Designing for light and sun Print

Design Outcome

​Design Checklist​​​

  1. Terraced housing is located and orientated to make the best use of sunlight to principal living areas and open spaces, and to provide a good balance between access to winter sun and shading from summer sun
  2. Daylight access is always provided in all habitable rooms
  3. The development allows residents to adjust natural lighting to suit their needs

​​​Designing for the sun is very important as terraced and semi-detached houses have fewer aspects than a detached house.

‘Passive solar design’ means orientating and designing your house to receive heat from the sun during winter months and shade and natural ventilation during warmer months. This will decrease the energy costs of new houses and increase their value.

Although people like to have sun in most rooms of the house, sun exposure in terraced and semi-detached housing should be prioritised in the principal living area and the accessible outdoor garden or balcony, so that everybody in the house can maximise the enjoyment of this space.

With a careful approach a passive solar design can be achieved while dealing with other design issues such as addressing the street.

Better Design Practice

Plan the site to optimise solar access by: 
  • orientating terraced housing so that the long elevation faces east-west to maximise dual aspect sun into both ‘ends’. Where terraced housing abuts the street, those houses should address the street frontage
  • providing adequate separation between rows of terraces within the development, and from adjacent rows of terraced houses
  • avoiding narrow north-south orientation terraced dwellings
  • placing principal living areas and private gardens on the north side.

Design for shading and glare control, particularly in summer by: 
  • using shading devices, such as eaves, awnings, colonnades, balconies, pergolas, external louvres and planting
  • providing external horizontal shading to north-facing windows
  • providing vertical shading to west windows.

Optimise the number of terraced houses receiving daylight access to habitable rooms and principal windows by:
  • ensuring daylight access to habitable rooms and private open space, particularly in winter
  • using skylights, clerestory windows and fanlights to supplement daylight access 
  • considering two-storey and mezzanine arrangements to increase daylight access to the living rooms and private open spaces of terraced houses with limited daylight.

Rules of Thumb

All private open spaces should receive at least five hours of sunlight across at least half of the garden, courtyard, balcony or roof terrace, as measured on the equinox (22 March / September).

Design and orientate all principal living spaces, which are directly accessible from private open spaces, to receive maximum sunlight admission, as measured at the equinox on 22 March / September.
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