Find Out Why Good House Block Orientation is Important When Buying Land
Good design starts with choosing a house block with the right orientation. The right house block orientation is one that allows the main daytime living and outdoor areas to be facing north. When looking to buy a block of land, a north facing yard should be the number one priority in order to take advantage of the many benefits to your house design and running costs of your home.
Best House Block Orientation
So why is northern house block orientation so important? There are two main reasons which are to do with natural light and energy efficiency. Both of which go hand in hand.
For obvious reasons house designs tend to have the living areas facing private open space which most often is the back yard. With the popularity of alfresco areas most building designers like to have the living and outdoor areas working as one. The easiest way to bring the outdoors in is with large windows and doors. Here is a great example of this type of house design and block orientation.
If you purchase a block with a north facing yard, you will have taken a major step towards building a dream home that will not only be more energy efficient but also a delight to live in. A block with the right orientation will use the sun to heat the home in winter and exclude the sun in summer to prevent it heating up. The proper use of this principle will go a long way to achieving a 6 star energy rating homes with out too much additional cost.
House block orientation that allows solar access from the north allows for the living areas to be light filled and airy. In the summer when the sun is high in the sky the windows and walls are shaded by the use of eaves and shade screens. By excluding the summer sun from the house it remains cooler for longer reducing the reliance on artificial cooling. In the winter when the sun is low in the sky these same windows and walls will capture the sun and allow the room to be warmed. If the home is properly designed the sun will heat the slab floor and then at night when the temperature drops the slab will radiate the stored heat back into the home. This reduces the requirement for artificial heating.
When Buying Land in Melbourne
Melbourne is considered a cool climate, so it is best to design a home around keeping warm by trapping as much heat as possible in the home.
If you were to walk through two identical houses, one with south facing living areas and the other with north facing living areas, the later would be a delight to be in year round. There is nothing nicer than having a room bathed in winter sunshine even if its cold outside. The back yard will also be in sunshine year round. This same principle will apply to a well designed alfresco. In summer a high sun will shade the area giving relief from the summer sun. This same area would be drenched in sunshine during winter when the sun is low in the sky. Capturing the sun in this way makes it possible to use this area year round.
On the other hand a south facing block will have the living areas and back yard in shade for most of the day. This will mean that in winter the yard will remain damp and cold. The home would need to use more heating as the sun is excluded from the home and there would also be a need for more artificial lighting required for longer periods.
Poor orientation and lack of appropriate shading can exclude winter sun and cause overheating in summer by allowing low angle east or west sun to strike glass surfaces at more direct angles. This all contributes to more exorbitant heating, cooling and lighting bills. Achieving 6 star a energy rating in a home with the wrong block orientation would be far more difficult and expensive to achieve.
What if Your Block is Not North Facing?
Obviously not all blocks in a subdivision can have the rear yard facing north. While ideal orientation is solar north, blocks with orientations of up to 20° west and 30° east of north still allow good passive sun control. A block with a less desirable orientation could still take advantage of the north sun with clever and innovative design. This may require the introduction of light courts or placing the main outdoor areas to the side, rather than the rear of the home as an example.
For more information of this very important topic read the following chapter on the government “Your Home” web site.