Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond by Brad Lancaster

Sun- & Shade-Harvesting Videos

Innovations in Solar and Water

In May 2015, Brad was once of many creative visionaries who presented at the Coneybeare Cleantech Leaders’ Conference in Irvine, California. Midway through his slide presentation, Brad engaged the attendees in some kinesthetic learning about working with the Earth’s seasons via the Sun-Path Dance.


Winter-Solstice Solar Arc for Free Harvest of Sun & Heating

See how this ideal orientation of home and landscape to the sun—plus appropriately sized equator-facing roof overhang—maximizes the on-site potential to freely/passively harvest warming sun and light in winter, generate rooftop-solar power year round, and harvest cooling shade in summer.

Compare this Winter video to the “Summer-Solstice Solar Arc for Free Harvest of Shade & Cooling” video (directly below) to see how this orientation of home and landscape works for all seasons.

Note 1: Spacing from east wall to east trees is 10′ (3 m). West wall to west trees is 10′ (3 m). North arc of trees ranges from 13′ (4 m) to 20′ (6 m) from the north wall.

Note 2: This video is for 32º N latitude. For sun and shadow paths and angles for other latitudes, plus additional strategies for the free/passive harvest of sun and shadow see the book Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond, Volume 1, 2nd Edition.


Summer-Solstice Solar Arc for Free Harvest of Shade & Cooling

See how this ideal orientation of home and landscape to the sun—plus appropriately sized equator-facing roof overhang—maximizes the on-site potential to freely/passively harvest cooling shade in summer, generate rooftop-solar power year round, and maintain ideal solar access in winter.

Compare this Summer video to the “Winter-Solstice Solar Arc for Free Harvest of Sun & Heating” video (directly above) to see how this orientation of home and landscape works for all seasons.

Note 1: Spacing from east wall to east trees is 10′ (3 m). West wall to west trees is 10′ (3 m). North arc of trees ranges from 13′ (4 m) to 20′ (6 m) from the north wall.

Note 2: This video is for 32º N latitude. For sun and shadow paths and angles for other latitudes, plus additional strategies for the free/passive harvest of sun and shadow, see the book Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond, Volume 1, 2nd Edition.


Winter Solstice Sun & Shade Trap

See how this layout of trees and cisterns on the west and house on the north of the garden create a Sun Trap welcoming the morning sun on the garden (and front porch), while a Shade Trap is created in the afternoon when the cisterns and trees shade and cool the garden (and front porch) at the hottest time of the day. This significantly reduces the water needs of the garden, since the shaded and cooled plants and soil will lose less moisture to evapotranspiration and evaporation than they would if exposed to the more intense heat of direct sun at the hottest time of day.

Note 1: The Solar Oven is always facing the sun, thus it moves throughout the day. Watch the solar oven and shadows to see where the sun is throughout the day.

Compare this Winter video to the Summer Solstice Sun & Shade Trap video (directly below) to see how the different seasons’ sun and shadow paths vary.

If you want more morning shade consider using a Solar Arc arrangement of trees (scroll up for the Winter-Solstice Solar Arc for Free Harvest of Sun & Heating video), rather than a Sun & Shade Trap. Note how these Sun & Shade Traps and Solar Arcs are ideal for passively harvesting winter sun and summer shade where and when needed. These are great ways to grow living air conditioners and heaters that can be freely irrigated with on-site rainfall and run-off (turned into “soak-in”) captured in passive water-harvesting earthworks or rain gardens.

Note that hardy, food-bearing shade trees are often the best plants for creating a Sun & Shade Trap (or Solar Arc), as they are the best adapted to local climatic extremes. Thus they can buffer the extremes for gardens, gathering areas, buildings, or less hardy exotic fruit trees within the sheltered area they create.

If you want shade earlier or later within the trap, move the shading elements closer or farther from the trap.

Note 2: This video is for 32º N latitude. For sun and shadow paths and angles for other latitudes, plus additional strategies for the free/passive harvest of sun and shadow, see the book Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond, Volume 1, 2nd Edition.


Summer Solstice Sun & Shade Trap

See how this layout of trees and cisterns on the west of and house on the north of the garden create a Sun Trap welcoming the morning sun on the garden (and front porch), while a Shade Trap is created in the afternoon when the cisterns and trees shade and cool the garden (and front porch) at the hottest time of the day. This significantly reduces the water needs of the garden, since the shaded and cooled plants and soil will lose less moisture to evapotranspiration and evaporation than they would if exposed to the more intense heat of direct sun at the hottest time of day.

Note 1: The Solar Oven is always facing the sun, thus it moves throughout the day. Watch the solar oven and shadows to see where the sun is throughout the day.

Compare this Summer video to the Winter Solstice Sun & Shade Trap video (directly above) to see how the different seasons’ sun and shadow paths vary.

If you want more morning shade consider using a Solar Arc arrangement of trees (scroll up for the Summer-Solstice Solar Arc for Free Harvest of Sun & Heating video), rather than a Sun & Shade Trap. Note how these Sun & Shade Traps and Solar Arcs are ideal for passively harvesting winter sun and summer shade where and when needed. These are great ways to grow living air conditioners and heaters that can be freely irrigated with on-site rainfall and run-off (turned into “soak-in”) captured in passive water-harvesting earthworks or rain gardens.

Note that hardy, food-bearing shade trees are often the best plants for creating a Sun & Shade Trap (or Solar Arc), as they are the best adapted to local climatic extremes. Thus they can buffer the extremes for gardens, gathering areas, buildings, or less-hardy exotic fruit trees within the sheltered area they create.

If you want shade earlier or later within the trap, move the shading elements closer to or farther from the trap—or grow/build a taller or shorter shading element.

Note 2: This video is for 32º N latitude. For sun and shadow paths and angles for other latitudes, plus additional strategies for the free/passive harvest of sun and shadow, see the book Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond, Volume 1, 2nd Edition.


Sun- & Shade-Harvesting Awning and Roof Overhang

This video highlights how properly designed roof overhangs and window awnings can provide free shade and cooling in the hot summer months, as well as maximizing sun exposure and free light and heating in the cold winter months.

See Brad’s best-selling book, Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond, Volume 1, 2nd Edition, and the Sun & Shade Harvesting page of this website for more.


December 21 Sun and Shadow Paths and Shadow Ratios—Micro version

This video illustrates the sun’s path (and the shadows it casts) on the winter solstice—the day with the longest shadows of the year—for a site at 32° N latitude. The perspective is from ground level. See the macro version of this video (below) for a perspective from the sky.

This video also illustrates how you can use an awareness of these paths, along with winter-solstice shadow ratios for your latitude to determine the length and angle of shadows cast by various objects, allowing you to maintain winter sun access where needed for passive heating, lighting, and on-site solar power production. For example, you can use the shadow ratios for your latitude to figure out the length of shadow cast by a tree (once it reaches its mature size), so the tree can be placed where it will maintain, rather than reduce or eliminate, your ideal winter solar potential.

See the book Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond, Volume 1, 2nd Edition, by Brad Lancaster, for more on this and other simple, effective, and dynamic integrated-design tools.


Winter Solstice Sun and Shadow Paths—faster-moving Micro version

This faster-moving video (zoomed-in micro version) illustrates the sun’s path (and the shadows it casts) on the winter solstice—the day with the longest shadows of the year—for a site at 32? N latitude. The perspective is from ground level. See the zoomed-out macro version of this video (above) for a perspective from the sky.

This video also illustrates how you can use an awareness of these paths, along with winter-solstice shadow ratios for your latitude (see this chart) to determine the length and angle of shadows cast by various objects, to maintain winter sun access where needed for passive heating, lighting, and on-site solar-power production. For example, you can use the shadow ratios for your latitude to figure out the length of shadow cast by a tree (once it reaches its mature size), so the tree can be placed where it will maintain, rather than reduce or eliminate, your ideal winter solar potential.

See the book Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond, Volume 1, 2nd Edition, by Brad Lancaster, for more on this and other simple, effective, and dynamic integrated design tools.


December 21 Sun and Shadow Paths—Macro version

This video illustrates the sun’s path (and the shadows it casts) on the winter solstice—the day with the longest shadows of the year—for a site at 32° N latitude. The perspective is from the sky. See the micro version of this video (above) for a perspective from ground level.

This video also illustrates the location of the sun in the sky (as we would perceive it from the Earth’s surface at this latitude) throughout the day on the winter solstice. This awareness will help you place and design various elements on your site, so you maintain, rather than reduce or eliminate, your ideal winter solar access and potential where you need it (equator-facing windows, solar panels, solar hot water heaters, solar ovens, winter gardens, etc).

See the book Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond, Volume 1, 2nd Edition, by Brad Lancaster, for more on this and other simple, effective, and dynamic integrated-design tools.


Winter Solstice Sun and Shadow Paths—faster-moving Macro version

This faster-moving version of the Winter Solstice Sun and Shadow Paths video illustrates the sun’s path (and the shadows it casts) on the winter solstice—the day with the longest shadows of the year—for a site at 32? N latitude. This zoomed-out perspective is from the sky. See the zoomed-in micro version of this video for a perspective from ground level.

This video also illustrates the location of the sun in the sky (as we would perceive it from the Earth’s surface at this latitude) throughout the day on the winter solstice. This awareness will help you place and design various elements on your site, so you maintain, rather than reduce or eliminate, your ideal winter solar access and potential (equator-facing windows, solar panels, solar hot water heaters, solar ovens, winter gardens, etc) where you need it.

See the book Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond, Volume 1, 2nd Edition, by Brad Lancaster, for more on this; sun-path diagrams that will tell you where the sun will be at any time of day—any day of the year—for your latitude; and simple, effective, dynamic integrated-design tools enabling you to harvest winter sun and summer shade.


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The Umbrella: Spring Equinox 2017

THE UMBRELLA:
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Spring Equinox 2017
Around here we like to rhyme with the seasons whenever possible. In this case, that means welcoming the fast-approaching beginning of SPRING (the Vernal Equinox (in the northern hemisphere) is March 20 this year in Tucson, and marks one of only two […]

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