How to organise a floor plan
Rooms are utilised for distinct purposes at different times of the day and their placement will influence energy efficiency as well as comfort levels. Zoning means the creation of zones by grouping rooms with similar uses, and closing off unheated rooms, such as laundries or guest bedrooms, to reduce heating and cooling needs. It is important to separate heated and unheated areas with doors, such as glass or bi-fold doors to help retain the open-plan aesthetic if required.
- Daytime living areas such as family rooms, kitchen and rumpus rooms should be north facing.
- Avoid orientation and windows to the harsh west sun, especially for living rooms and bedrooms.
- Locating the garages or carports to the west, east or south can protect the building from summer sun and winter wind.
- Areas that use water (hot water in particular) should be grouped together to minimise heat loss from pipes, plumbing costs and water wastage.
- Create buffer zones to the west and south, as this is where most of the unwanted heat gain or loss will occur, such as bathrooms, laundry or storage rooms.
- Avoid self-shading; deep north facing courtyards, garages or other deep articulations should not overshadow north-facing windows.
- Air-locks to external doors are essential to reduce the loss of heated air when the external doors are opened.
- Allow for cross-ventilation. Openable windows and external doors should be located on different sides of the home, with less than 8 metres distance between them to create air flow.
If you do want to know more about optimal house siting and how to place a building for optimal solar access please check out our other articles.