House orientation is a surprisingly important feature when buying or designing and building a home! Also known as the “aspect effect”, the direction which your home faces has a variety of benefits. Understanding which direction the front of your house or apartment faces (North, East, South or West) can enable you to take advantage of things like seasonal variations to improve the comfort and quality of your home. Let’s see how this works:
If your home faces North
A bright, naturally lit home is always more appealing than a dark, gloomier one relying primarily on internal light fittings. Capturing sunlight from the northern side is the optimal orientation, to allow the maximum amount of light and warmth to infiltrate your home all day long. During winter this becomes a cost-effective way of increasing heating in your home, and in summer it’s easy enough to shade the northern facades to limit direct sunlight.
If your home faces East
Particularly in the suburbs, where homes come with backyards that are great for family time, it’s ideal to have your backyard on the western side of your home as that’s where the afternoon sun will be. This means that your home is facing East, which is also lovely for taking full advantage of the warm morning sunlight.
If your home faces South
This orientation gets the least amount of sunlight and can lead to a dark home if there aren’t enough open areas and large windows on the other side to allow the light to flow through. However, there may still be reasons to have a South facing home, such as if there are water or mountain views you might want a particular side of your house to be pointing towards.
If your home faces West
With a western facing home, afternoon sunlight tends to come through the front in a horizontal manner as the sun sets. This can make your home overly hot during the summers and can be uncomfortably bright. Shades and awnings would need to essentially cover the entire front-facing windows to block this out.
Whatever direction your house or apartment faces, there are ways to effectively manage and regulate both light and heat to ensure a comfortable home. However, there are definitely orientations that are preferable, if you have the choice!