New Zealand Sun Charts
Sunpath diagrams map the path of the sun across the sky. They show the position of the sun relative to the site, both by time of day and time of year. A plan of the objects that will shade the site (currently and in the future) can be drawn onto the sunpath diagram.
This diagram can then be used to assess the shading effect on the site and help you make decisions about the position of the house on the site, and in particular the position of hte north facing windows (the primary solar collectors). If compromise is necessary, as a minimum, you should aim for unrestricted sun on solar collecting windows between 9am and 3pm in winter.
How do you use them?
A sunpath diagram is a three dimensional map of the path of the sun across the sky. You can draw onto this map objects such as trees, buildings and hills that will shade the site. This information will allow you to plan the position of your building and the solar collecting windows of that building to capitalise on the heat from the sun in winter.
Objects that are close to the site, such as adjacent buildings, will shade different parts of the site differently so several sunchart diagrams may be required to plot different parts of the site. Distant objects will shade the whole site in essentially the same way. By moving around the compass bearings on the sunpath diagram taking altitude angles for objects that may shade the site you can map these objects onto the sunpath diagram.
The links below take you straight the the relevant sun path diagrams of your area, you can download the Adobe Acrobat PDF file to print and use. If your region does not have a sunpath diagram you can use that of a nearby region, the differences will be insignificant.
Sun path diagrams
Download the PDF's of the Sun path diagram for the following regions: