Passive Solar Landscape Design: Its Impact on Fossil Fuel Consumption Through Landscape Design
Boelt, Robin Wiatt
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Gas, electricity, heating and cooling buildings - comfort — our lives revolve around fossil fuels. Technology and the demands of living in today's society add to our gigantic fossil fuel appetite. With gas prices topping three dollars per gallon, changes must be made. This thesis project presents an analysis of passive solar landscape design (PSLD) principles used to create microclimates within the landscape, and thereby increasing human comfort both indoors and outdoors. The analysis includes case study results of fossil fuel consumption and PSLD implementation. Microclimatic comfort is revealed in the design of a solar park in historic Smithfield, Virginia. Smithfield Solar Park is designed with PSLD principles to be self-sustaining - the Farmer's Market pavilions and educational center generating their own electricity through a solar voltaic system. This system is enhanced by careful siting and selection of trees, shrubs and built structures and use of local materials to reduce transportation distances. Smithfield Solar Park features a Farmer's Market, outdoor movies and Friday Cheers, and will host regional and local festivals and events, enhancing tourism and the economy of Smithfield's Historic District. Landscape architecture stands in prime position to improve landscapes and lessen both our dependency on and consumption of fossil fuels through implementation of PSLD principles. Public education about the benefits of implementing PSLD principles can have local, regional, national and global effects on our fuel consumption.
- Masters Theses