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Old 11-08-2007, 09:29 PM
 
238 posts, read 886,121 times
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Default Which way to face the house...

Which is the best way to face a home (if building in the south) for optimum exposure in Summer & Winter? I know there can be variables like a tree line but is there a preferred way to placing the home? Currently, I live in the NJ & the back of my house faces west...we bake in the summer, esp the second floor..then the sun changes for the winter & we don't get the warmth when we could use it!
Our next home is most likely going to be new construction so I am trying to figure out the best way to place the home on the lot & to pick a lot that offers optimum exposure! Thanks all!
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Old 11-08-2007, 09:40 PM
NCN
 
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The sun rises in the East and sets in the West. Are you looking for more sun or less sun? If you put your bedrooms toward the East, they will get the morning sun and be cooler in the afternoon. So I would think that the living room toward the West would be the best. Our home has the living room facing North and we can't have plants in the livingroom because they get no sun exposure. We have always wished that our house was turned around with the bedrooms toward the East and the livingroom toward the West.
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Old 11-08-2007, 10:15 PM
 
Location: Jax
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I'm in the South, and my preference if at all possible is East-West with the front of the house facing East.

In a typical layout, this will give you:

Morning (East) light in the "public" areas - possibly the living room, dining room, kitchen, etc.

Evening light (West) in the back of the house - ***sunsets in the backyard! *** Also, bedrooms tend to be in the back of the house and for myself, I don't want the light and heat blazing into the bedroom in the morning.
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Old 11-08-2007, 11:15 PM
 
Location: Johns Creek, GA
6,647 posts, read 20,724,030 times
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I wish I could remember where I saw this but, here goes (from memory)
The optimum compass direction for a house is facing N.E. Back of house would be S.W.
Generally, the most "windowed" area of the house is the back. In the winter when the sun is low to the southern horizion, you get optimal exposure and "heat gain". During the summer with the sun more overhead you have less "heat gain". You can also reinforce that winter heat gain with a large stone/concrete interior wall that is exposed to the sun during the day. Then at night it gives back by radiating off the heat. Also for winter protection- check for the direction of prevailing winds and create a buffer with large volumous evergreen trees.
Also, to further enhance the summer effects- use a wider than normal soffit, to further shade the windows. I'd probably stay away from vaulted/ 2 story rooms- to improve the efficiency of the mechanical systems.
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Old 11-09-2007, 02:24 AM
 
Location: Cary, NC
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I thought you always want southern exposure for cool light. I currently have my house facing east (morning sun in the front). The back where the living room is is always too hot.
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Old 11-09-2007, 05:47 AM
 
1,024 posts, read 2,821,903 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by K'ledgeBldr View Post
The optimum compass direction for a house is facing N.E. Back of house would be S.W.
This is exactly the direction our house faces and I love it!! The sun basically rises in the front corner of the house and sets in the real corner.

I so prefer this than having direct sunlight in either the front or back. When my house faced west, I couldn't even open the blinds in the kitchen and family room each morning because the sun would blind you (the back of the house), and then at around 3 p.m. every day (in the summer) I would have to run upstairs and close all the blinds and put on the ceiling fans because the afternoon sun would blare in until it set and make the upstairs so hot.
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Old 11-09-2007, 01:06 PM
 
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Wink Much more is possible

Simply the correct overhang of the roof will preclude direct sunlight into a room in the summer and allow it come winter. However that but a fraction of what is possible.

A well designed and situated house will be very comfortable and inviting, and also very energy efficient.

The vast majority of houses in the United States are not. In most cases boxes designed in mass by people who have never seen the actual site, the houses plopped down without regard to sun or most anything else beyond the developers notion on a blueprint.

In other words, you can do a LOT better.

You might want to start by investigating what is possible:
Green Home Building: Index

The Earthship houses of Taos, New Mexico are very innovative in this regard:
Earthship Biotecture » Earthship Systems » the engine of the earthship - water, electricity, sewage, comfort in any climate

Obviously some of these houses are not to everyone's taste. No matter. Most of the principles are applicable to any residence, and one might have a perfectly normal house in appearance and style that is also very comfortable and energy efficient. Even if you don't care at all about the environment, taking it into account in design will provide the comfort and cost you desire.

If all this seems daunting, it might be as a lot of details which can make a big difference. But no problem there, either. The best course might be to employ the services of an architect well versed in Green building principles. Preferably with direct experience . . . and happy clients.

The end result, a home that could even cost you less than a typical, conventional house, with far more comfort and utility.
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Old 11-09-2007, 02:43 PM
 
11,853 posts, read 11,150,452 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by K'ledgeBldr View Post
I wish I could remember where I saw this but, here goes (from memory)
The optimum compass direction for a house is facing N.E. Back of house would be S.W.
Generally, the most "windowed" area of the house is the back. In the winter when the sun is low to the southern horizion, you get optimal exposure and "heat gain". During the summer with the sun more overhead you have less "heat gain". You can also reinforce that winter heat gain with a large stone/concrete interior wall that is exposed to the sun during the day. Then at night it gives back by radiating off the heat. Also for winter protection- check for the direction of prevailing winds and create a buffer with large volumous evergreen trees.
Also, to further enhance the summer effects- use a wider than normal soffit, to further shade the windows. I'd probably stay away from vaulted/ 2 story rooms- to improve the efficiency of the mechanical systems.
Thanks, I found out that during the winter months, most of the winds are in the south, SE, and SW direction. Therefore I should keep doors to the south? and less windows on the northside? as that is where the winter winds will be hitting my home. More windows on the southern face of the house to maximize heating as well!
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Old 11-09-2007, 05:58 PM
 
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In NJ our house faced west (front)-blinds always closed in afternoon and a/c pumping in summer. Our new home now faces north to front and south/SE in back-perfect.
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Old 11-09-2007, 09:47 PM
 
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Red face Placement

I read somewhere that the native people placed their door facing east, the sleeping area to the north, kitchen/food area to the south, alter/worship area to the west.http://pics3.city-data.com/forum/ima...es/biggrin.gif Happy Home - Dawn
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