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Catch the sunshine

21 December 2015


Building orientation is the practice of facing a building to maximise its natural surroundings by capturing scenic views, enhancing street appeal and capitalising on the sun’s free energy.

When selecting a floor plan, the best way to maximise sun and light is to ensure high traffic living and dining areas face the north while service areas (such as a toilet bathroom or garage) should be located on the south side. 

The size and placement of windows and doors should also be considered. As a general rule, use large north-facing windows to make the most of the winter sun and summer shade, with moderate east-facing windows to maximise the morning sun, design west windows to target the afternoon sun, and keep south windows smaller.

Good insulation and the right glazing will help regulate your home’s internal temperature, control glare, and reduce energy costs.

If your chosen site isn’t ideal for catching the sun (i.e. a south-sloping block), Generation Homes can make variations to some standard house plans to maximise the sun’s warmth and light. This can be achieved by using north-facing clerestory windows or alternate glazing. A clerestory is a high section of a wall or roof above the eye level that is fitted with windows to enhance natural light and fresh air.

Top tips for a warm home that cost nothing

  • Keep windows clean.
  • Prune trees to make sure they don’t obstruct the sun in winter.
  • Open curtains to let the sun in during cooler months – shut them, and close windows, once the sun goes down.
  • If you have a thermal mass floor or wall, make sure it is exposed to as much sun as possible. Do not cover the floor with carpets or rugs (or only cover parts of the floor that don’t get the sun).  Let any new concrete floor or walls dry out for several months to get the best results. 
  • If you have an entry hall, keep the doors through to living areas shut off when the front door is open.
  • Check on your insulation - move any piled up insulation back into place, trying to make it fit closely to the wooden rafters and next to pieces of insulation.

Read the full story in this excerpt from the January issue of Your Home and Garden.