The Importance Of House Orientation

One of the most important though sometimes neglected characteristics of a house is its orientation to the sun. The orientation of walls and windows of a building greatly influences the energy consumption and saving. The bioclimatic architecture is adapted to the environment, sensitive to the impact it causes in nature, environment, minimize energy consumption and it turns reduce environmental pollution.

Choosing the best direction

When an architect starts thinking about a new home, he should consider the house orientation as one of its fundamental properties. The area and environment will also have a great influence on the direction of the house. Some factors to consider are whether the area is warm or cold, the dominant winds, the natural terrain such as mountains, rivers, vegetation or artificial structure like buildings. Keep in mind that each quality about the surroundings has its advantages and disadvantages.

In cold climates, the building should be designed to capture sunlight in winter and take advantage of the high inertia of some materials such as stone or concrete. The material should absorb heat during the day then release the heat throughout the night. Another way to capture the heat is through the greenhouse effect.

Consider the movement of the sun

The sun always travels from east to west, but its inclination varies depending on the time of year. In winter the sun will be lower and the daylight will be shorter. In contrast, the sun will be higher during summer.

In summer the sun shines more and the west facade will receive the sunlight most of the time. The south will receive much less direct light. However in winter, being lower, the south facade receives nearly all solar radiation. Therefore, to capture as much radiation, the house must have large windows facing south to receive direct light in winter, while windows facing north diffuse but never receive direct light.

The length of sunlight for each orientation in the Northern Hemisphere.

  • South: The sun shines all day in winter, spring, and autumn. In summer it will only receive direct sunlight in the middle of the day when it gives more heat.
  • Southeast: In winter it will receive sunlight all day. For the rest of the year, it will receive sunlight until noon.
  • East: It will have sunlight all year from dawn until noon.
  • Northeast: It will receive sunlight during winter. For the rest of the year, it will receive sunlight until noon.
  • North: The sun will only provide direct sunlight in summer in the early morning.
  • Northwest: It will receive sunlight in winter. For the rest of the year, the sun will shine from noon to sunset.
  • West: It will experience direct sunlight all year from noon to sunset.
  • Southwest: It will receive direct sunlight for the whole day during winter. For the rest of the year, from noon to sunset.

Using this information, you can design your house based on your way of life. For example, you eat breakfast in the kitchen and want it to be warm. It is better if your kitchen will face south to southeast, you will have natural light and direct sunlight in the morning. If you want to study in the evening because you will have work tomorrow, then it is best that your room will orient to the west.