Radiation Map

ClimateStudio supports the calculation of annual and monthly solar radiation falling on select surfaces in the scene. (For hourly timesteps, see the Grasshopper Workflows.) The simulation uses sun and sky radiances derived from weather-file data, which represent historically typical meteorological conditions. The purpose of a solar radiation calculation varies from identifying suitable positions for placing solar cells to designing a static shading system. These simulations complement Direct Shading studies.

Simulation Setup


To prepare a model for simulation, work your way through the three subpanels labeled 1-3 in the figure above.

Once all required inputs have been populated, a simulation is invoked by pressing the start button (4). ClimateStudio uses a progressive path-tracing version of the Radiance raytracer to simulate irradiance distributions. While a simulation is in progress, traced light paths accumulate until the user-specified number of passes has been reached. Details on the simulation settings can be found by opening the settings dialog (5). For radiation maps, the dialog includes low/high outdoor temperature thresholds, which can be used to bin radiation occurring during hot or cold hours throughout the year.

Simulation Results

Upon completion of the first simulation pass, or upon loading a saved result, a falsecolor preview will appear in the Rhino viewport, showing cumulative radiation values for the selected analysis surfaces:


The results panel will show a monthly data plot, table, and viewport legend, as follows:

  • The Header includes the result name, a CSV export (7), and an information dialog (6), which provides an accounting of simulation inputs.

  • The Filters allow binning radiation by type or temperature. The Radiation Type Filter (8) lets you toggle between total, direct, or indirect solar exposure. Direct radiation is that coming directly from the sun, without scattering or reflection. The Temperature Filter (9) lets you isolate hours where the outdoor temperature is above or below the high and low temperature thresholds set prior to the run. The filters determine the data displayed in both the viewport and the monthly graph.

  • The Monthly Graph shows mean cumulative exposure data for each month of the year. By default these are area-weighted averages for all analysis surfaces, but a subset of surfaces can be isolated using the Surface Table. Data for an individual sensor can be displayed by hovering over the sensor in the viewport. The graph can be exported to PNG using the dropdown menu (10).

  • The Surface Table lists the mean total and normalized solar exposure, as well as min and max sensor values, for each analysis surface. Selecting surfaces by filtration (11) or row selection isolates their preview in the monthly graph and the Rhino viewport, and updates the statistics in the “Totals” row at the bottom of the table.

  • The Viewport Settings bar contains a viewport preview legend and settings menu (12), which provides options for customizing the falsecolor display.