|Developers just want to cram the most houses possible|
on their sites—they don't give a damn about solar orientation.
“Here we go again,” he would complain. “Arrol’s houses always have to face Mecca.”
| The ancient Persian city of Yazd reaches temperatures|
well over 100 degrees in summer—yet the tall structures
known as "badgirs" (windcatchers) in the background
have helped keep people cool for one and a half millenia.
|Only the gas crisis of the late 1970s |
finally woke Americans up to
the need for resource conservation.
|Good solar orientation doesn't just save money—|
it makes a home worth living in.
But while it’s commendable that newer furnaces and water heaters can squeeze more heat from your petrodollar, and that better insulation now helps conserve that heat, the real foundation of energy efficiency is still what it was 2000 years ago: solar orientation. A well-designed house with south-facing windows, proper shading, and good ventilation will require less energy and be more livable than one without—end of story. Of all the things you choose to fret over in your own designs, the very first should be sunlight, and how it's going to get in.
Take it from a tract-house veteran: You don’t have to face Mecca. Just plain south will do.