Home Orientation Matters

In the design and construction of homes, the orientation matters. Orientation is the position of the house in such a manner as to maximise certain benefits of the elements of nature like cool breezes and sunlight, to achieve a higher degree of comfort at a minimum or a lower cost.

Good Orientation Means Comfortable, Cheaper Homes

Nowadays, most buildings are built to add beauty to the neighbourhood, others are built to carefully place windows aimed at capturing impressive views. With modern trends, it is important that we take into account the positioning of the sun, the direction of the wind, shade and vegetation with respect to the orientation of our homes. Good home orientation boosts energy conservation levels in the home, resulting in a more comfortable and cheaper place to reside.

Requirements of Good Home Orientation.

Good orientation results in a significant reduction in the cooling and heating requirements. Thereby reducing utility bills and minimising greenhouse emissions.
Good orientation for the state of Victoria seeks to exclude the sun during summer, and increase exposure to cool breezes. In winter the opposite is true, maximising sun exposure and sheltering from cold winds.

When choosing a building site for your new home, select a site with an orientation that suits the climatic conditions of your region.

In hot and dry climates, especially when there are no heating requirements, the orientation of the home should be such as to exclude direct sun impact and increase exposure to cool breeze all year round.
In places where ideal orientation cannot be achieved, like in built up urban areas, a home with high energy efficiency can still be achieved with a careful design.

Choosing the Best Home Orientation.

Itemise your cooling requirements in order of priority. Your passive cooling or passive heating requirements will be based on the climate in that region. You can consult an architect or a meteorologist to clarify if you are not sure.

Research the local climate. This will require you to do the following:

  • Check the seasonal and regular temperature ranges
  • Check humidity levels
  • Direction of winds and breeze
  • Characteristics of the seasons
  • What effect has the local geographic features on climatic conditions?

What impact does other buildings and landscape features have on your site?
The true solar north for your region must be established. This is essential for all climatic considerations. Alternatively, using a compass will establish the magnetic north, then subtract or add the magnetic variation for your area to get the solar north.

On purchasing a piece of land, familiarise yourself with that property before erecting any structure. Get to know the position of shades in summer and the position of the sun at noon in winter. This will help you in proper orientation of your home to suit your preferences.

Good orientation of a home involves taking into consideration passive solar gain and passive cooling. Orientation for passive heating is about using the sun as a means of heating the home at no cost, while orientation for passive cooling minimises hot winds and unwanted sun, allowing in cool breezes.
In summary, the orientation of your home should improve the level of comfort significantly, reduce cooling and heating bills and greenhouse emissions resulting from secondary heating.

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