A bioclimatic chart is a preliminary analysis tool used during the early planning stages of a building project. In the process known as bioclimatic architecture, an architect uses the bioclimatic chart to design buildings that include the most efficient passive cooling and heating strategies based on the climate and location of a building site, according to the Center for Renewable Energy Sources and Saving.

Detail of a Blueprint
credit: Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images
Detail of a blueprint

Accumulating Chart Data

In order to create a bioclimatic chart, monthly statistical data is collected. The chart is used to plot the average maximum and minimum temperature and the average maximum and minimum relative humidity. The think.green website recommends using a meteorology website to collect the information. You can also obtain the information from weather reports kept by local airports.

Plotting the Chart

To create a bioclimatic chart two points are plotted for each month. The first plot point is used to indicate the minimum temperature and maximum relative humidity, also known as RH. The second plot point is used to indicate maximum temperature along with the minimum RH. The two points are connected with a line. Each line on the bioclimatic chart represents an average day's changes in temperature and humidity. To be effective, the chart is developed over a one-year period.

Strategies

A completed bioclimatic chart will indicate the boundaries for different types of passive design strategies. Passive solar heating can be assessed using the chart as well as passive cooling strategies. Additionally, the chart can indicate a comfort zone where no cooling or heating is required to maintain thermal comfort. An architect will then use the chart to start planning the type of project best suited for a particular climatic location. Doing so creates energy-efficient bioclimatic buildings that enhance the quality of life for its users.

Benefits

The building sector accounts for nearly 40 percent of national final energy consumption, according to the Center for Renewable Energy Sources and Saving. This type of energy consumption, using mostly oil as well as electricity, causes the major atmospheric pollution responsible for the greenhouse effect and climatic change. Energy consumption is also a major economic burden. Using a bioclimatic chart helps an architect use simple building techniques and methods that reduce energy consumption, such as incorporating a passive solar heating system, natural cooling systems and techniques, as well as natural lighting systems and techniques.