Understanding Your Home’s Orientation for Optimal Heating and Cooling Benefits
As you design and build your new home, it’s essential you understand how the orientation and location of your home will impact your home’s energy profile. When you combine good orientation with other features that are energy efficient, like installing a whole house fan for example, you can reduce your need for auxiliary cooling and heating; even eliminate it altogether. This leads to lower energy bills, improved comfort, and reduced greenhouse gas emissions.
Home orientation takes account for the sun’s path variations in the winter and summer as well as cooling breezes and other types of wind. Building orientation is where you face your home so it maximizes different aspects of its surroundings like drainage considerations, capturing a scenic view or street appeal.
With the spike in energy costs, how you orient your home can also help you take advantage of the sun’s free energy and lower your energy costs. In fact, you can save up to 40 percent on heating your home by orienting your home towards the sun.
Tips for Proper Orientation of your New Home
We all know the sun rises in the east and sets in the west. During the winter, midday sun is at a low angle and in the summer at a high angle. You can maximize on this by positioning your home so you can take advantage of the sun’s daily and seasonal movements.
Orient Your Home Longitudinally
This means you should orient your home’s length east-west and orient its smaller width north-south. By doing this, you get the benefits of solar gains during colder months from the south and reduce heat loss on the east and west sides due to the wind.
Plan for Tree Shading
When planning your passive solar design, it’s essential you factor in trees since they not only can provide necessary shade on hot summer days but also can deny natural light in your home when you need it most.
To help with this, you can plant deciduous trees on your home’s south side since in the wintertime they lose their leaves and allow natural light to flow into your home. You can plant evergreen trees on your home’s north side to shade off the summer sun and keep your home cool. If you have existing trees, you should consider their species, age, mature canopy, and growth rate before you orient your new home.
Use an Overhang
The summer sun travels high in the summer sky making it necessary for you to install some type of overhang to cover or shade your windows and block out the sun’s heat when trying to cool your home. An overhang can keep your home from absorbing the sun’s heat and energy in the summer.
Install a Whole House Fan
You can reduce your AC system use and lower your energy bills by installing a whole house fan. A whole house fan is a better option than central or room AC units when you’re looking to be environmentally-friendly.
You can use massing tools and building information modeling in the pre-conceptualization stages of your home’s construction to determine the best size and shape of your home based on the outdoors’s natural conditions.