tower by SOM (http://upload.jpg) The study also showed that lower external air temperatures and higher wind speeds at higher levels reduced cooling loads with air temperature exceeding the effect of wind at a height of approximately 250m (Ellis & Torcellini 2005. Whilst solar radiation increases slightly with altitude the predominant effect in urban areas is shading and reflection from adjacent buildings suggesting the amount of solar radiation exposure will typically increase above the urban canopy. 5.5 Summary of analysis for tall buildings in urban locations Oke describes the general influences of the urban environment to extend up to between 200 and 500m. A baseline building that did not consider the changing external climate conditions demonstrated a maximum difference between two separate floors of only 4% (Ellis & Torcellini. p3). The maximum differences in cooling and heating energy requirements between an upper and lower level floor was 45%. Tall buildings Peter St. p283. This benefit is greatest at lower heights where more shade is available and reduces with increased height above the urban canopy.Modelling permitted an adjusted thermal load model and optimised HVAC system leading to reductions of annual cooling and heating energy of approximately 13% (Leung & Weismantle 2008. p283). 284). The benefits of shading exceeded the radiation loads reflected from adjacent buildings.org/wikipedia/en/7/74/Freedom_Tower_New. The same study showed that shading by other buildings had the single largest contribution to reduced cooling loads. This suggests there to be significant differences in thermal loads with height which are not typically considered in either bio-climatic nor HVAC design. 2005.wikimedia. The range of wind speed conditions is shown by Aynsley to increase fourfold from the ground to between 100 and 200m in a typical urban environment as shown in Figure 12. These variations are however dependent upon building clustering and orientation of facades where some buildings are shown to have no reduction in radiant temperature with increased height as shown in Figure 28.

Peter St. This suggests the urban environment to have a greater effect on the vertical climate of tall buildings at lower levels than at the higher levels. Clair 41 24/02/2010 . This is similar to the way in which the ground has a greater effect on lower levels of the atmosphere in rural areas. 110).clustered with buildings of similar heights are shown to experience greater changes in wind direction and greater turbulence than tall buildings that rise above the urban canopy (Smith 2008. Variations in micro-climate are shown to be greater over vertical distances than horizontal distances on the ground indicating opportunities to harness these changes to reduce energy consumption and improve indoor environment quality in tall buildings. Correlations were demonstrated between façade radiant temperatures and gradients and the urban canopy and urban boundary layer described by Oke. p109.

The increasing importance of building and opening orientation with increased building height due to increased wind speeds and the reduced protection from terrain has been identified for almost 50 years (Olgyay 1963.0).1 6. Wind turbulence reduces above the urban canopy which may permit more static façade elements as opposed to more dynamic and responsive facades at lower levels. Temperature ranges and gradients also varied significantly to other near by buildings appearing to be related to building density. However the temperatures to differently oriented facades varied indicating the need to consider both building height and orientation. Case studies and a series of conceptual bio-climatic design tactics are provided for further research and development that may lead to a design primer for architects and engineers.1 Discussion of vertical micro-climate characteristics & atmospheric processes Patterns of micro-climate in urban areas – the case for the use of building height in bio-climatic design The consistent changes in vertical climate shown in rural areas are influenced in the urban environment by the more far more complex terrain. mixed-mode systems and evaporative coolers that function more efficiently with reduce humidity. air pressure and humidity with increased height are consistent with or greater than those in the natural environment however more varied. Facade integrated photo -voltaics may provide renewable energy at higher levels where building shading is minimised.1.6 DISCUSSION & POSSIBLE APPLICATIONS OF BUILDING HEIGHT TO THE BIO-CLIMATIC DESIGN OF TALL BUILDINGS Section 6 discusses the value and potential applications of building height and the “vertical micro-climate” concept to the bio-climatic design of tall buildings. gradients and speeds of change with increasing height above the ground. Peter St. The potential applications of the vertical micro-climate to bio-climatic design would be greatest where the range of conditions varies the most from the ground level to the roof level and these conditions are measurable and systematic. This indicates the need to consider the influence of urban design on individual tall building sites. Air temperature ranges of this same magnitude allow passive strategies such as natural ventilation cooling. However the literature shows variations in urban air temperature. This can provide greater opportunities for natural ventilation in deep plan buildings where higher indoor air speeds are acceptable or can be managed with for example double skin facades. Increased exposure is provided above the urban canopy allowing passive solar design in suitable climates and suggesting increased wall insulation levels. Humidity reduces with increased height proving further opportunities for natural ventilation. Solar radiation levels increase marginally with increased height although of more relevance to the design of a tall building is the level of solar exposure relative to shading. This investigation has shown that individual micro-climate characteristics have varying ranges. materials with lower U-values and additional sunshading than below the urban canopy. sky-view factor and proximity to street canyons.4 °C at roof level to 29 °C at ground level. fan-forced ventilation cooling and high thermal mass to be effective in achieving indoor thermal comfort in Sydney (Climate Consultant Version 4. This could include the development of tools such as vertical meteorology and thermal imaging to better understand the more variable urban climate environment as well as energy modelling and building design studies of possible bio-climatic design strategies. Clair 42 24/02/2010 . 6. Radiant temperatures were shown to reduce systematically with increased height to individual facades in the field measurements ranging from 21. The discussion argues there are sufficient variations in the vertical climate of tall buildings predominantly located in urban or suburban areas to support further investigation. orientation. Wind speeds are shown to increase with increased height causing greater air pressure differences to opposing facades. p94).

Zeiler provides a GIS 3-D object oriented data model for simulation of the urban canopy layer climate which is to be coupled with vertical surface information (Wu 2000). These complex conditions were most apparent within the urban canopy which may limit the use of passive strategies and support the use of air-conditioned environments sealed to the outside. This provides a reliable passive technique for the passive ventilation of tall buildings that increases in force with increased building height and indoor vertical pressure differences. This can include the use of atria and façade stacks in double skin facades. Larger scale weather systems may cause stronger winds that mix the atmosphere and remove small scale differences or micro-climatic effects flattening out the vertical variations that result from the influence of the ground (Oke 1978.urban-climate.1.2 Variability of micro-climate in urban areas . The development of a new classification system for urban climate zones by Stewart and Oke (2009) allows different tall building locations to be defined based on properties that control surface micro-climate as shown in Figure 36.org/IAUC034. The potential applications would be least where conditions from the ground level to the roof level are flattened out. Figure 36 – Urban climate zones by Stewart and Oke http://www. Radiant temperatures in the field study demonstrated high levels of variability in climate in the urban environment between different streets. Higher wind speeds can be difficult to manage in naturally ventilated solutions and indoor air speeds may be unacceptably high necessitating the use of double skin facades or fan forced mechanical ventilation in lieu of openable windows. Vertical micro-climates are related to local climate variations in cities which until recently were not defined. Peter St. outdoor spaces and facades.Thermal buoyancy is less effected by fluctuations in external micro-climate although is influenced by the temperature differences across facades.pdf Bio-climatic design requires accurate climatic data. This may have applications to the measurement of the vertical climate and the assessment of any benefits that bio-climatic tactics may provide. This is most effective in colder climates where the temperature differences are greatest and is applied in building such as the Commerzbank in Frankfurt.the case against the use of building height The vertical climate of cities is not measured in the literature sourced beyond general trends and the vertical influence of the UHI on the atmosphere. This lack of information causes difficulties in assessing the feasibility of bio-climatic tactics based on building height. The thermal imaging demonstrated that in some case tall buildings show a uniform radiant temperature from the street to roof level as demonstrated in Figure 28. The use of the vertical micro-climate in bioclimatic design would require meteorological data for vertical surfaces and the atmosphere in cities of which there is little available. p5). 6. Clair 43 24/02/2010 . This may allow sites to be differentiated more systematically and provide a more accurate basis for the application of bio-climatic tactics.

Bio-climatic responses to increased solar radiation levels above the urban canopy may include reduced window to wall ratio which may not be acceptable in a commercial building where access to views contributes to the leasing values. 6. The effects of wind turbulence reduce the effectiveness of roof mounted wind-turbines limiting the potential for renewable energies that benefit from building height (http://www.com/auth/article. Geiger shows the ground surface provides a level of thermal inertia thereby moderating sudden changes in climate (Geiger 1973 & Yeang 1996). Other tactics such as the variation of façade types and environmental control systems with height may lead to reduced uniformity in construction systems and materials which may result in increased complexity and transport costs. Additional sun shading at higher levels may be hazardous due to wind speeds and façade maintenance requirements as seen in section 3. The second diagram illustrates an enhanced approach to bioclimatic design based in the use of building height and the vertical micro-climate.2.7.Variations in air pressure with increased height and wind speed can cause difficulties in the opening of windows and doors.cfm?fileName=180501a. Whilst this investigation has not determined the speed of change in the upper atmosphere. rapid changes may limit the applications of vertical climate changes. savings in operational and embodied energy and on-site energy generation.1 Building operational energy performance The following applications may contribute to energy conservation. Figure 37 illustrates conventional approaches to the bio-climatic design of tall building design as developed by architects such as Ken Yeang.xml).buildinggreen. which may reduce the gradient of temperatures in the areas of greatest building density (Oke 1991).2 Possible applications of building height & the “vertical micro-climate” to Bio-Climatic Design Applications of building height & vertical micro-climate to the bio-climatic design of tall buildings could include energy conservation and climate mitigation. Bio-climatic design is also dependent on measurable and systematic climate conditions. Clair 44 24/02/2010 . The UHI models show that the atmosphere can be contained with an ‘urban dome’ assuming calm air. The high internal air pressure differences that lead to thermal buoyancy can lead to unacceptably high vertical air speeds in atria necessitating the vertical compartmentalisation of voids. climate mitigation and adaptation through the retro-fitting of existing tall buildings and improved indoor environment quality: Peter St. Figure 37 – Approaches to bio-climatic design & enhanced bio-climatic design (author) 6. improvement in building durability.

 Optimised design of façade openings and vents to suit wind speeds and air pressure rates that vary with height. p245):  Wind turbines may have fewer applications than suggested in previous studies.  Optimising of HVAC fan and duct sizes based on vertical compartment modelling that considers varying external conditions such as changes in air temperature.gov/homepages/Rick_Diamond/LBNL43642-roomvent_98.2. 6. mixed mode and natural ventilation. The application of detailed micro-climatic measurements may allow more detailed assessment of building exposure to climate in tall buildings which experience greater exposure than low-rise buildings. Façade elements can often deteriorate where most exposed to wind driven rain or dust and where solar radiation is not available:  Optimising of building material performance and wall assembly details to match varying external conditions.  Optimising of façade elements with height and design of compartment openings to reduce heat infiltration and exfiltration causing loss of cool and heated air and poor air quality in residential apartments quality (http://epb. For example commercial uses that generate higher occupant and technical heat loads may suit the cooler higher levels of tall buildings in hot climates.lbl.2 Building performance and durability The following applications of vertical changes in micro-climate may contribute to energy conservation and reduced operational and embodied energy usage. This is recommended in cold climates such as Canada by the Homeowners Protection (http://www. This is a common consideration by building climatologists (Page 1976).3 Building energy generation Increasing building height may contribute to the generation of renewable energy due to greater exposure to increased wind speed and solar radiation above the urban canopy.  Long life cycle materials may be used to facades to assist in reducing the energy costs of replacing materials or the increased operational energy costs resulting from reduced thermal performance.hpo.pdf  Application of atria spaces and stacks that benefit from variations in air pressure and temperature difference with height to provide natural ventilation.ca/PDF/Research/Reports/SHREPsummary. Tall buildings can provide greater exposure to wind however this is complicated by building clustering.bc. Clair 45 24/02/2010 . humidity and air pressure with height. The Peter St.  Application of different environmental control systems to vertical zones to benefit from the temperature lapse rate and reduced humidity. Systems may include air-conditioning.2.  Optimised placement and design of solar shading to match varying vertical conditions affected by the urban context and building clustering.pdf). wind shading and turbulence. noise and air pollution with increased height. Roaf states that up to 50-60% of energy requirements can be generated on site (Roaf 2005. Vertical master planning of building usages to match building heat loads which vary with the external micro-climate. Guthrie cautions against high expectations stating that wind can provide no more than 5% of electrical needs in a tall building.  Optimising of building envelope design by for example varying façade materials and window to wall ratio vertically to match external micro-climate zones that vary with height leading to reductions of heating and cooling loads. 6.  Application of external climatic data and environmental loads such as temperature and humidity and wind and rain exposure to the choice and detailing of building envelope materials to improve durability and reduce maintenance requirements.

generation of wind energy is limited by the tendency for wind at roof levels to separate into wind streams reducing the effectiveness of wind turbines (Guthrie 2008). Current projects that propose to generate their own power include the 640m tall DMC Tower in Korea by SOM Architects (Figure 38) which will apply the natural physics of tall buildings such as the stack effect and wind turbines to generate up to 3% of the building’s energy consumption (http://www.som.com/content.cfm/113009_pr_groundbreaking_digital_media_city_la ndmark_tower).

Figure 38 - DMC Tower (http://www.tallest-building-in-the-world.com/)

 Roof mounted photo-voltaics are limited due to the relatively small roof area in tall buildings. Façade integrated photo-voltaics can generate between 10-15% of energy requirements (Guthrie 2008) however requires wind and solar generation to be integrated into the façade whilst maintaining other amenities such as day lighting and external views. The capacity of solar generated energy is influenced by building density, orientation, overshadowing and height. The Pearl River Tower shown in Figure 39 receives less than 10% of its energy needs from the wind turbines and BIPV (http://chinagreenbuildings.blogspot.com/2008_11_01_archive.html).

Peter St. Clair

46

24/02/2010

Figure 39- The Pearl River Tower (http://www.buildinggreen.com/auth/article.cfm?fileName=180501a.xml)

Figure 40 illustrates that tall buildings can provide less electricity generating potential per square metre of floor area due to the decreased availability of solar radiation on vertical facades when compared to horizontal roofs due to their high dependency on orientation (Haase & Amato 2006). Other contributing factors are the reduced ratio of building envelope to floor area with increasing height as seen in Cho’s study (Cho 2005, p1007) and the likelihood of shading from adjacent buildings

Figure 40 – Electricity potential for increasing floor numbers and locations http://www.unige.ch/cuepe/html/plea2006/Vol1/PLEA2006_PAPER509.pdf

The opportunities to generate significant levels of energy with increasing building height appears to be less than suggested by current tall building designs. However greater opportunities may exist in taller buildings that extend above the urban canopy and those situated in suburban areas with lower building densities. These types of buildings may be less impacted by over-shadowing and wind turbulence.

Peter St. Clair

47

24/02/2010

6.2.4

Building types and locations

The vertical changes in climate shown by this investigation suggest that certain buildings and locations may provide greater opportunities for the application of building height to bio-climatic design. Field measurements highlighted the greater influence of the ground and urban canopy on radiant façade temperatures. Whilst the average height of the urban canopy varies they commonly lie at 50-100m in CBD areas such as New York (Holt & Pullen 2006, p1907) and so buildings that extend above this height may provide greater opportunities.  Super tall buildings where more constant atmospheric processes such as air pressure and the adiabatic lapse rate play a larger part and may benefit HVAC designs. These types of buildings will typically include mixed uses such as residential commercial and hotels.  Sections of tall buildings situated above the urban canopy where the micro-climate is cooler and less humid and less variable.  Multi-use buildings that incorporate varying occupant requirements at differing building heights such as residential commercial and hotel uses which may suit the design of different strata’s to suit differing micro-climate zones.  Tall buildings in CBD locations situated within lower building clusters such shown in the MLC Centre case study. These will commonly include commercial buildings up to 250m and residential buildings up to 150m (http://skyscraperpage.com/diagrams/).  Tall buildings situated adjacent to green spaces and open spaces with greater sky view factor. These may include residential buildings, hotels, commercial and institutional buildings.  Tall building design in developing countries where energy access and economic constraints limit energy usage for cooling and ventilation. 6.3 Bio-climatic design tactics for tall buildings based upon building height The studies of vertical micro-climate suggest there are three forms of climate related benefits that result from building height that could be investigated further:  Harvesting the external micro-climate – benefiting from the vertical micro-climate conditions such as cooler, cleaner and less humid air at higher levels to provide increased natural ventilation or factor in reduced air-conditioning loads to reduce energy usage. Providing solar and w ind generation through plant and façade integrated technologies.  Modifying the external micro-climate through building and urban design – developing outdoor spaces such as sky gardens and winter gardens and filters such as screens and sunshades. Reducing the cooling and heating loads driven by the sun and wind characteristics that vary from the ground to roof through buffers, shading and material selections. Reducing energy usage and providing outdoor amenity for building occupants to improve occupant health and comfort.  Stack effect/thermal buoyancy– benefiting from the stack effect which accelerates with increased building height. Providing atria, ventilation shafts, double-skin facades and solar chimneys that assist with natural ventilation and heat exhaust and reduce energy usage. The following table proposes some building design tactics classified according to building elements and systems similar to that used by Hyde (2000 pp29-32). The role of the façade is significant due to the large ratio of wall to roof that increases with increasing building height. The façade is also the building element that experiences the greatest variation in climate exposure and conditions vertically as well as with orientation. Providing variable and responsive façade designs based upon vertical zoning could provide opportunities for greater variation in tall building façade design that responds to both environmental and urban design drivers.

Peter St. Clair

48

24/02/2010

12. 2. Maximise responsiveness at higher levels where micro-climate changes more rapidly. Optimise position and screening of outdoor spaces to match vertical micro-climate & increased wind speeds with height & urban context. Maximise enclosure of open areas at higher levels 2.Table 4. Minimise horizontal ledges @ lower levels to minimise dust collection & maintenance. building use & environmental control systems. Vary façade & opening types vertically to match varying vertical micro-climate & building use (if mixed use). Vary level of façade/opening responsiveness to match the varying speed of vertical micro-climate change. 6. 14. shape & orientation 1. mixed-mode & airconditioning. Vary floor plan configuration & depth to match varying vertical micro-climate. Profile the building form and façade to minimise downdrafts & pedestrian dis-comfort & reduce convective heat losses from winds in cold climates 8. Vary environmental control systems vertically to match varying vertical micro-climate & building use (if mixed use). 4.768) & diffuser to allow operable windows whilst controlling wind loads and wind noise (Driskill). Vary façade insulation & design vertically to match external noise levels that vary with height. Optimise shade. Provide double-skin shaft facades to create vertical air movement and exhaust. Vary façade & opening types vertically to match varying vertical micro-climate & varied external day lighting availability with height & urban context. Reduce increasing wind loads that occur with greater height with aero-dynamic forms (Driskill) Perimeter Space 1. Increase WWR (using double glazing) with increased height in cold climates to benefit from passive solar design 7. 13. 2. thermal buffering & wind protection to match varying vertical microclimate & urban context. 11. 3. Vary floor plan orientation to match varying vertical micro-climate & urban context & reduce heating & cooling loads. act as a solar chimney (Haase 2005 p. 5. Floor planning. Atria and Voids Peter St. Optimise position of façade integrated photovoltaics (PV) to match vertical microclimate & increased solar access with height. 15. For example use a narrower floor pate or introduce atria to higher building levels if naturally ventilated. form and fabric Conceptual bio-climatic design tactics that respond to building height & vertical microclimate Facade 1. 9. Clair 49 24/02/2010 . Reduce window to wall ratio (WWR) with increased height in hot climates to reduce solar heat loads where they increase vertically due to reduce building shading and increased reflectivity. Vary façade insulation & U-value vertically to match varying vertical micro-climate. Provide mixed-use tall buildings with the programme divided into multi-level strata’s that benefit from the varying vertical micro-climate & urban context 4. Vary vents & monsoon windows vertically to moderate wind speeds and ensure suitable internal conditions with natural ventilation solutions. Vary glazing shading co-efficients to match varying vertical micro-climate & increased solar exposure typical with height. 10. urban context & building use if mixed use & reduce solar radiation and increased convective heat loss with height.Conceptual bio-climatic tactics for tall building elements. 3. For example natural ventilation. Vary enclosure & screening of perimeter spaces such as winter gardens & balconies to match varying vertical micro-climate & urban context. Vary window to wall ratios (WWR) vertically to match varying micro-climate.

Utilise sky courts to reduce wind loadings higher in building 4. Introduce planting to urban canopy zone to filter higher dust and pollution content and provide shade to offset higher temperatures and over heating potential 4. Section 1. Peter St. Increase height of ventilation stacks to induce greater Roof 1. 2. Consider multi-use building with differing uses and configurations to suit micro-climate of different vertical zones/strata’s. Provide high occupancy spaces to higher sections of building in hot climates where reduced temperature. 5. Provide vertical buffer zones (Roaf 2005 p 59) 3. Provide segmentation of section to reduce internal buoyancy pressure (Etheridge & Ford 2008). Provide heating dominated uses to lower sections of building to benefit from relatively higher temperatures. Provide cooling dominated uses to higher sections of building to benefit from lower temperatures. Select plant species to suit temperatures and sun exposure that vary with building height Active Systems 1. Introduce planting to develop local micro-climates. air density and humidity reduce the requirement for energy usage for cooling 5. Venture Effect ventilation can assist with higher heat loads higher in the building resulting from the stack effect. Offset high embodied energy content of superstructure that varies vertically by avoiding high embodied energy façade materials such as aluminium and varying façade materials vertically Landscape 1. increase evapo-transpiration and shield outdoor spaces and façade from solar radiation and convective cooling of the building fabric from winds 2. Provide perimeter sky gardens to lower section of building where wind speeds lower. 3. p7). Provide vertical landscaping to provide shading & regulate solar heat gains and convective losses that vary with height 3. Provide HVAC air intakes at higher level in hot climates where air temperature. Optimise draw of air into HVAC intakes reducing fan energy by positioning according to wind speeds that vary with height and orientation. minimising cooling and heating energy usage of HVAC system. Most effective in cold or temperate climates where the temperature differences between the exterior and interior is greatest. 4. Select façade and roof materials with shading co-efficients and U-values to match varying vertical micro-climate 2. double skin facades & atria situated below 3. air density and humidity are lower and at lower level in cold climates where air temperatures are higher to be closer to the desired indoor temperature. 2. Provide wind turbines & solar collectors 2. Provide protected atria space to higher sections of building where wind speed are higher 6. Provide wind towers that benefit from higher wind speeds & cleaner air at increased height. Provide roof vents & form negative pressure zones to draw air through stacks. Clair 50 24/02/2010 .Conceptual bio-climatic design tactics that respond to building height & vertical microclimate 1. 7. Use an atrium space/ventilation stack to introduce controlled vertical natural ventilation flow and cooling from increased air pressure differential with building height (Aynsley 2007. Materials 1.

Provide zoned mixed -mode systems that vary with height to match varying microclimate and building use with height. Chrichton & Nicol 2005. 8. 10. Consider varying extent of building shading and reflection with building height to minimise cooling and heating energy usage of HVAC system 7. mixed mode and natural ventilation to suit heating and cooling loads that vary with height and orientation. humidity and air quality that varies with height. Provided passive solar heating and thermal mass to match varying sun and shading patterns that vary with height and orientation. Provide building integrated solar photovoltaic’s to sun and shading patterns to facades that vary with height and orientation 4. humidity and solar radiation levels. Provide HVAC exhausts to cooler outdoor locations higher in the building to minimise impact on surrounding environment and UHI. fan forced ventilation cooling and night purging to match temperature. pp38. Consider operational energy benefits of tall buildings in hot climates where proportion of building located in cooler zone increases with increasing building height reducing cooling energy usage 8. p135). Provide evaporative cooling to higher sections of building in hot climates where humidity is reduced 9. p250). Wind turbine efficiency and output increases with additional height (Yeang 1996. Apply atmospheric temperature lapse rate and vertical variation in humidity to minimise cooling and heating energy usage of HVAC system 4. Position according to wind speeds that vary with height and orientation ensure optimum dispersion whilst not drawing foul air back into the fresh air system. Provide building mounted weather stations at height intervals to measure wind speed. Clair 51 24/02/2010 .Conceptual bio-climatic design tactics that respond to building height & vertical microclimate 2. Provide wind scoops and towers to supply and extract cleaner and cooler air from higher elevations (Battle McCarthy. Provide natural ventilation cooling. 9. 6. Maximise solar gains for heating at cooler higher levels. cooling of structural mass and thermal comfort). air temperature and pressure. Increased wind speeds with height increases the opportunity for natural ventilation at higher levels (improved air quality.39) 7. Harvest water in dry climates with collection to roof and upper windward elevation Peter St. Provide vertical axis wind turbines to roof level where wind speeds are highest and consider wind generation to facades at higher levels (Roaf. Provide enhanced BMS systems to provide façade and HVAC operability that responds to micro-climate conditions that vary with height based on actual climate conditions or programmed conditions based upon measured seasonal and daily fluctuations Passive Environmental Systems 1. For example reduced humidity at higher levels may increase number of days per annum situated within the comfort band allowing reduced usage of air-conditioning. Provide several HVAC systems and compartments such as fan coil units. Consider differential air pressure and infiltration across façade that varies with height to minimise cooling and heating energy usage of HVAC system 5. Provide solar arrays to roof level benefiting from higher solar radiation with building height and reduced airborne pollutants allowing better solar gain 3. 2. 5. Consider stack effect that leads to increased warm air higher in building to minimise cooling and heating energy usage of HVAC system 6. 3.

Strategies that use building height to reduce energy consumption can be described in three categories:  Harvesting of vertical changes in micro-climate through passive strategies and renewable energy sources. The following conclusions are drawn from this investigation in respect to the study objectives: Peter St.4 Relationship of building height & vertical micro-climate to other aspects of sustainable development The application of bio-climatic principles related to building height & vertical micro-climate could coincide with other objectives of sustainable development such as:  Modifying the external micro-climate of tall buildings to reduce thermal loads and indoor heating and cooling requirements may also provide improved thermal comfort and amenity for pedestrians  Reducing dependencies upon energy for HVAC promotes stronger relationships between occupants and the outdoor environment which represents a key weakness of tall buildings (Gifford 2008).6. p118. There is less evidence of the application of architectural strategies which may be promoted by the use of predictive software or accurate on site meteorological data. 6. The reverse may be the case in cold climates where increased height and wind speeds and reduced air temperatures may increase heating loads due to increased convection and infiltration. Bio-climatic design is largely focused on low. Therefore the types of buildings that may benefit most from the application of changes in climate with building height are those situated above or away from the influences of the urban canopy. 5. Whilst temperature gradients were shown to be highest within the urban canopy this also corresponded to the zone of greatest variability and is most commonly more affected by noise and air pollution. The vertical micro-climate may provide opportunities for vertically differentiated environmental control systems and the concept of ‘strata’s’ or compartments that respond to differing outside conditions and urban contexts with height. The benefits of vertical bio-climatic strategies to tall buildings may be greater in hot climates dominated by cooling as increased height provides cooling benefits through air temperature reductions and passive ventilation strategies.5 Summary of potential applications to bio-climatic design 1. Some aspects of changes in the climate with height have already been applied in for example the Freedom Tower in New York active systems have benefited from accurate meteorological predictions based upon temperature lapse rates to achieve 13% reductions in energy use through HVAC design.  The use of passive systems in tall buildings has the additional advantage of providing greater occupant control which can provide less thermal stress and a wider range of acceptable conditions (Roaf 2005. The application of vertical changes in micro-climate is dependent on the range and gradient of climatic changes with height and so any rapid changes may limit the applications of vertical changes. 2. Clair 52 24/02/2010 . 119).  Modifying the micro-climate to reduce heat losses and gains  Applying ventilation principles related to stack effect and air pressure differentiation that accelerate with increased building height 3. This variation of climate from street to street and level to level demonstrates the importance of urban meteorological data at a micro-climate scale. 4.rise buildings that are subject to differing micro-climate conditions than tall buildings. 6.

Access to cooler and cleaner air for natural and mechanical ventilation and sunlight for PV generation increases with increased building height and clearance from the urban canopy.85 ° C per 100m. 2. Vertical climatic conditions in the urban environment are shown to be more complex due to UHI factors such as varying building densities and anthropogenic energy outputs which can influence conditions up to 200 – 500m. 8. Measurements of thermal rad iant temperature in a 228m tall building showed similar trends than for air temperatures in rural areas with temperatures and temperature gradients reducing with increased height above the ground. Changes include reduced air temperature.47 ° C per 100m where the temperature of the ground plane is considered. Vertical climatic conditions in the natural environment vary significantly with height with the widest ranges being closer to the ground which influences conditions up to approximately 100m. wind turbulence and humidity and increased wind speeds with increased height.7 7. temperature and humidity conditions. 6. Temperatures cooled by up to 6.1 CONCLUSION Implications 1.5 ° C from the ground to roof level representing an overall gradient of -2. Operational energy per unit of floor area increased with building height in one study of 6-48 storey commercial buildings in Hong Kong. The building surface area relative to the floor area reduces with increased height in buildings reducing heat losses and gains through the envelope. 4. The range of conditions is also greater over vertical distances than over horizontal distances on the ground providing a greater opportunity to harness the micro-climate than in low-rise buildings. Whilst wind speeds increase with height this does not necessarily provide suitable laminar flow for roof mounted wind turbines and may not increase effective wind power generation. 3. Gradients from the ground to 75m were considerably higher than in rural areas ranging up to 3. Clair 53 24/02/2010 . air pressure and humidity and increased wind speeds with increased height. Tall buildings are subject to a vertical micro-climate consisting of similar types of local changes with the addition of atmospheric processes such as air pressure that reduces with increased height. 5. Bioclimatic design commonly applies these variations in hot climates where shading and natural ventilation strategies are used to limit heat gains. This results from increased levels of engineering services. Electricity usage decreased with building height in one study of a 12 storey residential building in a cold climate.15 ° C per 100m and 6. Low-rise buildings are subject to a horizontal micro-climate consisting of local changes in solar radiation exposure. Similar trends apply as in the natural environment including reduced air temperature. wind speed. Micro-climates extend vertically from just below the ground to several hundred metres above the ground during the night and to approximately one kilometre above the ground during the day. However the range and vertical gradients of conditions are more variable and field measurements show thermal radiant temperatures can be flattened out to provide no distinction between ground and roof level conditions in the case of a south west facing façade within a zone of higher building density. solar heat loads and convective forces from wind with increasing height. 7. The stack effect contributes further by moving hot air up through a building and by façade infiltration and exfiltration. Heating and cooling loads can vary at each level of a tall building and with overall building height. The following conclusions are drawn: Peter St. air pressure.

Clair 54 24/02/2010 . Previous studies have examined the relationship of building height and sustainable design however these studies are primarily focused on the optimisation of HVAC design. Higher and more variable temperature gradients were evident in the field study to the lower levels of the building coinciding approximately with the height of the surrounding urban canopy. The benefits of vertical bio-climatic strategies to tall buildings may be greater in hot climates where principle energy usage is for cooling. It may contribute to climate adaptation by optimising envelope and environmental systems in the retro-fitting of existing tall buildings. 11. This would include the use of climate responsive facades and be focused on the greater use of passive cooling in hot climates. verification and development of the proposed conceptual tactics which may contribute to a bio-climatic design based on building height. This project was studied by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in the USA who concluded that “environmental factors that vary with altitude have a significant effect on the annual total building and cooling energy”. Other more commonly applied tactics include pressure driven thermal buoyancy in atria to assist with natural ventilation and reduce energy consumption for cooling. This may contribute to climate mitigation by off-setting increases in construction costs and embodied energy that occur with increased height. This study identifies the opportunity for further research. as increased height provides cooling benefits through air temperature reductions and passive ventilation strategies. This investigation provides conceptual tactics for further development that may lead to a design primer for architects and enhanced bio-climatic design strategies. 14. Other tactics consider varying façade and opening types and HVAC systems to match climate conditions that vary with height. Lower and more consistent temperature gradients were evident to the upper levels of the building coinciding approximately with the urban boundary layer above adjacent building roofs. levels of tall buildings above the average urban canopy height of 50-100m and mixed use buildings may be most suited to the use of bio-climatic design based on building height and vertical climate. sun shading and u-value selections to match climate conditions that vary with height. Bio-climatic design requires the application of systematic climate patterns and site data. Strategies in cold climates may include increasing wall insulation with height to correspond to cooler temperatures and higher wind speeds. Urban locations consist of multiple horizontal and vertical micro-climates making the application of micro-climatology complex and dependent on local site data not commonly available. new GIS data models such as Zeilers and a new urban climate zone classification system by Stewart and Oke. 13. These tactics would lead to a building design that varies vertically to match the microclimate which changes with height. This may lead to a more accurate 3-D understanding of urban micro-climates and allow the application of the vertical micro-climate to bio-climatic design to be investigated further. 17. The vertical micro-climate has been applied to existing tall building designs such as Freedom Tower in New York although this case study is limited to a super tall building and the use of temperature lapse rate in mechanical engineering design.9. 12. Tactics are classified according to building elements and include varying window to wall ratio. 10. Peter St. These are focused on reducing cooling loads in hot climates and heating loads in cold climates. Super tall buildings. 16. buildings in lower density clusters. This could be combined with multiple compartment energy modelling used in Freedom Tower. This study demonstrates that applications such as thermal imaging can provide detailed data in urban environments. This suggests differing tactics such as natural ventilation to the upper levels of tall buildings and insulation and more responsive facades to the lower levels. 15. This would be conceptually similar to the varying of facades with orientation to match sun movement which is a condition of meso-climate.

Peter St. 3. 2. Methodologies used to record and analyse ground level micro-climate could be combined with 3-D GIS to suit vertical applications.7.2 Future research Further research is required to examine the opportunities that the vertical micro-climate and other features of building height provide to climate mitigation and improved indoor environment quality. A range of climate zones and urban climate sites could be selected based on Stewart and Oke's classification system. p75). 4. air and radiant temperature. Modelling and meteorological measurements of vertical micro-climate conditions including solar radiation. air pressure and wind speed at vertical intervals to existing tall building facades. Investigate the life cycle performance of tall buildings to compare the operational energy and indoor environment quality benefits relative to embodied and maintenance energy increases that may result from multiple façade types and environmental control systems. This may also contribute to a vertical urban design (Yeang 1996. relative humidity or dewpoint. Development of a ‘vertical mapping’ methodology to record and analyse vertical microclimates to tall building envelopes. Determine if the greater use of vertical micro-climate data could contribute to mathematical models used to predict the climate conditions and envelope controls within different urban climate sites and at different heights. This includes: 1. Investigate the effectiveness of the conceptual bio-climatic design tactics proposed in Table 4 to the reduction of heating and cooling loads through the use of multiple vertical compartment modelling. This could employ thermal imaging and GIS as well as methodologies developed by micro-meteorologists and building climatologists. Clair 55 24/02/2010 .

1.6 °C Sp2 Temperature 24.6 °C Image Date 11/19/2009 Sp3 Temperature 24.8 8.1 8. Temperature 62. Temperature 1. Temperature 34. Clair 56 24/02/2010 .4 °C Figure 44 – Thermal imaging data summary (south elevation) Peter St.3 West elevation Image Time 8:56:33 AM Sp1 Temperature 29.1.1 °C Image Max.5 °C Image Max.3 °C Image Date 11/19/2009 Sp3 Temperature 22. Temperature -8.8 °C Figure 43 – Thermal imaging data summary (west elevation) 8. Temperature 44. Temperature 3.8 °C Image Date 11/19/2009 Sp3 Temperature 24.4 South elevation Image Time 9:15:34 AM Sp1 Temperature 24.0 °C Image Min.2 °C Sp2 Temperature 26.0 °C Figure 42 – Thermal imaging data summary (north elevation) 8.8 °C Sp2 Temperature 24.1.3 °C Image Date 11/19/2009 Sp3 Temperature 26.1 APPENDIX Additional field measurement data Eastern Elevation Image Time 9:28:55 AM Sp1 Temperature 24. Temperature 43.1 °C Image Min. Temperature -13.1.4 °C Figure 41 – Thermal imaging data summary (east elevation) 8.2 Northern elevation Image Time 9:46:27 AM Sp1 Temperature 26.4 °C Image Max.2 °C Image Min.9 °C Image Max.4 °C Image Min.4 °C Sp2 Temperature 28.

7 °C Image Min.1 °C Image Date 11/19/2009 Sp3 Temperature 23. Temperature 32. Temperature -2.8 °C Image Max.9 °C Figure 45 – Thermal imaging data summary (north elevation podium) Peter St.5 North elevation podium Image Time 10:09:30 AM Sp1 Temperature 25.8.9 °C Sp2 Temperature 28.1. Clair 57 24/02/2010 .

arch. L. A. Natural ventilation of tall buildings – options and limitations. Tall Buildings: Sixth international Conference on Tall buildings. Wind Towers – Detail in Building. Diamond.9 REFERENCES American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) 2004. R. Climate Consultant Version 4.gov/homepages/Rick_Diamond/LBNL43642roomvent_98. Available: http://www. The Skyscraper and the City. M. B. Blocken. Available: http://www. S. Cambridge. CTUBH 8th World Congress 2008 [online].pdf Ellis.pdf Haase. Emmanuel.W. American Society of Civil Engineers. Taylor & Francis. Ford. M. Climate Considerations in Building and Urban Design.0.R 2005.pdf Feustel.pdf Geiger.ctbuh.edu/courses/2007/fall/5605_392/students/Driskill/Climate%20C onstraints%20on%20High%20Rise%20web.J. J. Design Technology and Innovation. An Urban Approach to Climate Sensitive Design. Edwin Mellen Press. B.A.pdf (26 August 2009).. Climatological constraints on high rises. P. Book 1. Battle McCarthy Consulting Engineers 1999.. World Scientific. Available: http://epb. Strategies for the Tropics.G. Carmeliet. Gifford.. Chichester. R.uvic. D. P.energy-designtools. [online]. 2008. [online]. Aynsley.org/Portals/0/Repository/T5_EtheridgeFord. Available: http://www. 1998.L (Ed. 1973.ca/psyc/gifford/pdf/ASR%20High%20Rises%20proof. B. ‘A study of architectural design factors for tall office buildings with regional climates based on sustainability’.. Reston. Journal of Wind Engineering and Industrial Aerodynamics Cho. Available: Peter St. The Climate Near the Ground.07da35be-290f402e-bd18-709be2c1ce31. Clair 58 24/02/2010 . 2006. ‘A Review of Wind-Driven Rain Research in Building Science’.pdf (July 27 2009). Amato. USA. Simulating Tall Buildings Using Energy Plus [online]. M. 2008. Harvard University Press. Sustainable Façade Design for Zero Energy Buildings in the Tropics [online].lbl. Chapter PC-1. CTBUH 8th World Congress 2008 Available: http://www.S 2005. [online]. ASCE Publications. Guthrie.org/Portals/0/Repository/T1_Guthrie.ttu. Academy Editions. Beedle. John Wiley and Sons. H. p.E. R.ctbuh. Architectural Science Review. New York. Outdoor Human Comfort and Its Assessment.S.aud. Givoni.b6a96cc4-17e2-4c6b9ea2-97d41f025922. A.1010. 2004. Etheridge. Available: http://www.Volume 50. & Armstrong.ibpsa.1. [online]. Torcellini. ‘Natural Ventilation in Passive Design’. R. 2005. The Consequences of Living in High Rise Buildings. P.org/proceedings/BS2005/BS05_0279_286. New York. New York.C. 2008. Beedle. ‘Tall Buildings Sustainability from the bottom up’.1001 . 2007. BEDP Environment Design Guide Tec 2. Ali. http://web.M 2007. Philosophy of Tall Buildings. J. New York. Planning and Environmental Criteria.edu/ Driskill. M. ‘Air Flow Distribution in a High Rise Residential Building’.) 1978.ucla.

R. Oke. Chricton. T. Trabucco. J. Pullen. Victoria. Government Architect’s Publications. D.R. The 2005 World Sustainable Building Conference.. World Watch Paper 124. D. Oke. South Melbourne. T. B. S. Clair 59 24/02/2010 . Climate Skin: Building Skin Concepts that can do more with Less Energy.pdf+urban+canopy+height+new+york&cd=7&hl=en&ct=clnk (3rb February 2010) Hyde. 2nd Edition. & Nicol. Geneva. [online]... Liedl. Phillips. Oliver. IPCC. Australia. 2007. September 2009 pp32-36).org/Portals/0/Repository/T8_LeungWeismantle. Contribution of Working Party Group II to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Available: Hausladen. Oxon. N. 135. Monthly Weather Review. 2006. Cambridge University Press.org/EJ/article/1755Peter St. D. Roodman. T. 1991. Princeton University Press. E & FN Spon. 2008.ch/cuepe/html/plea2006/Vol1/PLEA2006_PAPER509. ‘Climate of Cities’. Roth. Boundary Layer Climates. 1978. Development of a Double Skin Façade System that Combines Airflow Windows with Solar Chimneys. 61-75 Oke. Holt. R. M. Adapting Buildings and Cities for Climate Change. 2005...and Multilayer Parameterizations’. I. Oldfield.. 2001.R 1974. Climate in Human Perspective. Oxford.theworldisyourocean. V. Greening Cities.http://www. C. Richards. 2004. Switzerland. Sydney. Application of Building Climatology to the Problems of Housing and Building for Human Settlements – Technical Note 150. ‘Urban Canopy Modelling of the New York City Metropolitan Area: A Comparison and Validation of Single. Series: Earth and Environmental Science. W. 1995. [online]. J. Climate Responsive Design – A Study of Buildings in Moderate and Hot Humid Climates. P. D. 2006.125.K. M.. Five Generations of Tall Buildings: A Historical Analysis of Energy Consumption in High Rise Buildings.net/p apers/2007mwr. Sky-sources sustainability – How Super Tall Buildings can Benefit from Height [online]. U. de Saldanha. A. G. 1976. Lowry. Birkhauser. Good. Thomas Nelson Australia.iop.pdf (28 July 2009). H. P. New York. Springer. J. Cambridge. P. 2009.. Worldwatch Institute. & Wood. Methuen. Washington D. Atmospheric Ecology for Designers and Planners. Beyer. M. 1963.pdf Lim. Olgyay. World Meteorological Association. World Meteorological Organisation. Roaf.132/search?q=cache:cPybBL9QjFoJ:www. A 21st Century survival guide. 1991. ‘Effects of cities on the local climate and the relationship with climate change mitigation and adaptation’. Available: http://www. A Building Revolution: How Ecology and Health Concerns are Transforming Construction. & Lenssen. IOP Conf. 2005. A. T. 2000. Technical Note No. Haase. Adaptation and Vulnerability. 1994.027115a3-481041ca-97d6-e6b32b449829. USA. Leung.R Hamzah & Yeang: Ecology of the Sky. Climate Change 2007. J.C. Environmental Design Criteria of Tall Buildings. Design with Climate: Bioclimatic Approach to Architectural Regionalism. Images Publishing. ‘How High Can You Go?’. ASHRAE Journal. Available: http://www. 134 – Review of Urban Climatology 1968-1973.. The Encyclopedia of World Climatology. Geneva.. Volume 6 332032. Impact. L. Amato.K.153. 2009. Page.E (Ed) 2005. 2008. The Netherlands.. Architectural Press. Available: http://74. M. Vol. Weismantle. T.M. Lehigh University.ctbuh. Berlin. [online]. Johnson.unige. New Jersey.

[online]. ‘World Climate Applications Programme Report of Rapporteur on Urban and Building Climatology. 204 Van den Dobbelsteen. Prestel Verlag.jp/~icuc7/extended_abstracts/pdf/385055-1-090515165722002. 2001.31-39 Smith. Academy Editions. Architectural Press. 2007.pdf (February 13th 2010) Wu. B.pdf Strelitz. 2000. K. RIBA Publishing.pdf (February 9th 2010). pp. Reprint 168’. & Metz. Yeang. T. R. Available: http://www.edu/research/cires/banff/pubpapers/75/ Yeang. Clair 60 24/02/2010 . Italy 2008 [online]. The Green Skyscraper – The basis for designing sustainable intensive buildings. Oxford. Urban Climate News. G J . Great Britain. S. 1999. Available: http://www. Ilozor. Paper at CIB 2007 Congress. Lin. P. World Meteorological Organisation 1988. Z. 5/6. (ed) 2005. Artemis. ‘An analysis of the embodied energy of office buildings by height’.info/post-crash/files/tallbuildings-UIApaper-010608-rovers. ‘A New Classification System for Urban Climate Sites – The Case of Nagano Japan’. S.org/IAUC034. Peter St.sustainablebuilding. The Skyscraper Bioclimatically Considered: A Design Primer. 1996. Treloar. 1984. Thijssen. Facilities. [online].colorado. 2008..ac. December 2009. ‘Ecology of the Building Geometry . Sharples.pdf (January 25th 2010). P E D. Available: http://www. Available: http://www.de/daten/iconda/CIB4781. London.1315/6/33/332032/ees9_6_332032. I. Bioclimatic Skyscrapers. V. ‘Classifying Urban Climate Field Sites by Local Climate Zones’. 2009. 1994. [online]. Torino. vol.gov. R. Architecture in a Climate of Change. T.urbanclimate. 2009. Rovers..pdf Stewart. 2008.hk/publica/reprint/r168.pdf?request-id=5640236a-6e30-4bbf-92b5e9d5fb0b38d5 (February 21st 2009). WMO.titech. ‘How Tall is a Sustainable Building ?’ Paper based on a presentation at XXIII UIA World Congress of Architects. Bradford: May/June. Stewart. Building and Environment. Munich. [online].ide. A.. Issue. ‘GIS Development and Urban Climate Modeling’.irbnet. K.19. http://www. Tall Buildings: A strategic design guide. Fay. 19. Colaleo.Environmental performance of different building shapes’. K. London. Issue 34. Oke. Available: http://www. Vol. Love. p. I. [online].weather. Yeang. ‘Full-Scale Measurements of Convective Energy Losses from Exterior Building Surfaces’.

http://www.tpub.bc.au/datasheets/Prec32.som.jpg http://skyscraperpage. http://www.com/content/aerographer/14312/css/14312_47.pdf (viewed 21st February 2010).ca/publications/en/rh-pr/tech/tech02-101-e.aeromech.hpo.org/index.ca/eng/ibp/irc/cbd/building-digest-104. http://www.7cba136a-c664-456c-a6e60eb4cca05a89.au/climate/environ/design/design_a. http://www.com/diagrams/ (viewed 21st February 2010).gov.html (viewed 21st February 2010).joelertola.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/syr/en/contents.htm (viewed 21st February 2010).emporis. http://www.html (viewed 21st February 2010).rbkc.uk/portal/planning/aq_spd/aq_spd?pointId=1224843506487 (viewed 21st February 2010).pdf (viewed 16th October 2009).pdf (viewed 16th October 2009).pdf (viewed 9th September 2009) http://www. http://www.cmhc. http://www. http://www. http://www.uk/nr/rdonlyres/de3830fe-d52d-4b10-b8b6ab8eeb001404/0/bc_rs_tallbuild_0202_fr.html (viewed 16th October 2009).net.pdf (viewed 21st February 2010). Peter St.edu. http://www.pdas.cityoflondon.Internet Sources http://www.ccsenet.net/fundamentals/7w.buildinggreen.ca/PDF/Research/Reports/SHREPsummary. http://www.org/Portals/0/Repository/T16_SwiftStead. Clair 61 24/02/2010 .com/content.ipcc.gov.ctbuh.gc.html (viewed 3rd November 2009) http://www.au/projects/012.au/aero/atmosphere/ (viewed 21st February 2010).xml (viewed 21st February 2010).bom.ca/en/inpr/bude/himu/hehi/upload/Chapter-3-Enhancing-IndoorAirQuality-IAQ.nrc-cnrc. http://journal. http://www.no/publications/other/ipcc_tar/?src=/climate/ipcc_tar/wg1/518. http://www.pdf (viewed 21st February 2010).seidler.grida.shtml (viewed 2nd October 2009).gov.physicalgeography. http://www.npcaa.htm (viewed 21st February 2010).com/application/?nav=building&lng=3&id=108161 (viewed 21st February 2010).com.php/jsd/article/viewFile/1477/1417 (viewed 21st February 2010).cfm?fileName=180501a.html (viewed 21st February 2010).usyd.cmhc. http://www.com/auth/article. http://www. http://ldf-consult.cfm/113009_pr_groundbreaking_digital_media_city_landmark_t ower (viewed 21st February 2010).com/grfx/grfx_update_feb_05/tall_buildings.com/refs/us76.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful