The importance of window orientation when designing your home

Affinity R&D Team

These days everyone is looking for ways to reduce their heating and cooling bill.

So when you’re designing a house, there’s one big way that you can set your new home up to be more energy-efficient, right from the start—and that’s by carefully choosing the orientation of your windows.

Where the windows in your Perth home are placed, and the direction in which they face, can have a huge impact on the passive heating and cooling of your rooms. Different window orientations allow different levels of sunlight, heat, and cooling breezes into your home, and can make all the difference in designing a comfortable, energy-efficient property.

However the sun shifts throughout the year, so designing a home needs to take into account the changing seasons and light. Poor solar access and low natural light can serve to keep your home feeling cold—which isn’t so bad in summer, but it can feel like a freezer in winter.

Let’s take a look at what different window orientations can achieve for your new build, so you know what to discuss when looking to engage Perth window suppliers.

North-facing windows

In Australia the sun’s path is angled to the north. So north-facing windows deliver more radiant heat to your home. A northern orientation for your windows in Perth means they receive some amount of sun at all times during the day—without getting the sun’s full glare.

North-facing windows are the ideal orientation for larger, regularly-used rooms, such as lounge rooms, living and dining areas, and the kitchen. Positioning your windows to the north allows you to receive sun and warmth from sunrise to sunset. It’s ideal for receiving more winter sun to keep your home warmer in winter. And in the summer, adding a shade or window awning to your home can protect you from the harshest of summer sun.

However, be sure to keep eaves to a depth of 600mm, otherwise in winter they can block out low sunlight, and actively work against you.

The Julimar Retreat, Bullsbrook (The Rural Building Co.)

East and west-facing windows

East and west-facing windows capture either the full glare of the morning or afternoon sun. But this isn’t ideal during a blistering Australian summer. It means your rooms heat up considerably throughout the day, and you get the full strength of the sun directly into your eyes. So if you’re still considering installing east or west-facing windows, make sure they have adequate shading to cut out the strong morning or afternoon sunlight.

South-facing windows

South-facing windows don’t receive any direct winter sunlight. And during summer, they only receive a little sunlight early in the morning or later in the afternoon. This makes them great for views, rather than providing any heating benefits.

So when looking at custom windows in Perth, consider using a low e-glass such as E-Tech Lite, or double glazing. This means less opportunity to drain heat from your home, while giving you the option of opening them up to take advantage of cooling southern breezes.

The Julimar Retreat, Bullsbrook (The Rural Building Co.)

Window orientation in high-density areas

When designing your home in a high-density area, all good window suppliers in Perth will recommend you pay more attention to your house’s orientation, rather than blindly following the latest trends in window design. After all, you can’t control the size and shape of your neighbours’ houses, and existing homes or buildings will likely obscure the sun and wind from your home.

But it’s still possible to create an energy-efficient home. 

If you’re surrounded by tall buildings, worrying about full sun is less of an issue. So you can be more confident installing east- and west-facing windows. However, try and avoid full-length windows. The lower half will typically be in permanent shade, delivering faster heat loss. Raising the height of your window sills means less wasted area, and more chance to keep in the warmth.

South-facing windows placed at a high level can be used as vents, and take advantage of air currents to cool down your home.

Finally, when installing custom windows in Perth, we recommend you use a low-e glass such as E-Tech Lite, or double glazing, to keep in the warmth, and improve the thermal performance of your home in low light conditions.

An important aspect to consider with awning windows is the sash and how far it protrudes externally. This may affect pathways or alfresco areas outside your home.

If you would like further help in choosing window styles for your home, don’t hesitate to contact Affinity Windows, the Perth windows installation experts.

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