Well the first rule is to avoid West, or East, facing windows . . . or at least keep them as small as possible….and here is why:
West windows get direct sunlight from mid-afternoon to late in the evening in summer causing overheating.
East facing windows get sun from sunrise to midday.
This isn’t normally as bad because the house is cooler in the morning, but the heat built up during the morning does stay making the house hotter later in the day.
Because of the low angle of morning, afternoon and evening sun the over window shading that works well with North Facing windows will be inadequate for West and East facing windows.
In the winter there is minimal heating benefit with little or no direct sunlight getting into West or East facing windows.
In the last house we built the master bedroom full length windows all face west.
I would have preferred to decrease the size of the windows but the builder would not alter the size of the windows on the front. (They were quite happy to change all the other windows, just not on the front)
To shade, our west facing windows, we adopted the following three stage strategy.
- A highly reflective tint was applied to the window, by Tint-a-car. This had the immediate effect of lowering the temperature in the room by about five degrees on a sunny afternoon. Even the installer was amazed at the difference it made. Expect to pay around $50-60/m2,
- We planted shrubs in front of the windows to shade the bottom third of the windows and also provide a micro-climate to reduce heat loss in winter.
- We have fertilised and trimmed a couple of trees on the nature strip, in front of the house, to encourage dense foliage which now shades the window from mid afternoon to sunset.(see photo below)
For similar posts see Passive Solar
Choosing a House . . . A new E-book for only $4 to help plan your new house