Have you ever wondered why your home isn’t comfortable? It could be due to improper home orientation. When buying a home, check the home orientation carefully as a good orientation of the structure can increase the energy efficiency of your home. This will not only reduce your energy bills but also make your home more comfortable to live in.
Choose a home with the right shape and orientation to the sunlight, wind as well as the seasonal variations of the sun’s path. This practice has been in use since ancient times and was commonly practised by the Greeks and Romans. It’s applicable even today as some things never change – the sun still rises in the east and sets in the west with the mid-day sunlight being at a low angle during winters and at a higher angle during summers.
So, given these basic facts and bearing in mind that global warming is a very real phenomenon – with the climate only set to get warmer, good home orientation becomes a very important factor. While passive solar heating is a good thing, the priority is now shifting to keeping the house cooler as heat waves are expected to become part of the norm.
In hot and dry or hot and humid climates, use trees, overhangs and shade from nearby buildings and landscaping to avoid direct sunlight hitting your home. At the same time, harness cooling breezes maximally. Good home orientation should be able to minimize or eliminate dependence on energy and promote passive cooling or heating (as required).
North orientation is desirable for homes in cold climates that require winter heating. North-facing walls get more sunlight during winter than in summer, thus it’s better to have your house having a longer wall facing north to minimize exposure during the hot summers. In areas with hot climates, it’s best to have rectangular homes with longer east-west axis so that there is minimal exposure on these sides. Keep the windows on these walls smaller or none at all.
Homes with windows facing too far south-west are also prone to overheating and adding glare during summer, while windows facing too far south-east will miss solar heating during winters.
Windows facing west get bombarded with heat, especially as the sun sets during summers, so keep west-facing walls short or minimize windows. South-facing windows need to be protected by the mid-day summer sun, making overhangs, awnings and ledges indispensable.
Hope you have a better idea of home orientation now!