Architectural Engineering

Introduction by the Head of School

Professor Malcolm Chrisp, Head of School of Energy, Geoscience, Infrastructure and Society introduces the School and gives an overview of the subjects covered, the facilities available and the opportunities it offers for students.

Our degree programmes

Dr Mehreen Gul introduces architectural engineering degree programmes at Heriot-Watt.

Tour of facilities

Take a tour of the facilities Heriot-Watt offers for Architectural Engineering students.

Dr Laurent Galbrun of Heriot-Watt's Institute for Sustainable Building Design demonstrates the Sun Emulator Heliodon.


So this is an Heliodon and that's used to measure mini sunlight and look at solar patterns. So you put a model on your table. You need to know the orientation that you're gonna use so here you have the north, the south, the east and the west. You need to choose the latitude at which you are so, for example, Edinburgh is around 55 degrees. So you can rotate this, get different levels. I'll put it back to Edinburgh which is somewhere here. Turn it on and you see there is a light there and you can see it is currently March. I can change that. If I go to April, April is currently here, it's above March. May above April.
And effectively you can see that the Sun is going up as you go towards summer. So I put it back to March, what you're doing is effectively looking at the pattern of the sun. So sun rises from the east and then you have indicated the hour, yes you have: 7 o'clock, 8 o'clock, 9 o'clock. You can see how the light is actually incident on your building. Now this can be used for a number of things.
You can see how much daylight you can get inside the building but you can see also the shadows. You can change the orientation of your building to actually maximize daylight, for example, and you can see how things change at different times of the year.
Here you can see how the same building would have different type of daylight in different parts of the world so you can do all those type of tests and it's a relatively simple piece of equipment that can give you an initial idea in terms of how you can use daylight.
Nowadays you use a lot of software so you can get a more refined types of analyses by using actual software but that's a nice tool that you can use at the very beginning to get the general idea of how the sun is actually impacting on the building.

Dr Laurent Galbrun takes us on a tour of Heriot-Watt's acoustic facilities for Architectural Engineering students.