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LottaLiving.com • Solar orientation
Page 1 of 1

Solar orientation

Posted: Tue Apr 14, 2009 11:59 am
by Dan O.
Though we don't plan on being ready for purchase until late '09 early 2010 my girlfriend and I have been checking out the housing market for quite some time. During our pre-pre-purchase home search I've become somewhat obsessed with solar orientation, considering something with south or south-east exposure the ideal. We've looked at a few homes that were perfect with the exception of having very undesirable western exposure, those examples having the largest area of glass facing west. For how many others has solar orientation played a big role in a house you'd consider purchasing? What can you do to reduce the "hotbox" characteristics inherent to a western exposure home? Is it always worth it to simply pass on a western exposure home in favor of something better?

Posted: Tue Apr 14, 2009 1:20 pm
by home_boy
We didn’t consider the solar orientation of our house when we bought it. The fact that it was oriented away from the street and toward a garden was a big selling point however. Our Cliff May has most of the glass on the south and east. The morning light is delightful, but the summer afternoon light is brutal. One of the great things about the “panelizedâ€￾ construction of these houses is that you can switch out windows and doors and put them where you want them, and that’s exactly what the previous owner did. He removed the west facing windows replacing them with solid wall panels that he took from other parts of the house or that he salvaged from neighborhood remuddles. I would think that this could be done with many post and beam houses, just not as easily. Of course you wouldn't want to compromise the integrity of the house.

Posted: Thu Apr 16, 2009 10:36 am
by rockland
Very important to me.
We looked at hundreds. A few that became possibilities and put on our short
list were eliminated when the important detail of orientation reared its ugly
head.
Most important to us was livability. How the interior worked with our lifestyle.
NYC is complicated. Orientation is often overlooked.
When i walked into this home, it was perfect for us the moment i walked in.
It was slightly overcast that day and February. I spun around a few time in the
living rm and asked the real estate agent for North. She had no idea and had never
been asked that question...
Fortunately with good design all the details were considered and the orientation is
perfect.
But i must add that i still would have bought this house. And dealt with the
consequences. I'm not sure it should be top of the list, but nice if it works out.

Posted: Thu Apr 16, 2009 10:00 pm
by Joe

Posted: Fri Apr 17, 2009 4:42 am
by rockland
^so true Joe.

"All the more expensive builder designed custom homes are poorly sited"

I attempted to post a GoogleEarth image of my neighborhood...(need to download again i think)
Versland built 100 or so scattered among the forest and hills here in the late 50's. Existing farmhouses
built in the early teens needed to be near roads for access. 70's till now are silly clear-cut clumps,
side by side, sterile and artificial.

Posted: Fri Apr 17, 2009 2:13 pm
by Dan O.

Posted: Fri Apr 17, 2009 7:37 pm
by SDR

Posted: Mon Apr 20, 2009 3:24 pm
by hood
anyone heard of anybody using Low E glass replacement on a MCM

Posted: Mon Apr 20, 2009 3:52 pm
by Joe
me

perhaps for another thread

Posted: Mon Apr 20, 2009 3:56 pm
by hood
well there you go, a way to combat orientation

Posted: Mon Apr 20, 2009 4:06 pm
by SDR
Not necessarily as interesting to look at as dappled or slatted shade, though. . .?

Depending on the climate and seasonal variation, winter sun penetration is sometimes desirable. In combination with a heat-sink floor (stone, brick,
dark tile or concrete) it can make up a significant part of the heating cost. But where winters are mild, perhaps low-E glass is the way to go ?

SDR

Posted: Tue Apr 21, 2009 10:37 am
by Joe
all my window walls and french doors have low-e. replacing the glass and and keeping/modifying the original frames was pretty simple and cost effective

Posted: Tue Apr 21, 2009 12:54 pm
by Carlos Araujo
Good topic. Before I bought my first house, I rented in Los Feliz in a spanish 4plex with too much western exposure, too hot. I wasn't focused on orientation for my first house, I fell for a 1920s spanish bungalow in Atwater Village. The northeast facing living room never got light. My second house was a 1940s cottage style in Glendale with great southern exposure into the living room facing my garden but got hot in the summer. My MCM San Clemente townhouse has southeast exposure, 16' of sliding doors, and a 4' long overhang. The orientation is perfect, nice light (and ocean view), and blocks the afternoon sun.

I would recommend southeast, south or southwest could work if you have long overhangs. You'll need to do azimuth calculations for spring/fall and summer.