The Way the Wind Blows: The Value of Pedestrian Wind Studies

Warm weather brings the great pleasures of dining outdoors and lounging by the pool. But when the wind kicks up, those experiences can quickly turn unpleasant.

A force of nature with a mind of its own, wind goes through or around any object or structure it encounters, creating unique airflow patterns. Strong winds can commonly cause problems for people engaged in outdoor activities near buildings. Sidewalks, courtyards, balconies, patios and pools—all can be rendered downright inhospitable, even dangerous, with excessive wind. No one’s having a good time when outdoor furniture tumbles, napkins fly off tables, doors fail to open properly and walkways test a pedestrian’s balance.

Wind and Business Realities

Unmanaged wind can be bad news for architects, developers and builders. When a park or patio is too windy, people will opt to dine, relax or stroll elsewhere, resulting in unused space and lost business. But far worse than wreaking havoc on the value of a restaurant, shopping mall or apartment building, unexpected gusts can injure or kill if a pedestrian is knocked down or blown onto a roadway. Consequently, excessive wind can lead to serious liability claims.

Human comfort and safety around buildings are so critical that San Francisco and Boston now require pedestrian wind studies for all new construction. As time goes on, more cities likely will follow suit.

Benefits of a Pedestrian Wind Study

The good news is that these problems can be predicted and prevented. CPP has 40 years of experience studying wind behavior near buildings and providing solutions to architects, real estate developers and construction companies.

Following identification of important pedestrian use areas, CPP performs computer simulations or wind-tunnel testing to determine the probabilities of different wind speeds in each location, and the resulting expected comfort and safety levels. If the data reveals a potential problem at a particular point, we recommend modifications to improve the wind conditions.

The CPP Advantage

CPP is a national leader in pedestrian wind studies, ensuring that the building you’re creating provides both comfortable and safe outdoor experiences—before construction begins.

Whether you’re an architect, developer, builder or building owner, CPP’s wind experts will help you make sure that people will use and enjoy your building for many years to come.