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Microclimate & Passive Design

Microclimate and passive design is about optimising the design of buildings, towns or cities to reduce their reliance on energy intensive systems and creating buildings and communities that are climate responsive, attractive, comfortable and safe for their inhabitants.


We pay careful attention to adapting the design to the local climate. We utilise natural assets such as sunlight and windflow and integrate climate control solutions into the landscape, the building fabric, the public realm and open spaces. This moderates the microclimate of the site by inhibiting or encouraging wind flow, providing shadowing, promoting solar exposure and enhancing access to natural light.


Passive design systems are also used to reduce energy demand, and as a consequence represent an integral part of an energy strategy. Passive design includes measures such as site zoning and massing, building orientation, spacing, height, and building form; these lead to opportunities for passive solar heating or cooling, natural ventilation and daylight.


We also provide specific microclimate support to help achieve planning permission. A single new building can dramatically alter the micro-climate of a site, particularly where large numbers of buildings and landscape features are involved. Through assessments and predictive modelling we can determine the impact of new developments and mitigate any negative impacts.


Our areas of expertise in Microclimate and Passive Design that support our clients include:

  • Daylight analysis
  • Sunlight analysis
  • Overshadowing
  • Wind modelling
  • Thermal performance modelling
  • Masterplanning Support
  • Environmental Impact Assessment


The benefits of our expertise in this area include:

  •  Anticipating compliance issues
  • Minimising planning risks
  • Creating cost savings through passive design
  • Reducing energy demand
  • Reducing the overall carbon footprint of the development
  • Creating climate responsive buildings that stand the test of time


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Adapt to climate change

Adapt to climate change

Focus on buildings that are air-tight and assess orientation, use of solar gain and daylight to improve energy efficiency and user performance.  Passive design is especially important in temperate climates to minimise the use of air-conditioning.

Malmo Office

Malmo Office

Energy efficiency was our primary objective for our new office in Malmo. Find out how our research into glazed buildings influenced the design and dramatically increased air-tightness.

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Malmo Office