Investigating Residents’ Preference of Solar Access using Exploratory Factor Analysis

  • YEAR
    Lau, Ka-Lun
    Ng, Edward
    He, Zhengjun
    2011 Conference Papers
    Design Education


Solar access plays an important role in everyday lives of residents such as thermal comfort,
lighting and various household activities. Guidelines and standards for the provision of sunlight have been
formulated in the past few decades in low-density living environment. In sub-tropical high-density living
environment like Hong Kong, there is generally a lack of associated guidelines and standards and it has
become a growing concern for better provision of sunlight to residential units. Residents’ preference of
solar access is very important to the formulation of standards for solar access and daylighting, as well as
urban planning and building design. The present paper presents the results of a questionnaire survey
regarding residents’ preference of solar access in terms of time, amount, place, and purpose of the
exploitation of sunlight in the winter months in Hong Kong, as well as an exploratory factor analysis (EFA)
which examines the influence of environmental parameters on residents’ preference. Results indicate that
over 50% of the respondents surveyed were satisfied with the current situation of solar access in their
households. Nevertheless, about 20% of the respondents still felt unsatisfactory about solar access of their
flats. Sunlight penetration into their households in the morning was preferred by over 50% of the
respondents. Respondents were in favour of solar access in the morning and expected about 2-3 hours of
solar access in general. The EFA results indicate that observed microclimatic parameters such as relative
humidity and solar radiation are the dominant factors influencing residents’ preference of solar access and
closely followed by visual elements of residents’ subjective feelings about their flats. The consideration of
microclimatic parameters is therefore important to the formulation of design standard and guidelines.
Policy-makers, as well as planners and architects, should therefore take the findings into account when
establishing appropriate guidelines and standards in order to provide residential units with better sunlight


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