Build,  Purchase,  Remodel

Which Direction Should Your House Face?

Which direction would you like your house to face for the best view? Is your favorite view facing north, east, south or west? You may have the most beautiful view! However, if it is south facing; then you may need to draw the curtains during the summer months to shade from the blaring sunlight. The orientation of the sun in relation to your house will hugely impact livability; in ways you may not of thought of before.

It’s a little more complicated than just knowing the sun rises in the east and sets in the west:

“Thus, the Sun will rise north of true East and set north of true West during summer whereas during winter, the Sun will rise south of true East and set south of true West. The exact location where the Sun will rise and set will vary widely depending on [where you live].”

Jagadheep D. Pandian, Astronomer at the Indian Institute of Space, Science and Technology

Heating & Cooling

How you orient your house can have numerous advantages if done correctly. It is important to consider the location of windows in relation to the orientation of the sun. Capitalize on the shade in the summer and sunlight in the winter. If designed correctly, you will save money in heating and cooling costs.

Keep in mind the natural elements of your property as well when you meet with your architect. Evergreen trees, for example, will shade your property in the summer. However, their shade will not allow the winter sun to quickly melt away frost, ice or snow. Strategically planted deciduous trees can help shade areas of your home in the summer; and allow sunlight in the winter when it is needed most.

Outdoor Living

One thing to consider is that summer months have a longer, hotter sunset. If you spend any time outside grilling dinner or enjoying the summer evenings; then having your outdoor living space facing west would make for some extra hot summer evenings. If the back of your house needs to face west; then consider locating your outdoor living area on the north side of your house. This would provide a cooler place to enjoy the hot summer evenings.

A south-facing covered area would be a great place to enjoy some winter evenings. Possibly add a fireplace under the covered area and you will be set. Ideally, having two outdoor living spaces; a north facing uncovered area in the summer and south facing covered area for the winter; is a great way to enjoy your outdoor living year-round. As always, the direction of your house in relation to the sun will change slightly throughout the year.

It is important to have your property analyzed for accurate sun orientation and discussed with your architect.