Scientific experience builds residential cities.

Proving and evaluating the beneficial effects of sustainable architecture and urban designs, Green and Blue technologies and the thermal benefits of landscape visions with ENVI-MET.

Landscape Architecture & Thermal Garden Design

Vegetation is one of the most efficient tools to shape the microclimate and create comfortable outdoor spaces for different kinds of activities throughout the day.

 

Plants are sensitive, often extremely expensive, living organisms, which require an adequate microclimate environment to grow and flourish.

To ensure maximum value it is most important to find the right balance between shaping the microclimate and being affected by the microclimate.

 

The innovative simulation methods break down this cycle to its functional components and seek to optimize growing conditions and obtain maximum outdoor climate control of your green designs.

Tree Pass

Every plant, from a rose to a tree, has its own requirements and preferences for microclimate, soil and water supply to develop and grow. In a complex outdoor environment, these conditions vary in terms of space and time, making an overall and year-long assessment of growing conditions difficult. In addition, competition with other plants for space, light and water can generate suboptimal growing conditions not necessarily visible at first glance.


The ENVI-MET Tree Pass provides a comprehensive overview of all relevant habitat conditions and interactions between other species and other elements based on a multitude of simulations for different seasonal conditions and compares these to the species’ environmental preferences.

Soil water supply

Vegetation will only live and function as designed when the right amount of water is available in the soil. Both too little and too much water in the root zone will have a negative impact on the plant’s vitality and transpiration.

Right mix of sun and shade

Both people and plants need the right mix of sun and shade in space and time. While people can move, and require a sun and shade diversity in space, plants require the correct amount of sun hours over the time of day and year at one location.

Adequate Ventilation

Most plants have their favorite wind environment in which they grow best. Too little air movement can cause damage through fungi while wind that is too strong might damage the leaves and branches. With the full 3D fluid simulation in ENVI-MET, detailed information about wind flow and turbulence is available for each location.

Vegetation under extreme local conditions

Growing locations away from the ground surface are often defined by unusual microclimate conditions such as high winds, high solar insulation during the day and a quick loss of energy during the night, similar to desert conditions.

Leaf Water Balance

The local water balance of the leaf is defined by the transpiration of vapor through the leaf stoma. It defines the amount of water required and extracted by the roots out of the soil. In addition, condensation of liquid water often occurs at the leaf surface. If ventilation and solar radiation are too low, the leaves may stay wet and become vulnerable to fungi.

Thermal Garden Design

Many people use their garden as they use their home: There are different areas for specific activities and for different times of the day. Unlike in a home, in an outside garden you need to work with the local microclimate to adjust the thermal patterns to your personal preferences. There are many feedback processes amongst the local design, the atmosphere and the nearby environment, which are impossible to assess with the eye.


With the microclimate simulations, you can test different constellations of surface materials, wind shelters, planting and terrain design and their effect on the microclimate in order to get the most of your green space.

Microclimate control through terraforming

Shaping the microclimate through slopes, hills or incisions is an effective tool to generate different thermal zones and generate design or functional landscape elements at the same time.

Water cooling strategies

Water is a fundamental design element in landscape design. Water pools can serve as a buffer for surface and air temperatures, while fountains and sprinklers can efficiently lower the ambient air temperature and add humidity.

Right mix of sun and shade

Both people and plants need the right mix of sun and shade in space and time. While people can move, and require a sun and shade diversity in space, plants require the correct amount of sun hours over the time of day and year at one location.

Adequate Ventilation

Most plants have their favorite wind environment in which they grow best. Too little air movement can cause damage through fungi while wind that is too strong might damage the leaves and branches. With the full 3D fluid simulation in ENVI-MET, detailed information about wind flow and turbulence is available for each location.

Climate control through surface materials

To a large extent, the thermal admittance and reflectance of the surface materials used control the local microclimate. Dense materials can act as accumulators, storing energy during the day and releasing it as thermal radiation during the night. Lightweight and thin materials get hotter during the day, but also cool down quickly after sunset. Using the right materials in the right places allows for supporting the creation of a comfortable thermal environment, especially during the evening.

Human thermal comfort

The human energy balance defines how we experience the local microclimate. Depending on the activity and the clothing, ENVI-MET simulates the thermal experience of both sitting and moving persons and enables generation of comfort maps based on several indicators such as PET or UTCI.

Plant Comfort Assessment

Plants can only grow and function if they are exposed to adequate environmental conditions above and below the surface that suit their individual requirements. There is a wide range of potential sources for plant injury ranging from mechanical wind loads breaking parts of the plant to damage through draft and to the potential growth of fungi due to stagnating and humid air.


The ENVI-MET plant comfort assessment system (PCAS) allows you to estimate the risk of different kinds of potential plant health hazards, considering all aspects of microclimate, soil conditions and interactions between plants and other nearby objects.

Soil water supply

Vegetation will only live and function as designed when the right amount of water is available in the soil. Both too little and too much water in the root zone will have a negative impact on the plant’s vitality and transpiration.

Right mix of sun and shade

Both people and plants need the right mix of sun and shade in space and time. While people can move, and require a sun and shade diversity in space, plants require the correct amount of sun hours over the time of day and year at one location.

Adequate Ventilation

Most plants have their favorite wind environment in which they grow best. Too little air movement can cause damage through fungi while wind that is too strong might damage the leaves and branches. With the full 3D fluid simulation in ENVI-MET, detailed information about wind flow and turbulence is available for each location.

Vegetation under extreme local conditions

Growing locations away from the ground surface are often defined by unusual microclimate conditions such as high winds, high solar insulation during the day and a quick loss of energy during the night, similar to desert conditions.

Leaf Water Balance

The local water balance of the leaf is defined by the transpiration of vapor through the leaf stoma. It defines the amount of water required and extracted by the roots out of the soil. In addition, condensation of liquid water often occurs at the leaf surface. If ventilation and solar radiation are too low, the leaves may stay wet and become vulnerable to fungi.

Elevated and Vertical Gardens

Green facades, rooftops with vegetation or elevated green passages and bridges offer great new potential to introduce vegetation into the dense built-up urban environment. However, the growing conditions for plants found at these locations are often extreme as they can be exposed to high winds, strong solar radiation in the daytime and limited thermal shielding during the night.


It is difficult to assess the exact patterns of the microclimate conditions for plants growing away from the surface, for example along elevated structures, but it is essential to ensure vital and growing plants. By using the high-resolution simulations with the ENVI-MET model, it is possible to generate the growing conditions that are lacking for an optimal selection of plants.

Right mix of sun and shade

Both people and plants need the right mix of sun and shade in space and time. While people can move, and require a sun and shade diversity in space, plants require the correct amount of sun hours over the time of day and year at one location.

Adequate Ventilation

Most plants have their favorite wind environment in which they grow best. Too little air movement can cause damage through fungi while wind that is too strong might damage the leaves and branches. With the full 3D fluid simulation in ENVI-MET, detailed information about wind flow and turbulence is available for each location.

Vegetation under extreme local conditions

Growing locations away from the ground surface are often defined by unusual microclimate conditions such as high winds, high solar insulation during the day and a quick loss of energy during the night, similar to desert conditions.

Urban Planning & Resilient Cities

Whether you are planning a new district in your city or you want to explore possibilities to make your city resilient against the impact of climate change: Any planning decision will lead to a response in urban microclimate systems. Without understanding and analyzing these feedback processes, the effects of planning visions and adaptation strategies cannot be foreseen.


You don’t have a second chance to reshape your city once you determine that your ideas do not work the way they should. With our simulation experience we will make sure to mobilize the best potential in your visions from the initial master plans up to the exact placement of trees.

Climate change adaption

It is very likely that climate change will dramatically increase the frequency and intensity of summer heat waves. In urban areas, the already existing hot spots and the nocturnal heat island effect will impose even more heat load onto the populace. Resilient cities for tomorrow must react to these challenges on different levels and modify the way the system reacts.


Optimizing the cities’ microclimate structure is therefore one of the tasks that provide a direct and immediate benefit to people. Using the ENVI-MET simulation methods, you can find the best solutions for a resilient city structure and quantify the effects of the measures.

Optimized material selection

Choosing the right surface material with thermal properties that fit the foreseen usage of the area is the first step for successful microclimate control. The properties of the materials control whether the surface heats up and cools down quickly or stores the heat until the late evening hours.

Natural cooling zones

Each urban area needs public cool islands such as parks or urban forests offering relaxation areas during the day and generating cool air during the night. The best benefits will be obtained if cool air can ventilate into the built-up areas and lower the temperature of the heated up building structure. With the coupled Thermodynamic- Fluid-dynamic modules used in ENVI-MET, the outreach of cooling zones can be estimated and optimized.

Building climate control through green technologies

Most energy in urban areas is used today for HVAC cooling and warming. Besides the fact that cooling the indoor environment means heating up the outdoor world, low-carbon cities must minimize heating and cooling of buildings. With green technologies, zero-energy strategies are available to minimize HVAC operation.

The right ventilation

Too little or too much wind: Both extremes can lead to unpleasant local conditions and make urban spaces unattractive and unfrequented. In addition, wind flow patterns in urban areas also control the transport of pollutants and are therefore an important tool to control air quality.

Local thermal recreation areas

Not only public green spaces contribute to a cooler city. Especially private areas close to residential buildings provide benefits both to the people living inside them and to the local urban microclimate.

Solar access analysis

Analyzing the availability of direct solar radiation is a quick and basic approach to understanding the energetic profile of a location. It not only provides a first insight into the energy input into buildings, but also helps to find the initial thermal zoning layout of open spaces.

Urban Structures as a holistic microclimate system

Regardless of whether you simulate the energy balance of a building or the effects of a group of trees on air temperature: Urban structures are holistic systems where everything is continuously interacting with everything in space and time and every component influences the dynamics of the others.

 

It is clear, that an adequate representation of such a complex system and its processes in a numerical model will only be successful, if the simulation system incorporates this concept of interaction and provides sophisticated and high-resolution approaches for all its subsystems.

ENVI-MET constantly resolves all of its subsystems, updates their physical state with regards to the changed model conditions and returns the results as new boundary conditions back into the embedding microclimate model.

Optimized material selection

Choosing the right surface material with thermal properties that fit the foreseen usage of the area is the first step for successful microclimate control. The properties of the materials control whether the surface heats up and cools down quickly or stores the heat until the late evening hours.

Natural cooling zones

Each urban area needs public cool islands such as parks or urban forests offering relaxation areas during the day and generating cool air during the night. The best benefits will be obtained if cool air can ventilate into the built-up areas and lower the temperature of the heated up building structure. With the coupled Thermodynamic- Fluid-dynamic modules used in ENVI-MET, the outreach of cooling zones can be estimated and optimized.

Building climate control through green technologies

Most energy in urban areas is used today for HVAC cooling and warming. Besides the fact that cooling the indoor environment means heating up the outdoor world, low-carbon cities must minimize heating and cooling of buildings. With green technologies, zero-energy strategies are available to minimize HVAC operation.

The right ventilation

Too little or too much wind: Both extremes can lead to unpleasant local conditions and make urban spaces unattractive and unfrequented. In addition, wind flow patterns in urban areas also control the transport of pollutants and are therefore an important tool to control air quality.

Local thermal recreation areas

Not only public green spaces contribute to a cooler city. Especially private areas close to residential buildings provide benefits both to the people living inside them and to the local urban microclimate.

Solar access analysis

Analyzing the availability of direct solar radiation is a quick and basic approach to understanding the energetic profile of a location. It not only provides a first insight into the energy input into buildings, but also helps to find the initial thermal zoning layout of open spaces.

Air pollution control

The exposure to different particulate and gaseous pollutants is one of the main health risks in urban environments, affecting billions of people worldwide. Besides decreasing the amount of emissions, there are different tools to deal with the problem on an urban planning basis.


These tools incorporate active wind flow management, which is a way to keep airborne pollutants out of sensitive areas and prevent their accumulation. In addition, the usage of photocatalytic surfaces both on a local and urban scale can help to remove NOx molecules out of the air and transform them into harmless nitrate that gets washed way with the rain.

The right ventilation

Too little or too much wind: Both extremes can lead to unpleasant local conditions and make urban spaces unattractive and unfrequented. In addition, wind flow patterns in urban areas also control the transport of pollutants and are therefore an important tool to control air quality.

Photocatalytic surfaces

Once pollutants are released from their sources, it is difficult to remove them from the air. Using photocatalytic surfaces is an option to remove dangerous NO and NO2 from the urban atmosphere and convert it to harmless nitrate. Using the ENVI-MET modeling approach, the optimal locations for photocatalytic surfaces can be estimated and their effect on air pollution can be quantified.

Microclimate Diversity

A city is home to a magnitude of different activities performed by various people of different ages and preferences. To offer an attractive and successful outdoor living space, the microclimate structure of a city should reflect this diversity by offering a wide range of different microclimate conditions matching peoples’ expectations and activities.


Numerical simulations with ENVI-MET help you to generate a thermal map of your urban structure as it is today and to identify locations where you can do better. Based on these thermal maps, numerical simulations assist you in selecting the best redesign activities and provide you with scientifically based numbers to assess their effects.

Optimized material selection

Choosing the right surface material with thermal properties that fit the foreseen usage of the area is the first step for successful microclimate control. The properties of the materials control whether the surface heats up and cools down quickly or stores the heat until the late evening hours.

Natural cooling zones

Each urban area needs public cool islands such as parks or urban forests offering relaxation areas during the day and generating cool air during the night. The best benefits will be obtained if cool air can ventilate into the built-up areas and lower the temperature of the heated up building structure. With the coupled Thermodynamic- Fluid-dynamic modules used in ENVI-MET, the outreach of cooling zones can be estimated and optimized.

The right ventilation

Too little or too much wind: Both extremes can lead to unpleasant local conditions and make urban spaces unattractive and unfrequented. In addition, wind flow patterns in urban areas also control the transport of pollutants and are therefore an important tool to control air quality.

Local thermal recreation areas

Not only public green spaces contribute to a cooler city. Especially private areas close to residential buildings provide benefits both to the people living inside them and to the local urban microclimate.

Solar access analysis

Analyzing the availability of direct solar radiation is a quick and basic approach to understanding the energetic profile of a location. It not only provides a first insight into the energy input into buildings, but also helps to find the initial thermal zoning layout of open spaces.

Architecture & Microclimate

The placement of buildings, the material of their façades and the location of vegetation creates a distinct small-scale microclimate system that influences both the outdoor and indoor living conditions.

 

Only a holistic simulation approach will enable your designs to be analyzed as they are in reality:

An integrated system in which all components interact with each other and every single element contributes to the embedding framework called urban climate. Using the ENVI-MET technologies you will not only be able to paint a picture of a possible design, but also to prove and quantify it with approved scientific methods.

Outdoor Thermal Comfort

Sustainable and successful cities of the future must offer their citizens an urban environment that encourages them to spend time outside and fill the streets and places with life rather than just passing through the streets as fast as possible.


One of the key requirements to attract pedestrians, shoppers or people enjoying outdoor restaurants is to generate and preserve a thermally comfortable environment during the day and at night.


The right mix of sun and shade and a diversity of microclimate zones will not guarantee a vibrant outdoor space, but their absence will surely lead to deserted spaces.

Selective shading technologies

This involves generating shade at the right spots at the right time or allowing the sun to pass through. The ENVI-MET model allows for simulating the effects of such selective devices on solar radiation and microclimate.

Right Mix of Sun and Shade

Different people and different activities demand an optimized mix of shade and sunlit patterns at different times of the day and in different seasons.

Exposure to wind and sun

There are very large variations of wind and sun in urban and landscape environments. Understanding the spatial and temporal distribution of both elements is the most important factor in successful designing with microclimate.

Water cooling strategies

Passive outdoor cooling through water elements such as ponds, fountains or water spray can lower air temperature by several degrees and provide attractive design elements or refreshing zones for people to enjoy.

Façade greening technologies

There are several techniques to add green elements to building walls: From climbing plants over attached substrate pads to hanging flower boxes. They all have their individual impact on both outdoor and indoor microclimate

Drain gardens

Hot weather periods are often accompanied by heavy thunderstorms and massive local rainfall. Drain gardens collect the rainwater locally, and therefore relieve strain on the sewer system. At the same time, they store the water for evaporation and plant water supply for the time after the rain has ended.

Climate control through surface materials

The surface material and the underground structure control the thermal performance of the ground and the local microclimate. Using the right material in the right locations is an important contribution to the creation of comfortable outdoor conditions.

Thermal Match Assessment

Many different climate parameters at different locations, during the day and throughout the year are interacting to define a location’s thermal profile. If the microclimate of a location does not match people´s preferences and intended activities, they will not use this outdoor space – neither for business or cultural activities nor for leisure.

Creating a Thermal Match between the microclimate and the users’ demands is therefore essential for a thriving city district or urban development.

 

With the ENVI-MET Thermal Match method, we harmonize the thermal profile of the location’s outdoor space with the users’ expectations.

Right Mix of Sun and Shade

Different people and different activities demand an optimized mix of shade and sunlit patterns at different times of the day and in different seasons.

Exposure to wind and sun

There are very large variations of wind and sun in urban and landscape environments. Understanding the spatial and temporal distribution of both elements is the most important factor in successful designing with microclimate.

Water cooling strategies

Passive outdoor cooling through water elements such as ponds, fountains or water spray can lower air temperature by several degrees and provide attractive design elements or refreshing zones for people to enjoy.

Climate control through surface materials

The surface material and the underground structure control the thermal performance of the ground and the local microclimate. Using the right material in the right locations is an important contribution to the creation of comfortable outdoor conditions.

Green & Blue Technologies

Green & Blue technologies provide you with the opportunity to modify both outdoor and indoor microclimates without using energy by relying on natural regulation processes.

 

Moreover, vegetation and water elements improve the visual appearance of your designs and hence invite people to stay and have a closer look.

Using the ENVI-MET modeling approach, several sophisticated green engineering approaches from green walls to wet surfaces can be integrated in the model and be linked to the other components of the urban microclimate system. Based on the model studies you will be able to identify the best locations for your Green & Blue design ideas and quantify their effects on the microclimate.

Water cooling strategies

Passive outdoor cooling through water elements such as ponds, fountains or water spray can lower air temperature by several degrees and provide attractive design elements or refreshing zones for people to enjoy.

Façade greening technologies

There are several techniques to add green elements to building walls: From climbing plants over attached substrate pads to hanging flower boxes. They all have their individual impact on both outdoor and indoor microclimate

Drain gardens

Hot weather periods are often accompanied by heavy thunderstorms and massive local rainfall. Drain gardens collect the rainwater locally, and therefore relieve strain on the sewer system. At the same time, they store the water for evaporation and plant water supply for the time after the rain has ended.

Intensive and extensive rooftop greening

Rooftops are attractive spaces for urban greening that provide benefits both to the local microclimate and the building’s energy performance. At the same time, thy can serve as additional recreation space for the population.

Integrated Building Physics Simulation

There is a direct and constant feedback between the outdoor microclimate and the physics of a building and the resulting indoor climate. The interactions between indoor and outdoor climate are not only limited to a single building, but take place constantly between all buildings of a site or an urban district.

Therefore, it is essential not to look at a single building by itself, but to integrate it into the cluster of other buildings and urban elements. ENVI-MET provides a holistic approach to building physics by not only calculating the outdoor microclimate, but also constantly simulating the feedback of all buildings embedded into these climate conditions.

Façade greening technologies

There are several techniques to add green elements to building walls: From climbing plants over attached substrate pads to hanging flower boxes. They all have their individual impact on both outdoor and indoor microclimate

Microclimate at building façade

The microclimate conditions on building façades are very heterogeneous and depend on the design of the surrounding environment. Understanding the processes at the interface between inside and outside is crucial for an accurate estimation of the building physics.

Intensive and extensive rooftop greening

Rooftops are attractive spaces for urban greening that provide benefits both to the local microclimate and the building’s energy performance. At the same time, thy can serve as additional recreation space for the population.

Indoor air temperature and HVAC energy demand assessment

All buildings in an urban setting continuously interact with each other and with the outdoor microclimate. The ENVI-MET model synchronously solves the energy balance of all buildings in the model domain and allows for an estimation of HVAC energy demands, taking into account feedback processes with the outdoor climate and other buildings.

Green Walls and Rooftop Greening

In areas with limited available ground space, green facades and rooftop greening become increasingly important elements for expanding urban green space. Green buildings are a win-win constellation for all contributing components: The building’s energy performance will be optimized by the new green buffer, additional green space is created and the local microclimate is improved.


With the ENVI-MET simulation modules, different technical solutions for vertical gardens and rooftop greening are modeled as an integrated part of the outdoor microclimate, the building’s energy performance and the urban air quality assessment.

Façade greening technologies

There are several techniques to add green elements to building walls: From climbing plants over attached substrate pads to hanging flower boxes. They all have their individual impact on both outdoor and indoor microclimate

Microclimate at building façade

The microclimate conditions on building façades are very heterogeneous and depend on the design of the surrounding environment. Understanding the processes at the interface between inside and outside is crucial for an accurate estimation of the building physics.

Intensive and extensive rooftop greening

Rooftops are attractive spaces for urban greening that provide benefits both to the local microclimate and the building’s energy performance. At the same time, thy can serve as additional recreation space for the population.

Indoor air temperature and HVAC energy demand assessment

All buildings in an urban setting continuously interact with each other and with the outdoor microclimate. The ENVI-MET model synchronously solves the energy balance of all buildings in the model domain and allows for an estimation of HVAC energy demands, taking into account feedback processes with the outdoor climate and other buildings.

Human Thermal Comfort & Health

Urban areas are home for millions of people of all ages and vulnerability. Every day of their lives they are confronted with the microclimate and air pollution conditions around their homes, on their way to work or during outdoor activities. To provide a healthy and attractive environment, special attention must be paid to minimizing their exposure to airborne pollutants or heat stress.


Using ENVI-MET simulations, various urban design options and tools can be evaluated in order to minimize health implications and provide a thermally comfortable outdoor environment attractive to people.

Air Pollution Control

Urban areas are zones of mobility and they are a part of our daily activities, requiring our presence at different locations at different times of the day. In most cases, mobility is connected with the emission of different airborne pollutants released into the urban atmosphere affecting other citizens.


Different legislative regulations limit the concentration of pollutants in the urban air, but there are many cases where these regulations interfere with the transport demands of the urban system.


In order to minimize our citizens’ exposure to these pollutants, effective strategies are required to control the distribution and removal of harmful substances from the urban atmosphere. Strategic urban planning and the selection of active surface materials can help to lower the exposure of citizens to harmful substances. Numerical modeling of different air pollution strategies is the best tool to find the optimal strategy to lower urban pollutant loads.

Particle deposition on vegetation

Urban vegetation can act as a filter and sink for particulate pollutants if placed in the right locations. The vegetation model of ENVI-MET allows a detailed analysis of pollutant transport and deposition on the scale of a single leaf.

Particle transport into indoor environment

Outdoor air pollution can easily also become an endangerment for the indoor air quality if transported through windows or sucked in by HVAC units. The ENVI-MET indoor simulation model also considers this effect when calculating the state of the building’s indoor air.

Photocatalytic Surfaces

Photocatalytically activated surfaces are able to remove poisonous NO and NO2 gases from the urban atmosphere and can also lower the local ozone level. Using the power of sunlight, photocatalysts oxidize NOx molecules and transform them into harmless nitrates that are washed away with the rain.

Optimized ventilation

Ensuring sufficient ventilation is important both for human thermal comfort and for air quality management. As pollutants move with the air stream, usage of vegetation and the arrangement of buildings can be used to modify the wind flow and protect sensitive areas from advected pollutants.

Human Thermal Comfort

Sustainable cities of the future are livable cities where people spend their lives outdoors instead of avoiding urban spaces and escaping to suburban areas. Successful open spaces must, in addition to other factors, provide a thermally comfortable environment for walking and sitting pedestrians in order to be attractive locations to visit and stay.


Simulating the thermal comfort of humans is one of the core functionalities of the ENVI-MET system. This includes a wide range of thermal assessment methods including stationary indices for sitting and transient indices for moving persons.

Optimized ventilation

Ensuring sufficient ventilation is important both for human thermal comfort and for air quality management. As pollutants move with the air stream, usage of vegetation and the arrangement of buildings can be used to modify the wind flow and protect sensitive areas from advected pollutants.

Controlling exposure to wind and sun

Wind and sun are two microclimate elements that strongly influence the thermal comfort of people, especially of those sitting at the same location for some time. Using wind barriers and selective shading devices, effective tools exist to adjust the local wind and sun conditions to optimize thermal perception.

Subjective well-being

Thermal comfort is not only defined by the local microclimate conditions, but also by the subjective assessment of the individual person, varying with age, clothing, activity and thermal adaption. ENVI-MET provides a large set of different thermal comfort indices ranging from simple stationary assessments to the simulation of moving persons.