WinterThe Importance of a Home’s Orientation – Who wouldn’t want to live in a very comfortable home with all the creature comforts that the mind could imagine?

If there were no limitations on what luxuries you could have within your home, which ones would you consider to be the most important.

Perhaps a theatre room with a giant screen or maybe a room with a well-stocked bar and a full sized slate pool table would be desirable for you.

I remember from my younger years the saying that you can pretty much have whatever you
want but you
can’t have everything you want.

Generally speaking, with the occasional compromise, for most people in the western world I found this to be close to the truth. If you want something badly enough and you are prepared to focus on what you want and put in the effort to have it materialise, these desires are generally achievable. In reality there are always compromises and much effort and time invested to achieve any goal. With price of time and effort that cannot be returned it is therefore very important that a person makes sure that they choose carefully.

To bring this into focus, if instead of you being able to have everything you want but you were limited to say only three wishes, I’m sure you would think harder and longer about them before you made your decision.

The first of my three wishes in my home would not be a home theatre or a pool room. The creature comfort I’ve found to be most desirable in most homes for most people, when they seriously think about it, is having the internal temperatures of the home in the “sweet spot” all year.

I can’t imagine it being much fun watching a new release movie on a gigantic screen sitting on a leather couch with the temperature at 38 degrees. The thermal comfort of a home is the most important of all the creature comforts because it’s very difficult to enjoy yourself when you are uncomfortably cold or uncomfortably hot. Of course if you could have everything you wanted this wouldn’t be an issue for you but the reality is you can’t have everything.

Since 2003 every proposed new home in Australia has had to meet a thermal performance standard of a minimum of six stars out of a possible ten before building approval will be granted. There are a number of factors that play into how a home will thermally perform.


Insulation isn’t the answer to everything. It is a factor, in fact it is an important factor but in any synergistic organism all the factors play together to give it the outcome. One of the key players in determining the thermal performance of a home is it’s orientation. Understanding the value, that is, the contribution that a home’s orientation plays towards it’s thermal performance before the home is built, is extremely important because, whilst insulation can be fitted at a later date, re-orientating the home cannot be done after construction.

So why is a home’s orientation so important to its thermal performance. Simply put, engineering a home to allow sun access during the winter time to increase the home’s warmth and denying sun access to the home during the summertime allows the home to be warmed in the winter above the cold outside ambient temperature whilst restricting the home’s temperature to be raised above the outside ambient temperature during the summer time.

Is this possible? Why yes it is and not only is it possible but this knowledge has been built into homes that were constructed thousands and thousands of years ago.

There’s nothing new or magical about this information. Why would you choose to put a heater on and use energy to warm a home in the winter time when you can simply engineer the sun to shine through the windows and do the job for free.

That very same home can be designed to deny sun access into the home limiting the maximum inside temperature of the home to the outside ambient temperature or even better to the lower temperature of the internal thermal mass. But let’s stick with the importance of orientation.

Some poorly design homes can be as much as 15 degrees hotter inside the building than the outside temperature simply because of an inappropriate orientation. So what is orientation? A home’s orientation is the direction that it faces in relation to the points of a compass.

The direction that a home should face is determined by factors included in the design which incorporates its shape, the size and types of windows etc etc etc. In fact before you even buy a block of land it is in your best interest to know its aspect.

That is, is it a north facing block or east facing block. What you can fit on the land with the correct orientation will determine the type of home that can be affordably built whilst meeting the minimum six star rating.

My suggestion is that you build a home that will exceeds the six star rating.
They are worth more to sell, more to rent, use a lot less energy and they are
lot more comfortable to live in >>>LEARN MORE>>

John Lynn
Suburban Off Grig Living