A consistent, finite set of climactic issues inform the intelligent building planning decisions which form the foundation of sustainable design at all scales, from whole cities to whole buildings to parts of buildings. While there are infinite possible combinations of these climactic issues with building sites and types, the underlying concerns are surprisingly few.
For example: when combined with a simple understanding of the heating and cooling needs within the building, a consideration of the position of the sun in relation to each of the building surfaces at differing times of the year yields tremendous benefits...
New York City, as does much of North America, resides within a climate which has both significant heating and cooling seasons. The winters here are cold but sunny enough to make passive solar heating viable, making direct sun penetration desirable. Because the summers are hot, the implication is for sunshading which excludes direct sun in the summer but allows it in in the winter. These dual goals can be readily accomplished by the configuration of the building mass, the shape and position of windows, and by sunshading, utilizing the fact that the position of the sun in the sky changes between these two seasons.