Building Typologies 1. Urban high-density new-build residential

Orientation, overshadowing, daylight and solar gain

  • Orientate buildings 30 degrees from South (where possible)
  • Place higher elements to the North of the site
  • Allow a distance of 1-1.5 times the building’s height between buildings
  • Design green amenity space to receive sunlight as per BRE guidance
  • Position occupied spaces on the South façade


  • Favour horizontal windows over vertical glazing
  • Use a g-value of around 0.5
  • Use LETI glazing ratios: north = 10-20%, east = 10-15%,

     south = 20-25%, west = 10-15%


Overheating is a significant risk for this type of building, to reduce this:

  • South Elevations – use horizontal brise soleil and projecting balconies
  • East / West Elevations – Use shutters or external roller blinds
  • Prioritise deck access over internal corridors


  • Cross ventilation can be harder to achieve, so larger openings may be required.
  • Mechanical cooling should only be used once all other methods of ventilation have been considered.

Green spaces

  • Incorporate blue green spaces into masterplan

Maximise PV

  • For flat roofs: prioritise East/West concertina array as opposed to North / South array.

Opportunities and Constraints 

  • Due to their compact form, high density residential new builds have relatively low heat losses in winter, making them highly energy efficient.
  • However, in summer the risk of overheating is a significant risk due to dense massing, reduced access to cross ventilation, high internal heat gains (within the dwellings, but also communal heating systems) and the urban heat island effect. It is therefore much more important to provide shading of windows and maximise natural ventilation.

Page updated: 27/09/2022

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