All about the north face

Ben AshleyThe West Australian
City Beach home by Residential Attitudes.
Camera IconCity Beach home by Residential Attitudes. Credit: Joel Barbitta/Supplied.

North-facing is a term often bandied around in the real estate and building worlds, so it pays to understand what it means and why it matters.

Oswald Homes General Manager Jay Walter told New Homes house orientation should always consider the factors unique to the land on which the home is being built.

“The orientation needs to take advantage of the movement and path of the sun,” he said.

“The better this can be achieved, the better the heating and cooling costs, along with the comfort in the home.”

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While north-facing orientation is a great foundational element in a sustainable home, Mr Walter said taking proper advantage of its benefits required experience and know-how.

“The floor plan could completely wipe out any benefits of a north-facing home,” he said. “The wrong rooms, the wrong windows, the wrong ventilation could still leave the home feeling dark, cold and uncomfortable.

“The best option is for the floor plan to incorporate the location of the northern sun and the path it will follow from east to west throughout the day.”

Kalari Haus by Oswald Homes.
Camera IconKalari Haus by Oswald Homes. Credit: Joel Barbitta/Supplied.

In the worst-case scenario, poor orientation on a block leads to a lack of winter sunlight, while too much low-angle eastern or western sun can lead to overheating in summer.

It all comes down to design, Mr Walter said, which can present challenges in an existing home.

“Home design plays a major role, which can be difficult with an established home, especially if the era of that home doesn’t incorporate these sorts of design principles,” he said.

“A new build provides a great starting point, as a blank canvas means you can take advantage of room locations and where they are best suited.”

When optimal, a home’s orientation can significantly impact energy consumption, as it affects the day-to-day usage of areas within the home and how those rooms are fitted out, Mr Walter said.

“This can include whether a room needs blinds or curtains, windows open or shut, how much time a person may spend in a space and whether they need to use something such as a fan, fire or air-conditioner to increase their comfort, or electrical lighting throughout the day.”

CONTACT Oswald Homes, 1300 217 663, www.oswaldhomes.com.au

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