Solar orientation and room layout


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Solar orientation (west, east, north and south) denotes primarily the sun position throughout the day and the year. Rooms should be located to take best advantage of the sun. However, sunlight are not always desirable to enter into the interior space. In some cases (for example during the winter) it is advantageous while in other cases (for example during summer) they should be blocked. 

Generally, living areas should face south (for the north hemisphere) while service areas such as garages, laundries, bathrooms, storage rooms should face north. 

Sunlight from east and west are low in the horizon and can penetrate deeply a room but in relation to sunlight from south do not last long.  

East orientation, it is considered a good and advantageous orientation. It offers natural light and heating during the morning hours and refreshes rooms without overheating them. East facing rooms benefit from early morning solar gain thus they are ideal as bedrooms, as kitchen and as brekfast areas. During the summer and the afternoon, east orientation allows the natural cooling of a room.

West orientation is generally undesirable. During the summer and the afternoon it causes the overheating of a space. West-facing rooms should be protected from heating (ideally from outside) by installing shading systems, curtains, awnings, etc. Though, a west-facing room is a warm room and could be comfortable during cold months. West-facing rooms suffer from heating and excessice glare and are not suitable as working & studing rooms or as kitchen (in the kitchen extra heating is produced from the cooking)

North orientation(for the north hemisphere) offers stable and low-level daylight most of the day. The north side is exposed to cold winds and cold rain. Inevitably, the walls should be insulated and the openings as small as possible. Windows and doors should be insulated and double glazed. However, during the summer, north-facing rooms are cool and comfortable. North facing rooms are ideal as bathrooms, workrooms, laundries, stair, storage areas, etc. 

South orientation (for the north hemisphere) is considered the most advantageous for all functions and rooms. South orientation should be selected for those rooms that the family spends most of its time in them (for the living room). South-facing rooms enjoy good daylight most of the day and passive heating in winter. The openings (windows, balkony doors, etc) can be large. Moreover, during winter sunlight are low in the horizon and penetrate deeply in the interior space while during the summer, sunlight are high and they can be blocked easily with a horizontal overhang.

solar orientation



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