Summer Shade Southern CypressOrientation of the South Wall: Custom Energy Specs that are a part of sun-inspired home designs include recommending an orientation as part of the provided services. In conjunction with the latitude, climate, details of each plan and the customer’s preferences, a recommended orientation is provided.  Orienting the home a little to the southeast so that the south wall of home is in the shade by mid-afternoon in summer is a common recommendation that results in little winter heating penalty.
(The green house at the top of the newsletter shows the entire south wall of the home in shade late in the afternoon as would be the case with a slight easterly orientation.)

South Overhang Length: Ideally, overhang lengths should allow for full sun in the winter from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on the Winter Solstice and full shade on the Summer Solstice during the same time period. This varies based on latitude, climates and the particular roof to wall overhang detail as well as wall and window heights of each design.
(The photo here shows the shade line for a home in a warm climate extending past the bottom of the window to allow for an extended shading season in summer.)

Casement and Shaded Porch 2Shade east and west windows:  Porches and trees placed on the east and west sides of homes keep the intensive morning and afternoon sun off of both the glass and the house!
(Note the shade line across this west-facing porch.)

Passive Cooling:  Where the night temperatures drop below 68 degrees F, some home owners find passive cooling desirable in summer – or at least during late spring and early fall with some of the following window strategies:

– Windows and doors on opposite sides of rooms increase cross breezes
– Casement windows have a greater operable area when open AND scoop air with out-swinging windows which increases air flow.
– Opening windows on both upper and lower floors (including daylight basements) increases the stack effect of passive cooling which again increases air flow.
(The photo above shows a casement window open 90 degrees to the wall.)

The Sun-Inspired House
(including the new electronic PDF version) has much more information about sun-inspired design.