SunShade to solve your sunlight problems

     Too much or too little sunlight?

SunShade can help you - anywhere in the world, any day in the year, any hour of the day.

Overview

Higher density urban living has brought with it two problems - privacy and access to sunlight. We are at the mercy of local government, councils and municipal bodies, who, in their wisdom approve construction projects. Where will a high-rise building cast its long shadow?. When our neighbours decide to extend their home we need to know the consequences for our privacy, sunlight and view. All parties require accurate information if a fair outcome is to be achieved. If we are considering buying an existing property in an established urban environment we can assess privacy and view by inspection, but sunlight throughout the year is more difficult to assess. With SunShade we can produce a picture of the sun's path across the sky, in perspective, with the outline of a building which may obstruct its rays, for any day of the year anywhere in the world. If we live in the tropics, or other hot areas, we may want to provide more shade, but need to be able to assess what structural alterations are required to achieve it. Good solar design is of increasing importance in an  environment-conscious world.

To set up solar hot water or electricity panels we need to know sun angles as well as the effects of obstructions. Fishermen need to know sunrise and sunset times. SunShade can provide accurate information for all these problems.

When you run SunShade you are presented with a table containing rows and columns. Those familiar with databases will recognise it as such (Paradox). Depending on what you want, some of these cells need to be filled in. Clicking on the right mouse button will bring up a help menu that explains which cells need to be filled in and what sort of information is required. You can save these data to a file. You then have three choices - calculate sun angles for a specific day and time; produce a picture on your screen of the sun's path across the sky for a particular day, emerging from, or passing behind an obstruction; or, for a specific time, display a shadow diagram on your screen. You can print out these pictures, together with the data on which they are based. Note that with SunShade version 2 and later, if you have plan and elevation drawings of a structure, you can input the structure's vital statistics just by scanning it in and clicking on the corners with a mouse. You can include the view through your own window frame. Version 3 carries this concept further, by moving the observer, again by clicking with the mouse on the plan and elevation views.

All versions provide extensive Help, both in the detail of entering data and step-by-step tutorials. Tutorial 1 is a step-by-step guide to producing pictures of the sun's movement being obscured by a simple structure, with data entered manually, and includes the display of a shadow diagram; while in version 2, Tutorial 2 provides more complex real life examples with data entry by clicking a mouse on scanned drawings. The tutorials are supported by examples already entered in the database.

SunShade is written in Delphi (Object Pascal) so it runs fast on any PC.

An example of the use of SunShade 1:

This wall


in Sydney, Australia on 21 June (mid winter), looks like this to the observer on his deck:



 

note that on that day, the sun emerges from behind the wall at about 8:57AM. The top of the wall appears to slope down because this is a true perspective view of the sun and the wall. Now we can ask SunShade to picture the shadow cast by the wall on to the observer's deck at that time.


 

As you would expect, the shadow of the rectangular wall is a parallelogram, in plan, whose dimensions are clearly marked on the corners. (Not so clear in this compressed web copy). SunShade works with much more complex structures with shadows cast by objects in different planes.

You can download a copy of version 3 as SunShade_3.exe - a self-extracting file of about 3 Megabytes. I would appreciate your comments by email to AlexanderGBiggs@iinet.net.au. If you are going to be a regular user email me to arrange payment, which will ensure any updates.