A third method for analyzing a site is a concept called sectors.
A sector is the area of a property where some type of energy enters. For example, the sunny side of a yard is the sun sector, while the direction that prevailing winds come from is the wind sector.
Other examples include forms of “energy” embodied by living beings. The corner of a yard that backs up to a small woods might be the bird sector. Other sectors are specific to urban settings: the side of the yard that faces a busy street might be the noise or traffic sector.
Permaculture views these energy flows as potentially useful inputs. Solar panels or vegetable plants placed in the sun sector can capture the sun’s energy and turn it into electricity or food.
Permaculture also provides ways to block undesirable energy flows. For example, a tree could be placed in the sun sector to absorb sunlight before it reaches the house, lowering indoor temperatures during the summer. A row of evergreens could slow winds that sap heat from a building in winter, and provide a screen between a house and an “unattractive view” sector.
Sectors can be analyzed in three steps. First, map where different energy flows enter your property. Second, consider how the arriving energy could be beneficial. Third, plan ways to capture the energy, or to deflect it if it isn’t useful.