Will my house get sun?
You might be so worried about the price and the layout that you don’t stop to think about how much sun the house will get. Being from the south of Spain, brightness, and sunshine is all what I want in my house. It’s actually one of the first things I look at when assessing a property. It helps me filter out properties right from the beginning.
The house might have an incredible lounge, but if it’s north-facing and it will be in shadow all year long… I’m just not interested. Would you? Maybe you would! and that is ok. It depends on your lifestyle and preferences. We all have preferences, but it’s important to ask yourself if the house will get enough sun because this will have a direct impact on how you feel living in it. A great space with the wrong orientation it just doesn’t work.
Let me give you a couple of useful tips to help you understand how the sun travels around your home. It’s up to you to decide if that is ok for you or not.
Find your house in Google Maps
to find out the aspect of your property, Google Maps is the ideal place. Input the address and Google will show you the house correctly positioned with the North always at the top by default. The little red triangle at the bottom right-hand side of the screen indicates where the North is. If you move or rotate the map for some reason, just consider that the red triangle is always pointing North.
Trace the sun path around the house
You can do this with your imagination or just by tracing some fast lines on a piece of paper. Follow the next steps to help you out.
1- Trace a cross
Trace a cross right on top of the house to understand which orientation each elevation is looking at.
2- Trace a semi-circle
Trace a semi-circle in the bottom half of the cross. This is approximately the path that the sun follows from the morning (East) till the evening (West). The image below is an example of how you can do this tracing directly on top of a Google Maps screenshot. The big yellow dot indicates where the sun could have been when the satellite image was taken. The projected shadows give it away.
Obviously, the sun also has an inclination depending on the seasons and the location. For the purpose of this exercise, it’s just enough to know that throughout the year, the sun is lower in winter and higher in summer. Throughout the day, lower in the East and West and higher in the South.
3- Assess the house and its openings
At this point, you should be very clear on how much light and brightness you will get in the house. Of course, early in the morning or late in the afternoon you might get some sun coming through the sides of the house, even on elevations facing North. However, you will now have a better understanding of the sun path around the house and how much sun and brightness you will get through.
Take into consideration that the sun is like a huge lantern when thinking about the sun path inside each room. You can even assess room by room in winter and in summer with little sketches. As Architects, we constantly think about this when deciding where roof lights and extra openings should be installed. The idea is to maximise the light income by opening or closing to the right places.
For example, if you are planning an extension to the rear and your garden is facing North, it makes sense to open a big rooflight in the ceiling to try and get closer to the sun at its highest point during the day or in summer. However, if your house extension is facing South, you might want to avoid adding roof lights in addition to big bi-fold doors since you might be overheating the space, especially on summer days.
In the example below you can see how the sun located at different angles would bathe the layout from the morning to the evening.
Never again have doubts about how much sun your house will get. A piece of valuable knowledge to help you determine if the layout of a house works for you. I personally wouldn´t waste a South orientation to place the bathroom. I also don´t mind having darker bedrooms because I like to spend the majority of the time with the family in a lounge or kitchen.
However, it´s very important to consider light and direct sunlight for other activities that can happen in one room or another. Working at home or watching tv are two key activities to consider since they are very common. Do you need to work at home? If so, where will you be doing it, for how long and how much light do you need to do it efficiently. Also, if you enjoy watching series or movies at home, you might prefer a dark atmosphere. Would you then have your tv snug on the brightest side of your home?
There are definitely many questions to make and answer to find your perfect home. Now you have the tools to start assessing houses to filter them down quicker.
Do you have the idea of your perfect home in mind
and none of the houses on the market
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You have viewed all the houses in the market and still can´t make a decision. You are almost relieved that the offer you made on that house wasn´t accepted. You feel like you are never going to find the right fit for you and your family.
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Let me help you see what you can´t see. There are often issues and hidden potentials that you might be missing. My one-off consultations include coming with you to view potential houses, issues, and potential reports, and even an optional 3D design proposal if you have trouble envisioning the space.
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