Design Strategies

Building Orientation
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Building Orientation

Orientation is simply what compass direction the building faces.  Does it face directly south?  80° east-northeast? Along with massing, orientation can be the most important step in providing a building with passive thermal and visual comfort.  Orientation should be decided together with massing early in the design process, as neither can be truly optimized without the other.

Aside for reducing energy use and enabling passive design strategies, successful massing and orientation can take advantage of site conditions, such as rainwater harvesting, and can help the building contribute to the health and vitality of the surrounding ecological, social, and economic communities.  For instance, it can be massed and oriented to connect its social spaces with street life, or avoid shading nearby wild lands, or could steer foot traffic away from ecologically sensitive areas.

Orientation is simply what compass direction the building faces. It should be optimized early-on, along with massing, and can be the most important step for passive design.

Different building orientations


Orientation is measured by the azimuth angle of a surface relative to true north. Successful orientation rotates the building to minimize energy loads and maximize free energy from the sun and wind.

A building’s orientation is measured by azimuth


0 0 1108 19 March, 2015 March 19, 2015
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