algorithmic modeling for Rhino

New SkinDesigner/Ladybug Tutorial by Ladybug co-developer Chris Mackey

Hi All,

I just want to recommend everyone to watch this new video in our YouTube Tutorials section explaining a workflow that integrates Ladybug with SkinDesigner to generate environmentally responsive skins. A must for anyone interested in performative facade design.

Special thanks to Chris Mackey for putting this together!

Script also available for download in Hydra.



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Replies to This Discussion

Hei from Norway!
Great tool, but I would like to understand a bit better how the "Building Program Considerations" values (14 and 3) are decided and what they reflect?

Would they be the same for another type of climate or building?

I wish you all the best


The only input in the video that I made that relates to the building program is the building balance point.  This is essentially the outdoor temperature at which the building switches between being in heating mode instead of cooling mode.  It is used to distinguish helpful solar radiation that contributes to passive winter heating and harmful summer solar that forces us to run the air conditioning more.  The vast majority of building program types have balance points between 12C and 18C and so, if you just need to make an educated guess, using 15C should give you a radiation study that leads you in the right direction.  However, if you have a program with a lot of internal gain (like a kitchen or cafeteria), you may want to pick a lower balance temperature around 12C.  If you have a program with low internal gains (like the living room of a residence), a balance point closer to 18C is likely more accurate).

I hope that helps.

I'll also say that the dead-band value of 3C is just to give a range around the balance point where the building isn't clearly in heating or cooling mode.  You can leave this at 3C for all program types.

Thank you so much.
I am well aware of passive design principles, I am working on a large hospital project in Norway with high internal gains. I will do an energy analysis to figure out the balance point.
But probably around 12C.

Thank you!
Franz, Yes, the most accurate method for determining helpful vs harmful solar is to use the hourly cooling/heating load from an energy simulation instead of the outdoor temperature and balance point. Again, the latter less accurate method won't change the findings dramatically and you'll still be able to tell which massing or facade is better than another. However, using the cooling/heating load will allow you to make forecasts of the cooling/heating load saved by your facade/massing (by post-processing the resulting net helpful solar energy). So there are reasons to go to the higher level of detail.

Hi Santiago and Chris,

First of all: GREAT job!
I have a question in the following: How can I use Galapagos to optimize the size of the building's glazing to consequently optimize the solar gain in winter and minimize it in the summer? my doubt is how I do it using the ladybug + Skindesigner + Galapagos. 

Best regards



You may need to be a bit more specific about what you are trying to achieve.  The "optimal" size of windows from a radiation benefit standpoint is to have no windows on the orientations that have more harmful sun than helpful sun (East, West, North), and 100% windows on the facades that have more helpful sun than harmful sun (South as long as you are in a cold climate).  As is true for a lot "optimization" problems, the result is not that interesting unless you layer in a lot of criteria.  If you are hoping to get to an interesting solution you have to contrast the radiation benefit with a parameters that drives you to have larger windows on the other orientations (like daylight or visual connection to the outdoors).

If you want a single number to track the total radiation benefit that can be used to inform a Galapagos simulation, you can see this part of this example file that calculates radiation benefit:


Hi Chris and Santiago,

Thank you for responding to me so quickly!!

Exactly, I'm thinking the same.
After obtaining the value for radiation benefit, I am thinking of using Galapagos to optimize the geometry of the building with the increasing the value objective, for radiation benefit. BUT, I have some problems in grasshopper because when I insert the glass facade (with skindesigner) it is only being inserted where the radiation is harmful ... would you kindly check this problem please ?.

Another question, How can I combine the optimization of the facade (I want to insert a dynamic facade) taking into account the view analyzes like daylight or visual connection to the outdoor?

I'll attach the file so you can see please. In this file the geometry of the building, the analysis to obtain radiation benefit value and the facade with the skindesigner.




is this type of dynamic facade (as your team did so well :) ) that I want ally with super optimized building :)


Hi Antonio,

Sorry I just overlooked this. The second question seems to be Laydibyg/honeybee specific,  I suggest reaching out to their forum.

In regards to the SkinDesinger specific issue, looking at your script the only thing I see wrong is the range of window heights you are plugging in at the panel function. Once you adjust those to valid numbers the solution should work. I'm attaching the values and result I tested out.

Hope this helps, let me know otherwise and sorry again for the late reply.



Hello Santiago,

No problem, it was a good help for me to move forward. I'm grateful for the help.
About SkinDesigner, I have just one more question:
- In areas where radiation is harmful, I want it to be glazed (although smaller in size) but with vertical and horizontal louvers. How can i upgrade this workflow by adding the protections?
Im saying something like this file attached.




Hi Antonio,

The image you attached is using a SkinDesigner shade components which is different than louvers. If you are after this aesthetics (see image below) you can plug in four shade elements to your panel (2 horizontal + 2 vertical)and resize their projection depending on the solar radiation data. It is a little involved to do this since resizing four shades in one panel needs to be addressed by using shade indices, which I never explained in  tutorials. For that reason it was easier to make the changes to your script hoping you can understand how it works.

Take a look at the gh file and let me know if this works for you. If you have any questions on the changes I made, I'm  happy to explain them.

Also, on another note, in the image you attached the shading elements change angle, and the angle depend on data from views/solar exposure, which uses a totally different Ladybug workflow than the solar benefit workflow used in your script. again, Chris can be of more help at the Ladybug forum if you want to learn more about that workflow. 










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