Micro-Climate Made Easy
A climate that directly surrounds your home is your home’s microclimate. Microclimate is important to understand when installing a landscape as it impacts energy efficiency and what plant materials can be used. It’s different then regional climate because it can vary from home to home or even from the front yard to back yard of same property. Each property receives more sun, shade, wind, snow, rain, moisture then their neighboring homes. The slope of the property is also a very microclimate element to consider. Properties located near a body of water may decrease air temperature or increase the humidity.
Climate is the average of the atmospheric conditions over an extended period of time over a large region. Small scale patterns of climate resulting from the influence of topography, urban forms, water bodies, vegetation, etc. are known as Microclimates. Microclimate refers to the climate of a site or location. It implies to any local deviation from the Climate of a large region or zone.
The microclimate scale may be at the level of a settlement (urban or rural), neighborhood, cluster, street or buffer space in between buildings or within the building itself. The building designer must take advantage of the favorable microclimate characteristics and mitigate the adverse climatic features. Also it is important to remember that the site layout of a building or a group of buildings alter the microclimate of the site significantly.
Deficiencies in urban design and building regulations have adverse consequences on the urban climate and environmental efficiency of buildings. Increasing number of buildings in urban areas and industrialization have deteriorating effect on the urban microclimate. Due to expansive growth microclimatic considerations of topography and ground character are often neglected.
As a consequence of heat balance, air temperatures in densely built urban are higher than the temperatures of the surrounding rural country. The phenomenon is known as “heat island” is discussed in detail in the following section. In this aspect, the more sustainable and easy to use renewable energy source in the urban environment is the use of vegetation and water bodies. Vegetation and water bodies for cooling purposes can be considered as a renewable heat sink, in a similar way that the sun is a renewable heat source for heating purposes.