Building design with Solar Envelope

Hi everybody!

I have to design an entire neighborhood, that must addresses the principles of outdoor and indoor comfort and also of sustainability.

So I need to maximize the sun exposure on the ground, reducing as much as possible the shadow casting, but at the same time I need to maximize the building’s sun exposure on the sides facing the South, in order to provide a good radiance for the needs of photovoltaic panels.

I know, maybe it’s a paradox the idea of combining this two principles together (they sound like opposites)… But I’d like to know if there is a way to balance a good exposure on the ground with a good exposure on the roofs.

the purple guys are the shapes obtained with Ladybug_SolarEnvelope. The South is on the left, where the sides of those shapes are almost vertical.

Ideas? Suggestion?
Any help is greatly appreciated.


Hi Leonardo.
Your problem looks like an opportunity for Galapagos or octopus. I’ve being using Galapagos to maximize frit patterns on windows with honeybee glare tools. My guess is if you get the area if the ground which is sunlit and some way to control the building shape. Just ask Galapagos to maximize the sunlit area while it changes the building shapes.
Good luck

Hi Claudio, thanks for your reply.

I’ve never used nor Galapagos nor Octopus… could you point at me some gh definition/tutorial/what else which can help me?

Leonardo- Here is an example that might be helpful to get you started:…

One the other hand you may want to separate your PV surfaces from building surfaces, otherwise you probably don’t want to use solar envelope. I saw that you are discussing this on another discussion so I leave the reasons to that discussion.


Hi Mostapha, I’ve started this discussion before the other, but maybe, since we talk about the same thing, you could delete this, to keep things clear.
Meanwhile, thank you for the link, I had found it a couple of days ago on your profile’s page and (maybe, i’m not sure) it seems the right solution for me.

Hi Leonardo,

did you have any luck with your research?

I am facing the same “concept” and i would like to know which is the best way to go…

thanks Jaco

Hi Leonardo

I am analyzing the solar performance of existing housing stock. I would like to know how you have developed the solar envelopes for the individual units? Is there any tutorial or guide that could come to my aid.