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The Metropolitan Jerusalem Master Plan

The Metropolitan Jerusalem Master Plan


Winter sun


Summer sun


year, gets less dry during the hot season,

and is naturally covered with about 15%

more flora than average.

A southern slope is more exposed to

the sun than others, and effective passive

heating is possible from the sun. From this

we know that south slopes are suitable for

residential buildings and northern ones are

good for urban parks and office buildings.

Additionally, construction adjacent to

existing buildings should not be permitted

if it is to block the sunlight on existing

buildings for more than two hours a day

between October and March, in order

to allow heat from the sun during the

winter. Construction would also be both

on the hilltops and in the valleys in order

to preserve a built-up urban continuum

incorporating green areas.

In Jerusalem’s Nachalat HaShiv’ah

neighborhood – one of the oldest

historical neighborhoods outside the Old

City walls – all of the main streets (Yoel

Moshe Solomon, Rivlin, Ma’a lot Nachalat

Shiv’ah) were paved going north-to-south.

They are relatively narrow, and their width

is the same as the height of the buildings

on either side. Thus, the main streets are

shady all day: before noon the buildings on

the east give shade, and in the afternoon

– those on the west. This ongoing shade

is the source of the commercial success

for businesses along these streets – it's

pleasant to be there even at the height of a

summer day’s heat.

Smaller streets, perpendicular to these

main streets, were paved going east-to-

west. This gives a southern façade, passive

solar heat in the winter, and protection

from the sun in the summer to almost

all of the apartments in the area. The

entrances to the buildings are from the

north, and so, their stairwells stay cool

in the summer and walking out onto the

street is pleasant.

These advantages of this neighborhood

– in terms of tourism and commerce,

and in terms of quality of life and energy

efficiency for cooling and heating – come

about naturally, as the result of necessary

smart street planning. Such a network of

streets – lengthwise and crosswise, with

This sketch displays the ideal height for

home construction and the desirable distance

between buildings for allowing optimal use of

light and the warmth of the sun

Sustainability in Jerusalem

Ecological Construction

According to Israel Electric Company

reports from 2010, Israel has some of the

highest rates in the world for electricity

consumption per person. Almost 50%

of electricity created in Israel is used for

heating, cooling, and ventilation of homes.

In contrast with extravagant average

consumption of electricity, around 38% of

Israel’s population limit their consumption

of electricity for heating and cooling their

homes due to financial constraints.

The existing systems for heating and

cooling homes can cause disease. For

example, the legionella bacteria breeds

in air conditioning systems. Oil or diesel

based home heaters are a leading cause

of burns among children. And above

all, manufacture of electricity causes

enormous amounts of carbon dioxide and

poisonous gas emissions, causing the air in

Israel to be dirtier and creating greenhouse

effect which harms the earth.

These undesirable phenomena can be

minimized or even avoided altogether by

planning which takes climate into account

– and Jerusalem’s comfortable climate

certainly provides a good basis for such

planning. In Jerusalem, nature turns a

friendly face to man and can allow him to

enjoy comfortable conditions in homes

with minimum consumption of electricity.

Efficient insulation, passive heating of

homes and proper shading can lower

electricity usage by tens of percentages.

As stated, throughout most of the year,

Jerusalem is naturally within the range of

thermal comfort. It is enough to ensure

exposure to sunlight during the cold

months and proper shade in warm ones

to supply thermal comfort some 90% of

the time and even more. When planning

homes in Jerusalem, it is important to take

into account that in the winter, buildings

are exposed to sunlight only from the

south – while during the hot season, the

sun rises and sets much closer to the

north, and during the day manages to orbit

buildings from almost all facades.

Since, during the winter, the sun appears

only in the south, during this season the

south façade of buildings is the only

façade which can supply heat from the

sun. It is also enough to have only a little

shade on this façade in order to provide

protection during the summer since the

sun is especially high when it is in the

south during summer.

In light of this, the following principles

may be applied when planning homes in


• The south façade should be given

preference for placement of windows.

• The east façade should be second

preference. Though passive heat cannot

be supplied from here in the winter,

exposure to the sun in the summer is

only in the mornings, when it isn’t very

hot yet.

• The north façade is exposed to sunlight

only in the summer, during early

morning hours, and right before sunset

in the evening.

• The eastern façade is the most

problematic: the sun visits this location

only during the hottest hours, all year –

and in the summer, in the afternoon.

These principles have implications for

planning construction in metropolitan

Jerusalem. The metropolis is characterized

by hills and mountains, and each slope or

hillside has its own qualities. A northern

slope stays more humid throughout the

Nature has certainly

favored man in

Jerusalem and

may enable him to

enjoy comfortable

conditions in homes

with minimal energy


Sustainability in Jerusalem