Build House based on House Orientation

Optimal residential sites

As a rule, sites to the west and south of towns and cities are preferred for residential development in areas where the prevailing winds are generally southerlies or westerlies (e.g. many parts of western Europe). This means the houses receive fresh air from the countryside while urban pollution is dissipated to the north and east. These latter areas, therefore, are not desirable for housing and should instead be considered for industrial buildings. Note that in mountains areas or by lakes the wind behavior described above may be different. For example, sunny southern and eastern slopes in the north and west of a city located in a valley basin could be sought-after locations for the construction of private homes.


Plots located on mountain slopes

mountain slope

Plots located on the lower side of the mountain roads are particularly favourable because they offer the possibility of driving directly up to the house, where a garage can be located, and leave a tranquil rear garden with an uninterrupted view and sun. On the upper side of the street, this is far harder to provide and walls and concrete ditches are usually necessary behind the house to guard against falling rocks and collect rainwater running off the mountain ⟶④.


Plots located by water

The potential nuisance from mosquitoes and foggy conditions make it inadvisable to build too close to rivers and lakes⟶④.


Orientation relative to the street

orientation house to the street

For separate house with boundary wall, the most favourable plots are usually south of the street so that all auxiliary rooms, together with the entrance, are then automatically positioned facing the street. This solves any privacy problems because it leaves the main living and sleeping areas located on the quiet, sunny side (east – south – west), facing away from the street and overlooking the garden. If the plot has sufficient width, large French windows, terraces and balconies can be used to good effect ⟶①.

Plots are generally narrow and deep in order to keep the street side as short as possible. If the plot is situated to the north of the street, the building should be located toward the rear, despite the extra costs of a longer access. This is in order to take advantage of the sunny front garden area. Building on such plots can be impressive when seen from the street ⟶①.

Plots on the east of streets running north – south ⟶② are the most favourable in areas with westerly prevailing winds because gardens and living areas then face east, which is the most sheltered. Additionally, it is less likely that there will be neighbouring buildings close enough to obstruct low sun in the east. To take advantage of winter sun (low in the southern sky), the buildings must be situated close to the northern boundary so a large area of terrace can be south-facing. Plots on the west of the north – south street should be planned in a way that maximises the amount of southern sunlight received and gives an unobstructed view from the terrace. This might require the house to be built on the rear boundary ⟶②. The most favourable plots for houses in the streets running in other directions are shown in ⟶⑤.

orientation location

Plots adjacent to existing houses built on the sunny side have the advantage that the position and ground-plan of the new house can be designed in a way that ensures the sun not be obstructed at any time in the future.


Room orientation

room orientation

Whenever possible, all living and sleeping areas should face towards the garden on the sunny side of the house, with the utility areas on the opposite side ⟶③. This allows rooms that are occupied for the most time to take advantage of natural solar heating. Use of a local sun diagram will indicate when the sun will shine into a room, or a part thereof, at a particular hour for any reason. This information may also be used to decide which way the building should be orientated and where it should be placed to avoid being shaded by neighbouring buildings, trees and the like.

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  • How to Build an Energy-saving House – i-deahouse December 1, 2017 at 3:04 pm

    […] Example: When designing a home please consider the condition of the house’s environment. (See: Build House based on House Orientation). With this you can position the rooms at the best possible […]


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