Shadow Studies and cove.tool

Solar Access to Self Shading

Patrick Chopson avatar
Written by Patrick Chopson
Updated over a week ago

cove.tool runs a point-in-time Shadow Analysis for all projects in 3D Mode.

What is a shadow study?

The shadow analysis allows a designer to study the amount of solar access to different parts of the site and building design, at various times of the day throughout the year. In new construction and renovation, it is important to assess the impact physical obstructions can have and/or cause, and what types of setbacks or opportunities might come about because of these unique solar situations. This visual analysis type can also be used to help regulate zoning ordinances, shape buildings and their programs, as well as address strategic concerns to natural resources and human activities. Many zoning applications require design teams to have a shadow study, so that more is known early on about the potential impacts on existing conditions. Read about five 5 ways designers can use shadow analysis to inform design decisions here.

What do I need to generate a shadow study?
Your model, building context, and ideal test times.
The shadow tool is a visual analysis type that assesses the impact of physical obstructions on building design and context. The tool also has point-in-time controls so users can pick a date and time-of-day to test crucial sun/shadow situations. Some zoning applications, such as the Toronto, Canada - Environmental Impact Study, have specific test time requirements.

How it works?
Upload building geometry via a 3rd party plugin. Once the export is complete, navigate to the Daylight Page. The shadow analysis is the default analysis, followed by the sDA% Daylight and ASE Glare analysis types.

Test Times
The best times to evaluate your model can vary based on your location. However, the standard for most North American building locations are seasonal and 4 times a day.

  • March 21st (Spring), June 21st (Summer), and September 21st (Autumn) at
    1:00 p.m, 3:00 p.m., 5:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.

  • December 21st (Winter) at
    9:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m., 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m.


Can I use cove.tool's shadow study for my local Zoning Applications which require sun/shadow studies?

Yes, Sun/Shadow tests should be done for March 21 and September 21 at the following hours: 8:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.

  • Images of sun/shadow tests using models, either real or digital, that clearly indicate the development site, its boundary, the footprint and mass of buildings within the test site, and any streets, parks and open spaces on/neighboring this site; and

  • Images of the sun/shadow situation for the existing context and with the proposal (a single page or pages side by side are preferred as this will assist in understanding the impacts).

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