Understanding Lot Orientation & Sun Exposures

Understanding Lot Orientation & Sun Exposures

Posted: November 03 2021

Everything You Need To Know About Lot Orientation & Sun Exposures!

Which direction do you want your home to face? Let’s talk about natural light and how it affects your interior space!

East Sun Exposure.

We all know the sun rises in the East, and if your bedroom has East facing windows the sun may cause an unwelcome awakening if you’re not a morning person, or work night shifts! East sun is direct in the AM and warm in colour. The warm rays of light are ideal for intensifying a warm interior colour palette and toning down a cool palette. If you’re a morning person, we suggest capitalizing on your bedroom and kitchen space to be East facing.

West Sun Exposure.

The opposite of East sun exposure means you catch the direct light in the afternoon and evening come sunset! This sunlight is cooler in the AM, and ultra-warm in the PM. If you have a cooler colour palette in your space, your blue hues will be intensified during the morning and afternoon, and in the evening your blues will be completely toned down with red and orange rays. If your home is dressed in a warm colour palette, it will look extremely red-orange during the second half of the day! If you’re a backyard person, and work a nine to five, a West facing yard is for you. The only downside (in our opinion) to West facing homes is the heat! Talk to us about all your home cooling options so you catch all your zzz’s during the long Summer evenings.

North Sun Exposure.

Northern sun is cooler, indirect and provides your interior with softer diffused natural light. When your home has a northern orientation, most rooms and furnishings will cast shadows and provide little to no glare (this may be beneficial for your home office!). When designing your home and choosing your lot orientation we suggest you prioritize the rooms you spend the least amount of time in, such as laundry, spare bedrooms, storage and even flex spaces to face North. Northern sun will create a moodier interior setting with more shadow, and less warmth. The real positive with a North facing home is you won’t overheat when it comes to long summer months, (opposed to West or South orientations)!

South Sun Exposure.

South exposure is considered the sought-after orientation for several reasons–however the two main reasons are: natural light all-day and solar heat gain. When your home has a south facing orientation, you’re exposed to warm natural light all day. This is beneficial for most rooms throughout the day, although we suggest you discuss window coverings with our interior designers at our in-house design studio as some rooms like bedrooms, offices or bonus rooms with TV’s are best without strong sunrays and glare! Southern sun will make your rooms warmer when it comes to colour too. When decorating, and choosing paint, bear in mind all your reds, orange and yellow hues will be intensified, and your cooler palettes like blues and greens will be toned down and less intense.

Energy Efficiency, Heat & Solar Gain.

The first choice to be made is the orientation of your new home. Most lots, these days, are oriented East-West. If you can, get a home oriented North-South; this will minimize the amount of west-facing windows you will have. West-facing windows are a major source of overheating in a home. During the Alberta summer, we have a lot of exposure to low west sun. The more windows you have facing this direction, the more your home will overheat. If this is your scenario on the lot you’ve chosen, we recommend asking your builder for windows with a low Solar Heat Gain Coefficient. Sunstop® and windows with higher ‘R-Value’ are two common solutions that will reduce the amount of radiant energy entering your home by as much as 75%!

Your home orientation and windows can also be designed to take advantage of the wind, providing free cooling. In Alberta our winds are predominantly from the West. Setting up your window openings to capitalize on this is a great help on those hot days & nights, we can work with you to optimize on this opportunity!


Most Recent Blogs