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MODIFICATION OF MICROCLIMATE THROUGH

LANDSCAPE ELEMENTS FOR ENERGY


CONSERVATION

INTRODUCTION:
At the present day, the phenomenon of urban heat island is increasing
highly due to the temperature rise in and around buildings. So it is
important to study the causes of temperature rise, change in wind
velocity, wind speed and other urban effects on the microclimate, so
that various measures can be taken to make the environment better and
improve human comfort outdoors through the use of various landscape
elements.

MICROCLIMATE
The
climate
immediately
surrounding home is called its
microclimate. If home is located on a
sunny southern slope, it may have a
warm microclimate, even if you live
in a cool region.
Or, even though you live in a hothumid region,
home may be
situated in comfortable microclimate
because of abundant shade and dry
breezes. Nearby bodies of water
may increase your sites humidity or
decrease its air temperature.
Moderation of the microclimate
through landscape design is one of
the three pillars on which the
concept of the natural house rests.
The natural house is a hypothetical
model that maximizes the use of
natural
materials
and
passive

MICROCLIMATE:
Microclimate is a condition of solar & terrestrial radiation, wind, airtemperature, humidity and precipitation in small outdoor open spaces.

MAJOR MICRO CLIMATE FACTORS:


1. Wind
2. Solar radiation
3. Temperature
4. Precipitation and humidity
are the influencing factors of landscape, which can be modified by
landscape elements to affect thermal comfort.
Summer time heat gain in a home can be reduced by using plants in the
landscape to
Shade the residence from direct solar radiation
Divert air movement away from the house when air-conditioning is the
sole source of cooling
Channel air movement towards the house when air-conditioning will be
used only minimally
Create cooler ambient temperatures near the home as moisture is
evaporated from plant leaves
Heating costs in winter can be reduced by selecting and properly
locating plants so that the amount of direct solar radiation received by
the home is maximized and the effects of cold winter winds are
minimized.

CONCEPTS IN MICROCLIMATE CONTROL


1.SITE ANALYSIS
The main focus of site analysis is to discover the advantages and
disadvantages of the site and how to take full advantage of the positive
aspects and counteract negative effects. There are several analyses that
can be carried out in site planning.
.Physical site analysis involves analysis of the type and depth of the soil
and substructure for foundation design.
.The infrastructural site analysis covers existing buildings, roads, paths
and all services including electricity, sewerage, water and telephone.
.The ecological site analysis deals with dominant plant and animal
communities; their self-regulation and sensibility to change; mapping of
ground
cover and
trees
to be retained.
2.THE ALMOND
TREE
EFFECT

This refers to the modification of the microclimate produced by trees,


which can be demonstrated using an almond tree as an example. The
almond tree has big broad leaves and horizontal branches. The almond
tree effect causes microclimate modification in several ways including
reduction of the radiant temperature, lowering of air temperature,
increase in air movement and modification of the vapor pressure (relative
humidity).
3. EFFECT OF GROUND COVER AND TOPOGRAPHY ON WIND SPEED
The wind speed is measured at a height of 10m in meteorological
stations. This speed is significantly reduced at body height (1m). This
decrease is more marked in wooded, suburban and urban areas as
opposed to open areas. This is a result of the obstruction caused by trees,
buildings and other elements of the topography.

OBJECTIVES OF MICROCLIMATE CONTROL THROUGH


LANDSCAPING
Landscaping can be used to control several aspects of the microclimate.
The climatic variables that can be regulated include solar radiation (solair
temperature),
air temperature,
1. SOL-AIR
TEMPERATURE
CONTROL wind speed and direction, relative
humidity
and
glare. shading provided by trees, shrubs and climbers for
The use of
ventilated
the control of radiant temperature, and reduction of air, ground and
surface temperature is a primary objective of microclimate control
through landscaping.
Ventilated shading reduces the amount of solar radiation reaching ground
and wall surfaces, thereby reducing the sol-air temperature, which is an
indication of the globe temperature. Climbers with or without trellis can
beAIR
used
to cover surfaces
exposed to the sun.
2.
TEMPERATURE
CONTROL
The air temperature control achieved through landscaping is a direct
result of reduction in solar temperatures caused by ventilated shading.
Ventilated shading is accompanied by evapotranspiration, a process
whereby plants take water from the soil and lose the water by
evaporation through the leaves. This causes cooling just like sweating
causes cooling in humans, with the latent heat of evaporation taken from
theCONTROL
surrounding
air. VELOCITY AND WIND SPEED
3.
OF AIR
Plants are used to reduce wind speed and to increase the velocity of
stagnant and slow moving air. Windbreakers in the form of rows of trees
are a very effective way of reducing wind speed and filtering dust. The
almond tree effect induces air movement under and around trees even
when there is relative calm in unplanted areas.

4. HUMIDITY CONTROL
Plants in general increase the humidity of the site. They can therefore
increase the thermal comfort during hot, dry seasons, although the plants
have to be watered. The plants take water from the soil, and when this
water evaporates from the leaves it increases the relative humidity while
lowering the air temperature. Pools and ponds behave in a similar
manner. Water evaporating from the surface increases relative humidity
while reducing air temperature.
5. CONTROL OF WIND DIRECTION
Landscaping can be used to direct wind away from the building, or
towards the building. Fences, walls, hedges and trees can be combined to
form an obstruction that will deflect the wind above the building. This can
be useful when protecting the building from the cold harmattan wind. The
more common use of trees however is to channel air flow towards living
space. While trees allow a portion of the wind to pass through them,
some wind is deflected above and below the trees. The wind forced to
flow beneath the trees increases air movement in living space. On larger
plots groups of trees can also be used to channel the wind in a particular
6.
CONTROL OF SURFACE ABSORPTIVITY AND REFLECTANCE (ALBEDO)
direction.
Landscaping can be used to control the rate at which surfaces absorb and
reflect solar radiation. The use of lawns, plants, colour and careful
selection of pavement materials can control the proportion of solar
radiation absorbed to that reflected.

7. SEASONAL SHADING
The choice of plants can be used to control the amount of shading in
different seasons. Seasonal shading usually involves full shading in hot,
wet season. In the dry, cold season trees are used to block the cold
northern wind while allowing the sun in from the south. The cold season
wind can be blocked by plant material, especially thick evergreens and
plants with heavy foliage. A good design will have planting with
deciduous trees on the South, which cool the air in the hot season and
drop their leaves to let in precious sunlight in the cold season
8. FRESH AIR AND FRAGRANCE
Plants produce oxygen and fragrances, which combined with the almond
tree effect, create the refreshing atmosphere of gardens. While the
freshness of the air and fragrance may not be measurable by climatic
variables, the improvement in the microclimate is unquestionable.
9.POLLUTION CONTROL
Plants are very effective in controlling levels of pollution. They absorb
dangerous gases like carbon dioxide that are associated with the urban
heat island. They also reduce the levels of other pollutants, especially
from automobiles. Buffer zones planted with trees are used for separating
industrial areas from residential areas. The tree belts in Northern Nigeria
help reduce the dust content of the harmattan winds.
10. GLARE CONTROL
Direct glare can be prevented by using trees to block off the relevant
portions of the sky while indirect glare can be prevented by planting
flowers, shrubs and grass on surfaces that would normally reflect light
into the building.

VEGETATION INFLUENCING THE MICROCLIMATE


Vegetation absorb 90% of light falling on it

Large and small trees check undesirable winds


Coniferous plants are used to control wind speed
Trees channelize wind so increase ventilation in some areas
Vegetation , esp. needle leaves, to capture fog thus increasing
sunlight reaching the ground
Deciduous and well as evergreen trees to screen sunlight during
the summer to reduce the required heating load

METHODS:

METHODS:

METHODS:

Large and small trees and


shrubs may be used to
screen
out
undesirable
winds;
Conifers should be used to
control winter winds.
Trees may be used to
channel winds, to increase
ventilation in specific areas.

SHADING
Solar heat passing through windows and being absorbed through the
roof is the major reason for air-conditioner use. Shading is the most costeffective way to reduce solar heat gain and cut air conditioning costs.
Using shade effectively requires you to know the size, shape, and
location of the moving shadow that your shading device casts.
Remember that homes in cool regions may never overheat and may not
WIND
requirePROTECTION
shading.
Properly selected and placed landscaping can provide excellent wind
protection,
which will reduce heating costs considerably.
Furthermore, these
benefits will increase as the trees and shrubs mature.
The best
windbreaks block wind close to the ground by using trees and shrubs
that have low crowns.

LANDSCAPE ELEMENTS FOR MICROCLIMATE CONTROL


The objectives enumerated above can be achieved by using landscaping
techniques and
elements. Landscaping elements can be grouped into hard landscaping
elements and soft landscaping elements. Soft landscaping elements refer
to vegetation while the hard landscaping elements are all other elements
including simple structures, steps, paving, garden
1.HARD
ELEMENTS
furniture,LANDSCAPING
walls and fences.
Steps and paving
The choice of the surface finishing, material and construction of steps and
paving can play a significant role in the reduction of ground temperature.
The use of asphalt in parking lots without any form of shade is a primary
source of discomfort.
Walls and fences
Walls are used to deflect the wind, and they can be used to channel the
wind. Walls are usually solid, while fences are made from stakes, rails,
wire, netting, et cetera. Fences thus allow some wind to flow through
them, even when they have climbers.
Slopes and barriers
The use of slopes and barriers to direct airflow can be very effective on
sites with significant variations in the topography.
Stones and boulders
Stones and boulders can be arranged to direct airflow and to provide

2. SOFT LANDSCAPING ELEMENTS


Trees and shrubs
Trees and shrubs are the most significant in the provision of shade and the
control of relative humidity and air movement. They contribute more to
the attainment of thermal comfort than any other element. Ventilation is
affected by plant materials. Air crossing hard reflective or absorptive
surfaces like parking lots and sidewalks is warmed, but air passing
through trees and plants will be cooled.
Lawns
Lawns and flowerbeds are used to reduce ground temperature and to
prevent glare. Vegetation generally improves air freshness and fragrance.
Pools and ponds
These water bodies are used for humidification and evaporative cooling.
Mulches
Mulch is a protective covering over the roots of trees and bushes to retain
moisture and kill
weeds. Mulches include straw, fallen leaves or plastic sheeting. Others are
gravel, wood chipping, rotting leaves and grass. Mulches can be used to
reduce surface and air temperatures by reducing the heat absorbed by
the ground.
Trellis and climbers
A trellis is a light framework of crossing strips of wood, plastic, et cetera

3.OUTDOOR LIVING SPACE


Outdoor living spaces occupy that region between the house and the
garden. These are conditioned outdoor spaces. They are partly garden,
partly house. They are partially protected from the elements, yet open to
nature. They include courtyards (courts), patios, corridors, terraces,
balconies, loggias and porches (verandas). Outdoor living space can be
considered a part of the landscape and its design can significantly impact
on the indoor comfort conditions.
4.USE OF COLOUR EXTERNALLY
The amount of solar radiation
absorbed by a surface is referred
to as the absorptivity and is
dependent on the colour of the
surface. The absorptivity of
colour is shown in Table x.
Boundary walls and screen walls
should be in dark colours,
browns, greens and blues so as
not to reflect heat and glare.
Hard landscaping (paving) should
preferably be in dark colours, or
if light, should have a broken
surface to avoid reflecting heat

VEGETATION CONTROLLING WIND MOVEMENT

The most noticeable effect of forest is on the movement of wind


Wind may be reduced within the forest by 50-70- % or more , as
compared to open spaces
The reduction is greatest near the ground and noticeable in all
velocities
In case of velocities below 8 km/hr in open , the condition in the forest
may be almost calm

VEGETATION CONTROLLING WIND MOVEMENT


AS WIND BREAKERS/shelterbelts:

The ability of plant material's to block or channel the wind effectively is


well known. The protected zone is a function of the height,
penetrability, profile, and density of the materials used to create the
windbreak.

A solid barrier creates a relatively great difference in air-pressure


between the windward and the leeward sides, which in turn reduces
the size of the protected zone on the leeward side.

A windbreak of completely uniform height is not highly efficient in


reducing wind velocities; additional speed reduction can be
accomplished through increased friction and small air pockets if the
height along the top of the windbreaks vary slightly.

AS WIND BREAKERS/shelterbelts:

VEGETATION CONTROLLING WIND


MOVEMENT

The actual reduction in velocity is determined by the profile of the wind


break and by its density. The more penetrable the wind break is ,the
longer distance of the protection zone will extent on to the leeward
side, and the lower the actual reduction in velocity will be.

The structure should not be placed too close to the windbreak because
there is dead air pocket where little air-movement may occur, just to
the leeward side of the break; neither they should be situated too far
distant, where the velocity reduction is no longer significant.

VEGETATION CONTROLLING WIND


MOVEMENT

VEGETATION CONTROLLING SOLAR


RADIATION
Trees and forests are best devices which control the solar radiation The
provide control mainly in 4 ways :
Absorption
Reflection
Radiation
Transmission
Trees absorb all solar radition throughout the day. In the absence of wind
and with restricted convection, leaf temperature may be much as 13deg
higher than air temp.
Trees and forests play an important role in controlling excess or
unwanted solar radiation.

VEGETATION CONTROLLING SOLAR


RADIATION

Vegetation controls the suns effect by filtration of the direct solar


radiation, by control of the ground surface and hence the amount of heat
radiated from these various surfaces, either daily or seasonally through
the

alteration of the ground temperature,


through the control of reflected radiation, and
through total or major obstruction of the solar radiation itself.

Deciduous trees will screen out direct sunlight during the summer, to
reduce required cooling loads, but allow it to pass through in the winters,
reducing required heating loads.

VEGETATION AFFECTING TO TEMPERATURE


Trees and forests are among the best exterior solar radiation control
devices. As plant materials grow, they also control temperature
variations, both during the day and at night.
A forest canopy may reduce the solar radiation to less than 1 percent to 4
percent of that in the open leads logically to the expectation that,
because the sun is the source of the heat, the day time temperature
where part of the suns radiant energy is intercepted by the trees will be
lower than those in the open.
SHADE and ABSORPTION of the radiant that strikes a plant, very little will
penetrate it, whether the radiation is direct or reflected. The shaded side
has cooler temperature than the radiated side.

VEGETATION AFFECTING HUMIDITY AND


PRECIPITATION

PRECIPITATION in different forms is controlled to various degrees by


vegetation. Plant materials control the impact of rain, of sleet and hail,
the position and amount of snow deposition etc.

Planting
will
reduce
accumulation of snow on
the ground.

Vegetation,
especially
needle-leaved trees may
be used to capture fog,
and
thus
increase
sunlight
reaching
the
ground or the collector
unit.

Evergreens capture and


hold
more
moisture
(particularly in the form
of frost or fog) than
deciduous trees because
of their pointed needles
and because of the sharp
angles at which the
needles join the twigs. 6

DESIGN CONSIDERATIONS
TEMPORATE REGIONS
Maximize warming effects of the sun in the winter.
Maximize shade during the summer by using canopy trees
Deflect winter winds away from buildings
Funnel summer breezes toward the building
COOL

REGIONS.
Use dense trees to protect the building from cold winter winds
Allow the winter sun to reach south facing windows
Shade south &west windows and walls from the direct summer
sun if summer overheating are the problem.

HOT-HUMID
Channel summer breezes toward the building.
Maximize summer shade with trees that still allow penetration of
low angle winter sun.
Avoid locating planting beds close to the building if they require
frequent watering.
HOT-ARID
Provide shade to cool roofs walls and windows.
Cool the air around the building by plant evapotranspiration.
Allow summer winds to access naturally cooled buildings

WATER AFFECTING MICROCLIMATE


WATER effecting WIND
The wind moving across the surface of a major body of water inland
during the day and in the opposite direction at night. When the air
temperature is very high, even the slightest breeze across water will
produce evaporative cooling and make the weather more bearable.

WATER AFFECTING MICROCLIMATE


WATER affecting SOLAR-RADIATION
The mass of water acts as a heat reservoir, warming up gradually during
the spring and remaining at a reasonably constant temperature
throughout the warm seasons. Except when the sun is low in the sky, the
albedo of water is very low, causing little reflection to surrounding
surfaces. The surface temperature of an ocean may vary no more than 18
degrees during the year .

WATER AFFECTING MICROCLIMATE


Breezes flow from the water body onto the shore during the day and off
the land area onto the water body at night.

Water in the form of clouds has an impact on climate as does


liquid moisture.
Radiation which has been absorbed by the earth quickly and
readily escapes back into the atmosphere on a clear night. On an
overcast night the cloud cover inhibits this radiation loss and thus
the temperatures are generally higher on an overcast night than
they are on a clear night.
Therefore water, ranging in form from an ocean to the water
particle in a cloud, is able to moderate or effect extremes of
climate and to assist in energy conservation. The ocean can
seldom, if ever, be modified, but its effects on microclimate can be
accepted and utilized in landscape planning.

MATERIALS MODULATING MICROCLIMATE

the increased use of


green areas,
the use of appropriate
materials, in particular of
white and colored high
reflective coatings,
use of cool sinks for heat
dissipation,
appropriate
layout
of
urban canopies involving
the use of solar control,
techniques to enhance
air flow, etc

To decrease the solar gains


the ideal coatings should
be:
high reflective
high
coefficient
of
emittance in long wave
radiation

ALBEDO OF MATERIALS

Higher albedo saves cooling


energy use by directly reducing
the heat gain through a
building's
envelope
(direct
effect) and also by lowering the
urban air temperature in the
neighborhood of the building
(indirect effect).

Generally,
lighter
coloured
surfaces have a greater albedo
effect. Hence changing from
dark asphalt to light coloured
concrete can greatly increase
the
reflection
of
incoming
The selection of materials that comprise
a
concrete
mixture
can
radiation and result greatly
in a
affect the reflectance of the finished concrete
surface.
reduction in global warming.
Although concrete surfaces are already more reflective than asphalt
surfaces, they can be made even more reflective with the use of white
cement and lighter coarse and fine aggregates.

PROBLEMS OF MICROCLIMATE CONTROL THROUGH


LANDSCAPING
The control of the microclimate through landscaping is not a new idea; it
has been part of centuries old building practices especially in rural areas.
The real challenge is to integrate this practice with modern building
technologies, especially in urban areas. There are several factors
1.OVERGROWTH
OF the
TREEsuccessful
ROOTS
militating against
and effective propagation of this
Probably
practice. the greatest problem of growing trees close to houses is the
destruction caused to the building by the roots of the trees. When trees
are too close to the building, the roots will eventually reach the building
causing foundations, floors and walls to crack. Trees grown close to
buildings should be carefully selected and replaced after a certain age.
2.EXCESSIVE SHADING
The rainy season is the period when the highest relative humidity is
experienced. This coincides with the period when trees grow most
profusely and provide more shade. Some walls of a building may therefore
be subjected to high humidity and low temperatures as a result of the
shade, leading to condensation. This can lead to the growth of mounds,
moss and lichen.
3.NEED FOR MAINTENANCE
Hard landscaping is rarely sufficient for control of the microclimate
trees, shrubs and lawns are usually required. The resultant garden will
require tending and thus labour. Water has to be supplied and essential
inputs such as manure, fertilizers and pesticides cost money. The garden

4.LEAVES ON ROOFS
Trees growing close to a house shed leaves on the roof of the house and
these leaves should be cleared regularly. Apart from the increased
maintenance cost, roofs tend to get damaged in the process of clearing
the debris. Leaving the leaves for a long period will cause plants to start
growing in the debris, with the roots of such plants attacking the roofing
sheets.
5.LIMITED PLOT SIZE
The size of plots in urban areas is so small that there is usually very little
space between the building and the boundary wall. The use of large trees
to provide adequate shade therefore becomes difficult, since the space is
usually insufficient for the root system to develop without affecting the
foundation of the building. Careful selection of tree species can reduce
the space required for development of the root system.
6.INCREASED BUILDING HEIGHT
The use of trees for shading buildings is most effective for bungalows or
two-storey buildings. Many apartment blocks in cities are four-storey
buildings, and the effect of landscaping can usually only be felt on the
ground and first floors. On the other hand higher floors have better
ventilation because they are unaffected by ground obstructions, assuming
that there are no adjacent tall buildings.
7.SNAKES AND VERMIN
Snakes and vermin can easily gain access to a house by climbing trees,
shrubs and climbers adjacent to the house. This problem is greater in

SIMILARITIES BETWEEN PLANT STRATEGES AND BUILDING


DESIGN STRATEGES TO MODIFY CLIMATIC EFFECTS.