North Facing House Orientation

“Is it a north-facing home?”

It’s the question that always makes it to a home buyer’s list of FAQs.

Optimal house orientation is one of the keys to sustainable living. By placing your home in a spot that can leverage the sun’s path and natural breezes, you create a more comfortable space that’s budget-friendly to run.

To find out just how much orientation matters, let’s first explore what it is, why north-facing is often ideal, and what other orientations can offer.

What is house orientation?

House orientation refers to the position or direction your home faces relative to the sun’s path and natural breezes. The key principle behind orientation is passive heating (and cooling). With optimal orientation, you capture the right amount of radiant heat from the sun to warm your house up in winter and an option to block sunlight in summer. This can greatly reduce your reliance on heating and cooling systems, reducing your electricity bills.

IMAGE: Northern Orientation (Source: Department of Public Works)

What about other orientations?

East Facing Orientation
In this orientation, your home enjoys a full morning sun as it rises in the east. This means afternoons and evenings are colder. In cooler climates, east-facing homes will not receive as much sunlight in winter, making the house chilly and potentially uncomfortable.

South Facing Orientation
South facing homes in the southern hemisphere can create dark spaces. They receive no direct sunlight in winter and only early morning sunlight in summer. Without passive heating, condensation can take place and result in mould formation. Common workarounds for southern orientations include double glazing windows and using mirrors or tiles to reflect sunlight into the dark areas of the house.

West Facing Orientation
A western orientation receives direct and horizontal afternoon sunlight, making it an unpopular choice among home buyers. Since it’s quite tricky to combat horizontal sunlight with external shading, your house may retain excessive radiant heat. If unavoidable, keep your living areas away from the western side of the house and install only small windows to avoid unwanted heat gain.
So, does house orientation matter?
Yes, it does! Choosing the right orientation for your home given its location and climate tantamounts to a more comfortable and energy-efficient home. A northern orientation might be ideal but doesn’t mean you can’t make other orientations work. After all, it’s one of many strategies to make a home sustainable -- don’t forget about ventilation, insulation, materials, solar panels, and even double glazing!

Want to learn more about sustainable home designs? Contact us at (07) 3290 8888 or book an appointment at your nearest display centre.