Shade Planning + Design
Planning + design checklist
Selecting your shade system
Combining natural + built
Climate and comfort
Climate-sensitive shade design
Shade for specific sites
Parks and reserves
Understanding the climate of a location is necessary to ensure that shade is both comfortable and effective in providing protection from UV radiation. If a structure designed for shade does not address human comfort, it will not provide effective shade, as it will not be used.
Once the components of human comfort are understood, they can be compensated for or taken advantage of when designing a shade structure. There are four specific and measurable climatic factors that influence human thermal comfort:
Climate-sensitive shade is both effective in protecting against UV radiation and comfortable to use throughout the year. ShadeCalendar lets you know when protection from UV radiation is required and when people are likely to want warmth in outdoor settings.
- Air temperature. If the air temperature is high, perspiration on the skin evaporates and cools the skin. If it is too hot, our cooling perspiration system cannot keep up and we overheat.
- Breeze. Breeze assists the evaporation of moisture on our skin and cools us, which is what we want to happen when it is hot. In cold weather, this cooling process works too well and we feel cold.
- Humidity. High humidity prevents the body’s cooling evaporation process, because there is too much moisture in the air to accept more from our skin. Preventing the evaporation of perspiration makes it difficult to stay cool.
- Direct sunlight. Direct sun (also called radiation) can increase the perceived temperature by as much as 20°C. Even if the temperature is only 18°C, if the sunlight is direct it might feel like 38°C. Indirect radiation is also important – surfaces exposed to direct sunlight absorb heat and increase the temperature by re-radiating heat.