The orientation of your home may not necessarily register with you as something of importance when buying or building a home, however it is critical to maximising energy efficiency and the value of your property.
Have you ever been in a house that felt dark even with lights on? Or have you ever lived in a house that seemed to become cold quickly with the heater having to stay on longer in the colder months? Energy efficient design plays a key role in how big your energy bills will be and even how you enjoy living in your new home.
A poorly designed and orientated house will have key living areas shrouded in darkness increasing the cost of running the place with lights having to stay on longer during the day and also the cost of keeping it warm. Whereas a well-designed home will decrease its running costs by using as much natural light as possible and using Mother Nature to its advantage!
TOP 5 TIPS
1. Thermal Mass
A house which is orientated to capture sunlight from the north delivers radiant heat into the house and makes a big difference when it comes to energy consumption. By maximising the amount of sunlight falling onto hard surfaces such as polished concrete or tiles helps transmit as much thermal heat as possible during the cooler months. These hard surfaces retain heat longer than materials such as wood and carpet.
2. Utilising natural light
You can utilise the amount of natural light which comes into your property through a number of ways includes hi-lites windows, skylights as well as normal windows. All of which it is a very good idea to have these double glazed to help reduce heat loss.
3. Utilising the view
At the end of the day when you are paying a premium price not only for the location but also for the views (e.g. coastal) it pays to find a way for you to get the most out of the block!
When looking to build in southerly climates such as in Melbourne or Hobart then you would need to look at ways to maximise the northern sunlight. Whereas if you were looking at building a house in the northern parts of Australia such as in Darwin or Cairns you would look at ways to reduce radiant heat by other ways including louvres, blinds and the shade of trees.
5. North, East, South, West
Many people will consider north having the most impact with direct sunlight. However the ideal way to face your yard is to face it west due to the afternoon sun having more impact on the dwelling. The key is to also know that the sun shines down at an angle of 67 degrees in summer but only 32 in winter. By allowing your windows to be set high on the north side and also by incorporating overhang shading, will give you privacy, warmth in winter and shading in summer. Something else to consider if designing a double storey house is to have the stairs located on the northern side with large windows to capture as much of the suns natural heat.
When buying or designing your new home, always consider orientation, you will save on energy bills, increase lifestyle comfort and add value to your property.