What is Orientation?
Orientation is the positioning of a building in relation to seasonal variations in the sun’s path as well as prevailing wind patterns. Good orientation can increase the energy efficiency of your home, making it cheaper to run for potential tenants and a more comfortable place to live, in return increasing the value or adding strength to your asset.
What to look for when choosing a site?
Ideally, choose a site or home with good orientation for your climatic and regional conditions to maximise the site’s potential. For those sites that are not ideally orientated, there are strategies for overcoming some of these challenges, but for investment homes you want to avoid fixing problems and focus on preventing them.
Choose a site that can accommodate north-facing day light into living areas and open spaces. In tropical areas; northern aspects are not always desirable due to the hot summers sun, exposure to cooling breezes and designs that draw or funnel them through the building are preferable. Insulation, eaves, window sizes and large established landscaping can also play a big factor in cooling the home.
On narrow or smaller sites you have limited options to access northern sun and the potential for overshadowing by neighbouring houses increases. On narrow blocks, careful design is required to ensure sufficient north-facing glass is included for adequate passive solar heating especially in cooler climates.
If possible, a north facing block is desirable to capture the most sun during the winter. The habitable areas such as the living, dining and alfresco areas need to capture this northern sunshine. The layout will play a key part in this. (Refer to Layout & Design)
Take note of the surrounding topography. The block may be tucked away or sheltered by large retaining walls or neighbouring two storey home reducing sunlight and cross flow ventilation. Sheltered or closed off areas can become damp; creating mildew, timber retaining walls can deteriorate and grasses struggle to grow. Termites and other pests flourish in damp conditions and if not managed accordingly (common occurrence with tenants) major problems can develop. This in return will effect your profit margin. (Refer to Pest Control)
Frequently Asked Questions
Captures the winters sun, making a more comfortable and desirable place to live. A good design and layout can reduce energy costs.
Are north facing /orientated blocks worth more?
A block is generally valued by the location, size and usable land (building envelope). North facing properties are often a rare commodity and highly sort after. This will always push north facing properties to a higher price point.
What if I don’t have a north facing block / home?
If you do not have a north facing block it is not the end of the world. Ensure the dwelling has good layout, utilises the land and the surrounding aspects to it’s advantage.