When you buy a home, you have many factors to consider from the size of the home to its layout, amenities, neighbourhood, accessibility and more. One aspect you may want to move to the top of that list is home orientation or the direction in which your home faces.
Why does the direction your home faces matter? There are several reasons, from the amount of sunlight your home receives, energy efficiency of the home, winter snow and ice, presentation of the home and how energy flows through your home. Let’s take a closer look.
The sun stays in the southern sky in the Northern Hemisphere. If you want to wake up to the sun, you will want your bedroom to be exposed to the sun’s early rays. If you want your kitchen to be less hot during the afternoon, you will want to have your kitchen in the opposite direction of the 4 o’clock Sun.
While the sun’s position can vary by as much as 50 degrees from the summer to the winter equinox in the sky, its sunlight emanates from the south in the Northern Hemisphere. Knowing how the sun’s position moves will help you better understand summer light and winter warmth.
Including energy awareness when you plan your housing site can help you maximum savings. Where your house sits on the lot in relationship to the sun will affect your heating and cooling costs. Ideally position your home in such a way that you benefit from seasonal changes.
Homes with a lot of windows are more affected by temperatures. If your glass faces the sun during the hotter parts of the day, your rooms will be warmer, which will be good in colder climates during the winter. Windows in the north side of your home can make your rooms too cold and drafty.
A North-South-Facing Lot
When you are building a home that is on a lot that faces north or south to the street, plan your construction so that the widest sides of your house also face north and south. This results in the ends of the roof ridge line on a rectangular house pointing to the east and west. Add windows on the south side to capture sunlight and warmth if you live in a cooler or cold climate. If you live in a warmer climate, you may want windows instead on the north side of the house.
An East-West-Facing Lot
Similarly, a house that is on an east or west-facing lot, can have the longer side of the home face south. This means that the ridge line is oriented east-west and the narrow side of the house faces the street. You can decide where to place the entrance – either at the street-facing side or on the wider north-south facing side of the house.
If you are lucky enough to have a home with a gorgeous view, whether it is of mountains, hillsides, beaches or skyline, you will want to pay attention to the direction that your home faces is important. Where can you view the sunset from inside your home? You will want to be able to enjoy the view in a primary area of the home such as your living room, kitchen or bedroom, instead of the closet or laundry room.
Winter Snow and Ice
If your house faces north, you may face obstacles such as ice dams and dripping icicles off the roof if your entrance also faces north because of the snow and ice during the winter months. Your driveway, sidewalk and front entrance will be dangerous to traverse. You can avoid and minimize these problems by having a back door installed. With a north-facing house, your backyard will melt before the front does. Also if your garage is in the back of the house, you can go in and out with minimal intrusions and accidents.
The Front Door
The direction that your home faces matters a lot. This extends also to the front door, primarily for presentation and how you invite your guests indoors. Plan your front door placement and also the surrounding area so that your guests do not have to see your mudroom first before entering your home.
Energy Flow: Vastu and Feng Shui
Vastu Shastra is an ancient Indian practice for designing your home to enhance positive energy. For a building to become a home, it needs to radiate positive energy. Each space has its own energy. The flow of energy through a home also matters a great deal and affects your emotions, relationships, productivity and health. Similarly, Feng Shui is a Chinese belief system that emphasizes bringing harmony into the environment using positive energy flow.
Taking these factors into consideration, you can create and occupy a space that you will enjoy calling your home for many years to come.
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