Orientation of Building


Orientation of building is to design building in such a way as it receives maximum ventilation and natural light in all climatic conditions. It provides comfortable living conditions inside the house/building and saves energy bills also. The orientation can defend undesirable effects of worse weather. While planning to build a new house, ask your architect to design building in such a way that energy loss is minimum.  

Climatic Implication

Orientation of building determines the amount of radiation the building receives. The orientation with respect to air patterns affects the amount of natural ventilation as much as possible.  

Benefits of building orientation

Energy saving

Orientation of building is energy efficient approach as the building orientation saves heating, cooling and lighting cost. You can take optimal benefits of the sun by maximizing southern exposure. It lowers cooling cost by minimizing western exposure where it is most difficult to provide sunshade.

Breeze/Natural Air

Orientation of building provides breeze is in warm and humid climates. On the other hand, the orientation prevents hot winds in hot and dry climates.

Natural ventilation

Building orientation provides natural ventilation and light which is beneficial to the health of inhabitants of the house. 

Factors Affecting Building Orientation

1. Solar radiation and temperature

The intensity of solar radiation depends on the direction of sunrays. The temperature of a structure and living space increases due to sun radiation and affects environment of the house. Solar radiation acts in two ways. 
  • Sunrays directly come to the house through openings
  • Radiation comes indirectly through walls and roof of building by absorbing heat.

For comfortable living particularly during summer season, radiation, temperature and treatment of room are considered. From solar radiation point of view, the best orientation is that which receives maximum solar radiation during winter and receives minimum solar radiation during summer season.

The South façade has advantage of receiving more solar radiation during winter than that of receiving during summer. Even for openings on south facade, small overhang such as curtains can cut off direct solar penetration during summer and allows it during winter. Obviously, this is most beneficial aspect, not available on any other façade.    

How to minimize solar heat in south façade?

In fact the incidence of ground reflected radiation on human body from southern sun in south facade causes great thermal discomfort and visual glare. In northern India the South wall of a building or house receives least solar radiation during summer. To minimize reflected solar heat, grassy lawns should be developed in front of south façade.

How to minimize solar radiation in western façade?

The eastern and western façade receive nearly equal amounts of daily solar radiation throughout the year. The only difference is when the sun shines on eastern façade, the building or house is comparatively cool and air temperature is low. On the other hand due to higher air temperature in afternoon, the heat flows indoor through western façade. To minimize the affect of solar radiation in western façade, the sunshade on openings should be constructed. 

2. Clouds and Rains

Clouds and rains have comparatively less importance in orientation of building. The areas with low clouds cover sky largely and determine the effect of both incoming solar radiation and outgoing terrestrial radiation. Glazing and opening should be designed keeping in view the direction of rain, beating the building because the direction of rain is generally same as that of prevailing wind expect in case of storms. If due to architectural view glazing is provided, it should be covered by proper sunshade etc.  The walls of lesser thickness should not be designed in the direction of heavy rains.     

3. Humidity

It depends on weather condition of the area and has little role in orientation of building. The movement of air and use of prevailing wind are very important during periods of high humidity. Humidity can be classified into four categories i.e.

  • Very dry
  • Dry
  • Humid
  • Very humid

When humidity is low, dry or very dry, it is easy to take advantage of evaporative cooling in summer. When it is humid or very humid it is desirable to regulate the rate of air movement either artificially with aid of electric fan or with help of prevailing winds.   

4. Humidity design consideration

The comfort in relation to humidity becomes complex. In humid environment there is very warm feeling when there is no breeze and air temperature is 30 0C. On the other hand if humidity is low, one may feel cool even if the temperature rises up to 32 0C with little breeze. It will be cooler at the same temperature if there is reduction in relative humidity. And if there is breeze in high humidity area, the building should be designed in such a way as it has more natural air and ventilation.

5. Prevailing winds

Prevailing winds help create natural ventilation in a building and give more comfort during high humidity. During orientation of a building and designing doors and windows openings, the direction of wind flow should be considered. Fix windows and ventilators at proper location in building to provide maximum air and light. The height of windows has much concern about ventilation. Maximum air and ventilation can be obtained if the level of opening is at the level of occupancy.

Consider velocity and direction of wind for orientation

For the purpose of orientation, it is necessary to study velocity and direction of the wind at particular place throughout the year. It is better if the flow of wind is more in building during humid period than rest period of the year.

Close openings to avoid heat and glare in summer

One should take appropriate action during orientation of building so that the building provides maximum comfort. Where there is extreme heat in summer and it becomes necessary to close openings to avoid heat and glare, it would be helpful to orient buildings to face winds during humid months instead of facing prevailing wind which comes from some other direction. 

Note: Ideal or desirable orientation may not be possible in each individual case due to various factors in every situation. In this age of advance technology in materials and mechanical aids, the lighting and ventilation can be obtained for living and working after deciding on orientation of building.    

24  Comment(s)
Naseer Shaikh
By Naseer Shaikh -  On  5/1/2014 7:05:23 PM
As planning to construct Gr + 4 floor residential building , yr article is excellent for bieggners to learn basics of construction activity.
By narayan -  On  1/22/2014 1:48:05 PM
I am planning to build a duplex house on a 1200 sqft plot in bangalore. Any new architectural student who wants to take up this project to have a hands on experience are welcome to write to me.
By MOHD WAKEEL -  On  9/26/2013 3:13:50 PM
hi all i am looking to build a house of 2400 sqft( 40X60 sqft). I am looking for plan and architectural drawing for same plz help me out or suggest some good architect in lucknow which will do the same at best price
By MOHD WAKEEL -  On  9/26/2013 3:13:00 PM
hi all i am looking to build a house of 2400 sqft( 40X60 sqft). I am looking for plan and architectural drawing for same plz help me out or suggest some good architect in lucknow which will do the same at best price
By Anonymous - On 8/31/2012 8:24:30 AM
It is absolutely great , having all the details for an architect as well as contractors to learn about the finest tips.
By Anonymous - On 10/13/2011 11:14:54 PM
thanks to gharexpert team,providing such useful information .This helps me a lot in my exam.
samrat sarkar
By samrat sarkar -  On  7/22/2011 1:57:41 AM
Dear sir
my house is located in very conjested area in kolkata. i am planing to make a 2bhk with hall dining and kitchen suggest me layout. it was in first floor and rectangular space approx 2400-2800 sq feet.
ved bhushan sharma
By ved bhushan sharma -  On  5/26/2011 7:26:39 PM
hi friends my plot is 16 feet in breadth and 52 feet in length and it is west facing ,coverd by all three sides.please suggest me some map for construction ,or u can suggest me link also
By Anonymous - On 4/16/2011 1:36:25 PM
This article suitable mainly those areas where land is totally opened not for crowded area in b/w land is present
By Anonymous - On 1/20/2011 6:12:00 PM
Hi friends;
Thanks for the gharexpert team that they r proving us such a useful information.i by my self a civil engineer.No one is perfact but i will try my best to give a reasonable and accebtable solution to u people.My contact number is +98-333-9313210.i will b availble for u 24hours a week.ok
wish u best of luck.
By ranjeeth -  On  1/13/2011 7:13:33 PM

Hi Folks,


I have a 1312 SQFT dimension in Bangalore, which is south facing. Below are the dimenstions

Measuring: East to West                  (9.14+9.15)/2 meters

North to South              (13.41+13.26)/2 meters

Totally measuring                   121.94 meters

My question is what is the setback or space we need to leave around the site for construction as per the Bangalore devleopment autority as this is a BDA site.

What will be cost of a duplex house of 1800 SQFT in bangalore currently. Any body in the forum can explain me or reach me on 9986049517

Ranjeeth Kumar

By Laxman -  On  12/20/2010 5:22:37 PM
I want to buy a plot about 1305 sq.ft.It is north-west facing.Will it be a good plot for residential purpose?Pl advise.
By savithri -  On  11/14/2010 10:47:59 AM
By Anonymous - On 11/3/2010 11:17:49 AM
i need the calculation of the rebar
g. mohan
By g. mohan -  On  9/23/2010 6:26:51 PM
hi freinds, my plot is 17 feet by breadth and 60 feet length i want to built it. so i want to build a 700 sq.feet area ground floor. so i want to make a construction plan bye my self but i can`t make it. so pls send me some plans or send me some links where i make my plans easly.Location of Plot.east are pack with compound walls of other homes. Send to vetrimohan07@rediffmail.com

By sandeep -  On  8/28/2010 9:40:18 AM
hi freinds, my plot is 33 feet by 33 feet and i want to built it. so i want to build a 800 sq.feet area on each floor. for parking i goes for a underground paking and on that i builde a 2 floor. so i want to make a construction plan bye my self but i can`t make it. so pls send me some plans or send me some links where i make my plans easly.Location of Plot.east west and south all sides are pack with compound walls of other homesthere is a road 40 feet road on north side of my plotpls friendshelp mefor thisSandeep Pawar98 237 237 73
By Anonymous - On 8/12/2010 12:43:13 PM
this article is excellant
S L Gupta (Civil Engg)
By S L Gupta (Civil Engg) -  On  8/9/2010 4:59:11 PM

Dear Pooja

              Read the lay out articles in the construction in the section of start construction in this web site where you find the procees of lay out.

By pooja -  On  8/6/2010 2:09:05 PM
I have two write a report on the layout of a building ...just wanted to know what is the process of marking a layout if there is a existing structure
By Anonymous - On 8/1/2010 10:06:30 AM
The article is too general and did n't give me any idea of new construction concept
kumar karre
By kumar karre -  On  5/26/2010 5:52:34 AM
gone through the article. it is informative.
vinod sen
By vinod sen -  On  2/6/2010 7:59:36 AM
about new construction total estimate for 1500 sqyt ft. and 02 room kiten latebath accoding vastu map main gate in south facing
Balakrishna B.V
By Balakrishna B.V -  On  12/12/2009 1:19:28 PM
yes good learning
By PUNEET PAL SINGH TOOR -  On  8/19/2009 11:07:09 PM
its a helpful article, provides a brilliant idea for orientation. keep up the good work
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