How to design my new custom home by taking advantage of the property.

Arguably the most important energy efficient factor in any home is the orientation.  The direction that your home is oriented will impact your energy bill.  Heating and cooling your home is the largest energy contributor in most homes.  Recent studies have shown that homes oriented in the best possible direction can save 10-15% on heating costs (with no solar features).

The sun moves but your home does not;  We all know the sun rises in the east and sets in the west.  Locating your home is not that easy as there are many other factors to take into account, such as; the time of the year, the location of your home and your natural surroundings. 

There are great times for natural light and some less desirable times for natural light.  For example, in the summer when the sun is high and at it’s warmest you can use architecture and or landscaping to shade and protect your home from direct sunlight.  In the winter when the sun angle is low the sun will shine below the architectural overhangs to allow it to reach deeper into your home.

The summer sunlight is hot for a home and you only truly want the indirect light during the afternoon.  In the winter you want the lower direct light to get into your home to aid in heating the space.

There is a difference between direct natural light and indirect natural light.  This affects how you layout your rooms; the most frequent used rooms should receive an ideal amount of sunlight.  This is also when you need to consider the locations of decks, patios, garages and other locations that want to be exposed less to natural sunlight.

South facing rooms – these spaces allow little sun during the summer and the most during the winter. North facing rooms – these spaces allow the most even amount of natural light and next to none of the unwanted direct summer heat. East facing rooms – these spaces allow the most morning sun.  West facing rooms – these spaces bring in an evening light that can at times be harsh but quickly turning to sunset views.