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Old 08-05-2014, 09:25 PM
 
Location: Elk Grove, CA
99 posts, read 56,682 times
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Where I live now (Sacramento), the ideal is for the house to face north so that the rear of the home (where most of the windows and glass doors are) is not getting direct sun in the late afternoon and early evenings in summer, yet is getting it during the winter when the sun is low on the southern horizon. I can bbq on my patio at 6 pm in July and be in total shade (as is my rear-installed ac unit).

The worst is for the house to face east because then the rear and patio/deck are blasted on summer evenings, plus the house is lit up at 5 a.m in the summer from light coming in to the front windows.

Is this less so in your area given that you are further south, so the sun is higher in the sky in the winter, spends less time in the west in the summer, and you have more afternoon clouds/rain where direct sunlight hitting rear windows or patios doesn't happen as much? Or is a north-facing house still the ideal?
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Old 08-06-2014, 05:53 AM
 
Location: Greenville, SC
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No, it is not less here. If you prefer a north facing house in CA then you would here, as well. That is how my house faces, and it is great if you like having a backyard garden. The only issue we have is that pesky sun in the late afternoon makes it too sunny on the back covered porch in the summer.
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Old 08-06-2014, 09:55 AM
 
Location: Travelers Rest SC
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I had the luxury of camping on our rural property for a year before siting the house. We have a lot of trees, so early morning, late afternoon sun are less of an issue. Deciduous trees are your friends! We have a mountain view directly north of us, but I rotated the house about 30 degrees to the east, rather than have the back of the house face dead north. Any side of a house that faces directly north will be cold and uninviting, and tend to grow algae or mold. If you get ice or snow, it won't melt, either.

Our house faces south-southeast, but we have a long front porch that shades most of the front. The garage is on the west-northwest side, so it blocks the afternoon sun (if the trees didn't already do so). Our back deck (north-northeast) gets some morning sun, but starts to get shade after noon or so.

As for the sunrise, you'll find it somewhat later here, both due to us being further south, and relatively far west in our time zone. Sunrise right now is about 6:45 AM.
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Old 08-06-2014, 10:04 AM
 
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A lot of house siting in this area will depend on the individual site. At an individual site the combination of topography and views may drive the house to be sited differently. The siting of the house related to sun angles is still a factor but it often takes a back seat on a hilly site or one with a view.

As the previous poster mentioned, deciduous trees can frequently be used to effectively screen out or reduce unwanted summer sun and heat. In the winter, when those same trees lose their leaves, you get more sun to provide warmth during the cold months.

Any time you have the luxury of building a home it is good if you can observe the site in all 4 seasons to get a feel for how best to site the house.
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Old 08-06-2014, 10:53 AM
 
Location: Greenville, SC
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Yes, very true about the individual site making a difference. Our lot is small and treeless, so we don't have that advantage.
I love the fact that the sun rises and sets later here!
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Old 08-06-2014, 01:58 PM
 
Location: Elk Grove, CA
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That all makes sense to me. Any newer suburban lot here is treeless and my 15 year old redwoods to the west of the house are just now big enough to help. The trees to the south are either too far away and/or throw their shade east in the late afternoon.

I agree re the moss on the northern exposure - even in dry California that happens, though it isn't real significant.

Sunrise here now is at about 6.

I'd be buying an existing home, so I'll have to add orientation to the search criteria. I do want a lot with some mature trees or an adjacent forest/woods but would like some open lawn between the house's rear and the trees.
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Old 08-06-2014, 05:16 PM
 
Location: SC
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Good luck finding a house or a road or anything facing due north or south here.

I have been here for 1 year and am still lost all the time. Most of the roads are meandering on an X axis and it really screws with your sense of direction. A freeway that says north, may actually be meandering east or west, and vise versa. You will also find a lot of neighborhoods with homes built on meandering angles due to winding hilly roads or mountain views.

Having lived your entire life in the north where everything is set up on N,S,E,W grids, your internal compass becomes completely off in the Upstate. That N, S, E, W compass in your head becomes constantly flipped at and angle down here while out driving, etc. Its almost like people just built roads over existing old winding wagon trails here instead of using any compass or urban planning grids.

I have noticed that most people down here use mature trees planted close to homes for shade, while up north, trees planted close to houses are normally chopped down to prevent storm damage from limbs falling on homes. You will see a lot of mature trees and heavily shaded yards here.

Last edited by L0ve; 08-06-2014 at 05:24 PM..
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Old 08-07-2014, 04:15 AM
 
Location: Travelers Rest SC
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That's true; where we lived in FL, all of the roads were set up exactly N,S,E,W, and with the tiny lots, so were the houses. Having grown up in rural CT, I much prefer the windy country roads. I intentionally take different roads just to see where they go. No GPS- that would be cheating!
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Old 08-07-2014, 05:39 AM
 
Location: Wandering.
3,443 posts, read 5,337,588 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flgargoyle View Post
That's true; where we lived in FL, all of the roads were set up exactly N,S,E,W, and with the tiny lots, so were the houses. Having grown up in rural CT, I much prefer the windy country roads. I intentionally take different roads just to see where they go. No GPS- that would be cheating!
Same for us with 20 years in FL, and 17 in OK before that ... all of the roads were always laid out on a grid.

I prefer the windy roads (and hills) too.
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Old 08-07-2014, 07:30 AM
 
Location: SC
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That's true, they are fun for those weekend road trips where the main goal is to get lost and explore.
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