In a few weeks, summer will come to an end, autumn will start and with it a return to the daily routine, increasingly shorter days, and a gradual decline in temperature. The change of season affects our lives and also our homes: they will receive less sun light and heat. The extent of this decrease will depend on the direction in which the house faces and this is a factor that should always be taken into account when buying or renting a home. Why? We explain below.

If you are looking to rent a flat, bear in mind the direction it faces

By this we mean the orientation of a property with respect to the light produced by the sun. If you are wondering why this is important, there are several reasons:

  • Well- lit spaces look bigger.
  • The sun light and heat a house receives provide greater well-being and quality of life
  • The appropriate orientation of a home can result in savings of up to 70% on energy consumption for lighting and temperature control.

I’m sure you’re wondering which is the best orientation for a house. Well there is no ideal standard. If you go back a couple of lines you will see we speak about “the appropriate orientation of a home”. But “appropriate” depends on several factors such as the location of the rental home, the use to which it will be put, the customs of the occupants, etc.

We also need to bear in mind that the Earth orbits the Sun over the course of a year and rotates around its own axis over the course of a day. So, a northern hemisphere location is not the same as a southern hemisphere one. The location in relation to the equator is also important.

However, focusing on objectives such as optimising energy consumption in our rental home, the amount of natural light and heat coming in, and interior comfort, we can make some general recommendations which we outline below, based on the appropriate orientation for a home in the northern hemisphere.

Orientation of a home | south

This orientation is the most suitable the further north we are, where winters are long and the weather is colder. This orientation offers the most sun light in winter, so is appropriate the further north the region.

In more temperate and warmer regions, it is also a good option for receiving more hours of natural light, although we will also receive more heat, so in the summer the house will be hotter.

Orientation of a home | south-east

This is one of the best options in the northern hemisphere. In fact, it is even more recommendable than the south the closer we are to the equator, in warmer regions. In winter, a south-east facing house receives the most sun shine during the day, especially in the morning. Conversely, in summer, after midday, it receives less.

Orientation of a home | east

With this orientation, our home will receive sun light and heat in the morning which will accumulate and gradually decline over the course of the afternoon. In very hot regions it is the best option, better even than south-east.

In colder, more northern areas, with hard winters, the home will warm up in the morning but the nights will be colder.

Orientation of a home | north-east and north-west

Neither of these orientations is the most appropriate for living all year round.

In winter, the sun does not rise exactly in the east – it does so only in spring and autumn – but in the south-east. This means the house receives no direct sun shine at all during the day in winter.

In summer, in the case of a north-east facing house, it will only receive sun shine during the morning, so this could be a good option for second homes that are occupied only in summer. However, a north-west facing house will receive sun shine in the afternoon.

Orientation of a home | north

This is a good option for office buildings.  It is the only orientation with uniform sun light throughout the day, although in winter it barely receives sun shine and so heat.

Orientation of a home | west

Depending on the climate of the area and our daily routine this could be a good option compared to more suitable orientations in this hemisphere. West-facing homes receive the most light and sun shine between midday and sunset. So, just before nightfall is when the home receives heat.

However, if summers are hot, the home will receive excessive heat during the last few hours of daylight so it will be more difficult to sleep.

Orientation of a home | south-west

With this orientation, in winter a home will receive sun shine in the afternoon. In summer too, but with the sun’s rays being more vertical the building will suffer reheating in the afternoon that will increase the sensation of heat at night.

At Testa Residencial, we believe that when someone is looking to buy or rent a home they should take into account its orientation whilst bearing in mind the factors we mention at the beginning of this post: the use to which the property is to be put, our daily routine, and how much we want to optimise energy consumption. If this applies to you, bear it in mind and save this post in favourites!


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