advertisement
advertisement

PAID CONTENT

IN PARTNERSHIP WITH
IN PARTNERSHIP WITH

This open-source tool helps architects design climate-friendly homes

ClimateScout—a winners of Fast Company’s 2022 World Changing Ideas Awards—let’s architects pick a location around the world and see what environmentally-friendly building features work best in that climate.

This open-source tool helps architects design climate-friendly homes
[Images: courtesy CallisonRTKL]

The first step in designing a net-zero energy building is understanding the local climate: A building in Maine uses different strategies than one in Arizona. An open-source tool called ClimateScout is made to help architects quickly identify potential features to include in a design, from green roofs to thermal storage walls designed to capture heat from sunlight.

advertisement

“What we’ve really tried to push is the importance of doing an appropriate climate analysis, which is now even more important than before,” says Pablo La Roche, an associate vice president at the global architecture, planning, and design firm CallisonRTKL who helped lead the creation of the free tool. “How we respond to [local] climate has a direct connection with the emissions from the building’s operation.” The tool is the winners of the Large Business (1,000+ employees) category of Fast Company’s 2022 World Changing Ideas Awards.

[Image: courtesy CallisonRTKL]
The website maps out the world’s climate zones using a classification system called Köppen-Geiger, which breaks down regions into five classes and 30 sub-types. Then it connects each zone with building-scale strategies from 2030 Palette, another free tool that lists sustainable design strategies, and see examples of other projects that have used each strategy. An architect can pick a location, see a suite of strategies, and then begin to overlay them on a simple rendering of the project to see how they might work together.

[Image: courtesy CallisonRTKL]
While architects can look up this information separately elsewhere, the visual tool makes it simpler. “What we’ve done is really looking at the next step, which is really to connect the strategies with the location and the climate, and then have the user interactively select the strategies,” La Roche says. In the next iteration of the tool, users will be able to get estimates of how a particular set of features will impact the comfort of a space, and stats like how many hours of daylight the building will get. The team also plans to incorporate a world carbon intensity map so architects can get a rough estimate of potential carbon savings from incorporating a suite of strategies.

advertisement

The team is also working to translate the free tool into Chinese and Spanish. “We want it to be available to even more people,” says La Roche.

advertisement
advertisement
advertisement

About the author

Adele Peters is a staff writer at Fast Company who focuses on solutions to some of the world's largest problems, from climate change to homelessness. Previously, she worked with GOOD, BioLite, and the Sustainable Products and Solutions program at UC Berkeley

More