15 Urb. Law. 637 (1983)
Solar Building Envelopes: A Zoning Approach for Protecting Residential Solar Access

handle is hein.journals/urban15 and id is 671 raw text is: Solar Building Envelopes:
A Zoning Approach for Protecting
Residential Solar Access*
Howard R. Osofsky
Associate, Pohoryles, Greenstein, Goldberg,
Forester, Staton & Harris, Washington, D.C.;
B.A., Rutgers University, 1973; M.S.,
Georgia Institute of Technology, 1978;
J.D., Emory Law School, 1982.
I. Introduction
OF THE RENEWABLE ENERGY SOURCES, solar energy is believed to
have the greatest potential for the largest number of states, yet if
solar power is to play a major role in meeting our future energy
needs, municipal attorneys, urban planners, and land developers
will have to incorporate solar access protection into their regula-
tions, comprehensive plans, and project designs. Solar envelope
zoning is a promising comprehensive and innovative approach that
local governments can use to guarantee solar access in residential
areas.
II. Access to the Sun
The successful operation of any solar energy device depends on its
access to sunlight. Gail Boyer Hayes pointed to the crux of the
matter:
Sunlight radiates, unobstructed, through 93 million miles of space. It is only in
the final few hundred feet before it touches earth that its flow is impeded.
Although the distance is short, the legal problems of guaranteeing everyone
equitable access to this golden bounty are great.
A solar energy collector's requirement for unimpaired solar
energy is known as solar access, usually expressed in terms of the
airspace through which the solar radiation travels. Any object
which intrudes into this space will cast a shadow on the solar
collector, and thus reduce the amount of radiant energy reaching
the collector's surface.
*The author wishes to thank Professor W. Traver Rountree, Jr., Emory Law
School, and Jeffrey P. Fegan, AICP, for their invaluable advice and assistance in
the preparation of this article. Jaime Henriquez's editing assistance is also
gratefully acknowledged.
1. A. MILLER, G. HAYES & G. THOMPSON, SOLAR ACCESS AND LAND USE:
STATE OF THE LAW 3 (1977).

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