Our team provided an analysis of the impact of new shadow created by a proposed development in Westport, CT. The proposed project site is on the western side of the Saugatuck River. The site is covered primarily by deciduous trees which lose their leaves during the cold season, allowing sunlight to penetrate to the forest floor until Spring leaf-out. There is also a large intertidal wetland at the toe of the sloped site.
Our team used a georeferenced 3D computer modelling software to establish an existing conditions model of the site. After we modeled the existing shade conditions, we added the “proposed” and “alternative” building scenarios to the model. We used architectural plans submitted to us by a third-party to model the dimensions of the proposed and alternative buildings. We specifically modeled conditions at noon, 2 pm, and 4 pm on the Spring Equinox and the Summer Solstice.
Our modeling efforts suggested that the most severe shadow impacts to existing wetland will occur during springtime late afternoons. Fall equinox shadow patterns cast by the new structure would mirror those as during spring equinox conditions. However, Spring impacts would outweigh the Fall because leaves have not yet come out on surrounding deciduous trees and therefore the building creates much more new shadow.