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  1. #1

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    Default North facing house - wth?!

    Can someone kindly explain why the preference is for North-facing houses etc. I realise its something to do with the Sun. If its to let heat in through the windows then would it really matter, especially if you have windows on all sides of the house? I've never really understood this.

    I'm thinking of moving into a new place and would like somewhere with big windows and lots of natural light. What should I look for?

  2. #2

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    It's usually a good idea to look for an alignment that allows your most often inhabited spaces facing the northern light.
    One idea is that those spaces will hold the warmth into the evening thereby reducing heating costs. Of course this means you're likely to need some sort of awning or shading during the warmer months.

    Another reason to harness the northern light is that you'll save on lighting bills (should you have enough windows of course). If you do end up with alot of light and heat, try and get some 'casement' windows too. They hinge outwards and are great for catching any cooling breezes.
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  3. #3
    Byrd's Avatar Byrd is offline Moderator

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    By my basic reasoning, it's preferable because ...

    North facing house = gets the morning sun = lots of natural light

    South facing house = gets afternoon sun, darker in morning, bloody hot in summer.

    JB

  4. #4

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    The northern aspect is the favoured one for us here in the southern hemishpere.
    Just means that during winter the sun will fall on the northern side of your house longer during the day.
    Also southerly winds tend to be the coldest so the northern side is more protected.
    Less cold wind, more sun = warm and toasty tenant.

  5. #5

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    In the southern hemisphere, it is considered more beneficial to have a north easterly aspect so that the bedrooms are on the side of the house preferably where the sun comes up, and you don't get the hotter afternoon sun in Summer boiling you.

    Don't have your bedroom or living areas on the western side of the house if you can help it.

    Or...what ______^ he said!! lol!
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  6. #6

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    As well as winter sun, its a chinese (feng shui) thing. A north-facing entrance is good luck or something?

  7. #7

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    Ah okay. I understand it a bit better now. I forgot about wind type and direction also afternoon vs. morning sun/heat.

    Thanks for the help.

    Now on to the nightmare of looking for rentals in Melbourne.

  8. #8

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    It's to do with energy conservation. In the summer, the sun is high in the sky, and having eaves prevents the sunlight from entering your home, and heating it up. In the winter, the sun is lower and the sunlight can get into your house because the eaves are now at the wrong angle to block it. This is only applicable for windows that face the sun the majority of the day, ie north in the southern hemisphere. Windows that face the east get morning sun, and the west the evening sun. If a window doesn't get sunlight at all, then it only acts to dissipate energy from the house; ie wastes energy.

    Basically, the sun's projection on the Earth is a narrow band around the equator, the year round. In the winter, the southern hemisphere is tilted away from the sun, and in the summer we're tilted towards the sun. North facing windows allow you to get the maximum amount of winter sun into your house, and the minimum amount of summer sun.

    It is possible to build a house that requires no heating or cooling year round. This is obviously in the interest of the home owner - low running costs. It isn't in the interests of the builders, because each house has to be individually designed for the particular block of land, and road access.

    Architect built houses are more likely to be the better ones, especially if the architect is competent, and not just flashy.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Silver View Post
    It is possible to build a house that requires no heating or cooling year round. This is obviously in the interest of the home owner - low running costs. It isn't in the interests of the builders, because each house has to be individually designed for the particular block of land, and road access.

    Architect built houses are more likely to be the better ones, especially if the architect is competent, and not just flashy.
    As I was writing this thread I remembered seeing houses like that. I always wondered if the 'no-cooling' in Summer was workable in our climate.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by jdub View Post
    As I was writing this thread I remembered seeing houses like that. I always wondered if the 'no-cooling' in Summer was workable in our climate.
    Living in Brisbane, in summer, it's debatable. I live in a very nicely designed new home, and had to put a split system in the bedroom. I can't stand sleeping in sweat!
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  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by jdub View Post
    As I was writing this thread I remembered seeing houses like that. I always wondered if the 'no-cooling' in Summer was workable in our climate.
    Only if you build underground.

    Then the no heating/cooling thing is plausible.

  12. #12

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    Re: The 'living in Australia without heating/cooling is not possible' argument...

    Absolute trash.

    A well designed house with proper eaves, the right insulation, enough cross ventilation, high enough ceilings, the right colour exterior and roof, the right floor coverings, the right orientation and some super efficient ceiling fans is very very capable of pissing off the need for things like air conditioners.

    With sustainable design being my personal interest area of my degree, nothing angers me more to see the sickening excuse for housing design in our country. We consider where to put the air conditioner instead of how to eliminate the need for it....

    Things need to change...but they sadly wont

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by andrew.wilson View Post
    Absolute trash ... nothing angers me more to see the sickening excuse for housing design in our country.
    Hey settle down Andrew. I was only saying, an underground house needs no heating cooling (if you're happy with the constant 16.8 or whatever degrees, that is). Isn't that right?
    I mean they build underground in places like Coober Pedy because of the heat, don't they?

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by macaholic View Post
    Hey settle down Andrew. I was only saying, an underground house needs no heating cooling (if you're happy with the constant 16.8 or whatever degrees, that is). Isn't that right?
    I mean they build underground in places like Coober Pedy because of the heat, don't hey?
    Sorry, wasn't targeting you or anyone in particular. My anger is directed towards the state of housing design in Australian and the public mind set that we *need* air conditioners.

    You're quite right, those underground houses are a fantastic solution to a very harsh climate - even more reason that we should be able to deal with the climate without heating/cooling in coastal regions.

    Will edit post to make the direction of my anger clearer, apologies again

  15. #15
    sanjay's Avatar sanjay is offline NOT a fanboy

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    Quote Originally Posted by andrew.wilson View Post
    Re: The 'living in Australia without heating/cooling is not possible' argument...

    Absolute trash.

    A well designed house with proper eaves, the right insulation, enough cross ventilation, high enough ceilings, the right colour exterior and roof, the right floor coverings, the right orientation and some super efficient ceiling fans is very very capable of pissing off the need for things like air conditioners.

    With sustainable design being my personal interest area of my degree, nothing angers me more to see the sickening excuse for housing design in our country. We consider where to put the air conditioner instead of how to eliminate the need for it....

    Things need to change...but they sadly wont
    hurry up and get your degree so you can start influencing other architects! nothing pisses me off more than the proliferation of mcmansions in shitty outer suburbs, miles away from everything else, with no eaves or awnings, thin walls, requiring heaps of energy to be consumed not only in heating and cooling but also in the long distances people travel in their large cars to work each day!

    i'll live in an apartment/small house close to amenities over a mcmansion in the sticks, but its just as important for those apartments/townhouses to be developed with environmental responsibility in mind.

    but im no architect, just a law/econ student with concerns about the future of the planet
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  16. #16

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    This page says a Coober Pedy house is around 25 degrees - that'd probably be due to the incandescent lighting, refridgerator, etc. That's when its as much as 50 outside, and it can get damn cold there at night too.
    Anyway, I don't think my local council will let me excavate my house block deep enough to accommodate the amount of floor space I need. Otherwise I'd knock down this old place, and get started ASAP.

    Quote Originally Posted by andrew.wilson View Post
    A well designed house with proper eaves, the right insulation, enough cross ventilation, high enough ceilings, the right colour exterior and roof, the right floor coverings, the right orientation ...
    I agree that the 'inside-out' brick veneer (my house) is ridiculous when it comes to energy efficiency.

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by sanjay View Post
    hurry up and get your degree so you can start influencing other architects! nothing pisses me off more than the proliferation of mcmansions in shitty outer suburbs, miles away from everything else, with no eaves or awnings, thin walls, requiring heaps of energy to be consumed not only in heating and cooling but also in the long distances people travel in their large cars to work each day!

    i'll live in an apartment/small house close to amenities over a mcmansion in the sticks, but its just as important for those apartments/townhouses to be developed with environmental responsibility in mind.

    but im no architect, just a law/econ student with concerns about the future of the planet
    Couldn't agree more. I'm actually doing an Environmental Management/Sustainable Development degree, but sustainable design and architecture is the direction I'm trying to take it in. The impact that can be made there with the smallest of changes boggles the mind.... I have to start a new thread about the book I'm reading at the moment and some of the examples it gives about how simple changes to design can equal some really huge energy savings. Stuff like if all US office buildings were retrofitted with better windows and natural lighting and cooling systems, several hundred coal fired power plants could be shut down etc.

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by andrew.wilson View Post
    Sorry, wasn't targeting you or anyone in particular. My anger is directed towards the state of housing design in Australian and the public mind set that we *need* air conditioners.
    Seeing as it was me who said I lived in a well designed home and wanted to put an Air Con system in my bedroom, I'll take the blame.

    I never said I needed it. I do however want it. Luckily, I get the choice.
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  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by andrew.wilson View Post
    Re: The 'living in Australia without heating/cooling is not possible' argument...

    Absolute trash.

    A well designed house with proper eaves, the right insulation, enough cross ventilation, high enough ceilings, the right colour exterior and roof, the right floor coverings, the right orientation and some super efficient ceiling fans is very very capable of pissing off the need for things like air conditioners.
    Bullshit. It's great for you if you have a high tolerance for hot living conditions but not everyone else does.

    Quote Originally Posted by andrew.wilson View Post
    With sustainable design being my personal interest area of my degree, nothing angers me more to see the sickening excuse for housing design in our country. We consider where to put the air conditioner instead of how to eliminate the need for it....

    Things need to change...but they sadly wont
    Boo hoo, god forbid that people actually design a house that they like.

  20. #20
    Lutze's Avatar Lutze is offline Yatta!

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    I've got to admit to paying a lot of attention to this thread. Being new here it's something that I have no experience of, but a lot of interest in.

    Out here in the wildly exciting west there has been a couple of sustainable living homes developed, there was one in Subiaco and there is now one in Mandurah. It's worth checking your local area as this will have all kinds of information that will probably be relevant to your local climate.

    I will probably upset a few folk here, but I'm impressed with the details that are used here. I'm currently in a 1970's house, double brick with huge eaves etc. To you guys this is all normal, but in the UK house design is nowhere near as advanced as this. New houses are built with 1 layer of bricks with plasterboard interior walls, that's even if your house is attached to next door, and they don't come with any insulation in the roof or walls. (Note this is only for newer homes, say the last 20 years). The only thing that changed in house building in the UK was when it became law to build new houses with double glazed windows as standard.
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