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What is solar hours analysis? An explanation of TNO norms, parametric design and more

Updated: May 2, 2023

Solar hours studies (Zonlichturen analyse) are an important part of designing any new build in the Netherlands. It's critical to make sure too much of the neighbour's sunlight is not blocked. Read on to learn more about why solar hours studies are necessary, about the standard approaches in the Netherlands, and how OMRT's parametric design technology makes our approach stand out.

If you're interested in learning more about solar hours or in getting a quotation, leave a message with us here.

A solar study displayed within OMRT's Design Scout

Why conduct a solar hours study? Put simply, most municipalities in the Netherlands require that new developments do not excessively impact the existing sunlight of surrounding buildings. Most cities are concerned only with the impact on residential buildings, whether it be the Haagse norm or the TNO norms.

In the Netherlands, the TNO norm is the standard approach for analysing the impact of the solar hours. The strict standard & light standard TNO norms are both common. The calculations are based on the principle that the amount of sunshine entering a building should not be reduced by more than two hours per day. However the requirements only apply to the brighter days from February 19th - October 19th each year. North facing facades are generally excluded (given their lack of direct sunlight).

The new improved OMRT hub interface

Our approach At OMRT, our engineers are experienced in the Haagse norm and the TNO norms. We are also flexible enough to easily adapt to other standards based on the project or municipality requirements. Not all the norms are created equally, foor instance, De Haagse norm and TNO norms differ on where the sun supposedly enters the window.

Due to our parametric design software, we can easily multiply the number of designs we analyse for in a single site. In many OMRT projects, there are hundreds, or even thousands of designs generated based on the variables highlighted for the design. So while a solar hours study can be focused on just one complete design, it can also be extended to a multi-variant site both quickly and cost effectively, with the help of our parametric technology.

Our solution on display in the Design Scout

How we present results:

As with all of our building studies at OMRT, our calculations results are presented in the new and improved OMRT hub. We conduct these solar studies sometimes independently, sometimes as part of a complete building design generation and analysis.

As you might expect, it is possible to benefit from economies of scale when we include the solar analysis in parallel with a multi-variant building design. Configuration work can be saved by an efficient engineer who is already familiar with the buidling development in question. It is the flexibility and skill of OMRT's parametric engineers, as well as our innovations in technology that allows us to conduct these solar studies quicker than most incumbents in the Netherlands. A solar hours study with OMRT is characterised by a smooth experience, powerful computation capabilities, and lightning fast results.

If you're interested in learning more about solar hours or in getting a quotation, leave a message with us and we'll reach out soon.

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