Passive Design

Passive design refers to a holistic design approach where free renewable resources such as solar, wind and external weather patterns / conditions are considered and harnessed to improve energy efficiency and Indoor Environment Quality (IEQ).

Analysis of factors such as the site location, site surroundings and localised weather patterns (microclimates) can be used to shape building form and orientation to optimise passive design measures such as, solar shading, natural daylighting, passive solar heating, glare control, building material selections, natural ventilation and night ventilation (cooling).

Generally the earlier passive design measures are considered and integrated into a project the greater the benefit and lower the cost.  SEEC work collaboratively with design teams to develop and incorporate innovative, robust and quantified passive design measures and our early input will ensure these are integrated in a cost effective manner.

Site Analysis
Site analysis is the fundamental starting point for the integration of effective, cohesive and site appropriate passive design measures.  The analysis of local weather patterns and microclimates including; wind speeds, daily / seasonal temperature profiles, diurnal temperature ranges, rain fall, sun hours and solar radiation should influence the selection of appropriate passive design measures. 

Building Form / Layout
The site analysis provides key information to optimise and harvest the renewable local resources through building form / shape, orientation and space layouts. 

Solar Analysis – Shading, Overshadowing, Passive Solar Heating
SEEC staff are experts in solar design and analysis using advanced computer modelling to quantify the performance of shading design options;


  • Modelling and design of effective external shading devices
  • Modelling of site overshadowing and site shadowing on surrounding buildings / sites.
  • Modelling of passive heating and energy savings – including façade solar exposure (insolation levels)

Natural Daylighting & Glare Analysis

Using integrated industry leading software we can model and predict natural daylight levels within your building.  We can assess the impact of factors such as shading devices, neighbouring building, floor to ceiling heights, skylights, central atriums and surface reflectances have on daylight levels.

We provide glare source modelling and ensure our solutions improve occupant visual comfort through reducing large variances in daylight levels.  
Through our daylight modelling we can also provide the payback periods for the installation of artificial dimmable lighting control systems providing feedback on cost effective light zoning.

Material Selections – Glazing / Facades, Thermal Mass, Insulation
We provide modelling and analysis to ensure informed decisions are made regarding building material selections addressing elements such as, insulation levels, thermal mass, façade and glazing performance. 

Façade Optimisation & Glazing Performance Specifications
We assess façade impacts on thermal comfort, daylight levels and energy efficiency of heating and cooling systems to provide solar and visual glazing performance characteristics.

Thermal Mass & Night Ventilation Strategies
We provide modelling to demonstrate the effects of thermal mass on both thermal comfort levels and the energy efficiency of cooling and heating systems.  We provide suitable night ventilation rates and areas of secure ventilation openings for naturally ventilated systems.

Insulation Levels
We optimise thermal insulation levels and thermal bridging to ensure cost effective and energy efficient performance characteristics are specified. 

Natural Ventilation
To successfully deliver a robust natural ventilation strategy the passive design measures must perform cohesively to ensure the desired internal thermal comfort levels are achieved.  The integrated passive design measures such as external shading, glass selections, insulation levels, thermal mass and night ventilation rates all impact on internal air and radiant temperatures and should be designed to complement each other over both daily and seasonal cycles. 

We are leaders in the field of Natural Ventilation Design, delivering healthy comfortable and productive built indoor environments.  O
ur expertise in Passive Design and our experience in combining such measures into working natural ventilation strategies ensure we add critical knowledge and value to any natural ventilation project.  

If you would like to discuss your passive design requirements - shading, daylighting, glare, glazing performance, facades, material selections or natural ventilation please give us a call.