Whats the Correct Passive Solar Orientation for a New Home in Western Australia? photo

Whats the Correct Passive Solar Orientation for a New Home in Western Australia?

When you're thinking of building a new home in Western Australia the solar orientation needs to be considered to maximise energy efficiency. It would be a mistake to rely heavily on artificial heating and cooling sources for the home when correct orientation from the outset could have provided the home owner with hundreds of thousands of dollars in reduced energy costs over the life of the building. In the South West around Bunburry, Busselton, Dunsborough and Margaret River we can have some extremely cold winters and extra hot days in summer so planning solar orientation well is critical.

The short answer to this question is - face the living areas to the North. If you can't face North, face North East. If you can't face North or North East, find another block! So why is this so critical? Firstly the sun is low in the northern sky in the winter, and that's when you want the light in the building. So facing to the North lets maximum winter sun onto your windows and external doors and thereby into the home. Secondly if you also face to the East it allows the morning sun into the building which is the time you are trying to warm up the home after a cold night and conversely keeps the hot summer afternoon sun out of the home.

Obviously at M Sky Homes we include insulation in the walls and ceilings of the home as required to achieve the thermal performance star rating requirements of the local authorities but nothing can replace the benefits of natural light entering the home during the winter and keeping it out during the summer. Unfortunately the building industry have been slow adopters of these solar dwelling principles and you can drive around any suburb in Dunsborough and feel sorry for the occupants who didn't following the basic passive solar heating principles in their building practices. 

The orientation of the roof line is also an important part of building a smart home and this can be achieved by running the longest part of the ridge line directly east west in orientation. If the building envelope is aligned in this direction, again it creates the greatest potential for natural light to assist heat gain in the winter and reduce heat gain in the summer.

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