Site Analysis – This is the first important step. Survey your site and look for the best location for your home. Take into account location of sun rise and set, annual sun angles, existing vegetation (decidiuous or evergreen trees and shrubs), prevailing winds, contours, area noise and annual rain fall.
Orientation: Orient your home to minimize summer afternoon solar heat gain and allow for some winter solar heat gain. The long sides of the home should face south or north. The shorter sides should face east or west. If this suggested orientation is not possible, then the use of natural barriers (trees, hills) should be taken advantage of where possible. Detereming the sun angles at your site enables you to better position your house for less summer solar heat gain and more winter solar heat gain.
Orient your home to take advantage of prevailing breezes during spring, summer and fall. Fresh oudoor air ciruculating through your home reduces the use of mechanical systems (HVAC). Create a “chimney effect” with high and low operable windows, having cool air entering at the lower level and warmer air exiting the upper lever. Research the climate data for your area, call the local airport for inormation or refer to the NOAA website (www.noaa.gov).
This article comes from the Designer Dream Homes magazine.