how to calculate the orientation of a house

Calculate the house orientation is one of the first steps to consider if we want your new house to be energy efficient.

Of course, it is not always possible to decide what the orientation of our house will be, and sometimes we encounter obstacles that we cannot control. However, calculate the house orientation is one of the aspects. We should pay attention to whenever possible.

Among other reasons, because the orientation of our home and its rooms will mean the entry of more or less natural light during certain hours, which will influence the heating of the building and, consequently, its energy demand.

But what happens if you have bought a house and you don’t know where its main facade is facing? No problem, in this post, besides knowing the advantages of one or another orientation, we will also give you the solution to how to calculate the orientation of a house.

How to know the orientation of our house without using plans

Of course, if we have the plans of the house at hand, the orientation will be marked on them. But if we do not have them because we have lost them or because we have bought or rehabilitated it from a previous work, we have no way of knowing where it is facing.

Fortunately, today we have at our disposal the necessary tools to calculate the orientation of a house quickly and effectively.

Let’s see what they are:


The real estate cadastre is an administrative register in which real estate is included. We can go to it to find our property and check its orientation.

Each house has a reference so that, if we know it, we can go directly to check it. Otherwise, we can use the address and map to get our bearings.

In order to know the orientation of the house/flat, take as a reference that the upper part will correspond to the north. Sometimes you can even use a digital compass.


Of course, the easiest way to find out the direction of our life is to use a compass. Look at the needle, which always points to magnetic north, to find out the orientation of the building’s facades.

It may be that none of the facades run parallel to a cardinal point. In this case, your home will be oriented in an intermediate way, such as northwest, southwest, etc.

Google Maps

Another option is to use an application such as Google Maps, which allows you to fix the map with respect to the north, so that by simply writing the address of your home, you can quickly check its orientation.

how to calculate the orientation of a house: tools

Orienting housing and energy efficiency, aspects to be taken into account

As we saw in the introduction of this post, how to calculate the orientation of a house is important in relation to energy efficiency, because it will help us to know how many hours of sunshine we will have in depending on which rooms of our home and what our energy demand for air conditioning will be.

What does this mean? That air conditioning systems, or heating, depend, to a large extent, on the amount of light and heat provided by the sun on our facade and when it does so.

But, of course, orientation is not the only factor that will be decisive in the energy efficiency of a house. The quality of the envelope, avoiding leaks in windows and doors, waterproofing the floor, etc., are other factors to be taken into account and on which we can act.

Calculating properly what the orientation of your home should be will allow you to incorporate the hours of sunshine and heat into your perspective on energy expenditure, and thus enjoy a more efficient home.

North facing house: advantages

If your home is oriented to the north, it will enjoy homogeneous lighting throughout the day, without receiving direct sunlight. This is the right orientation for warm climates.

If your home is in a cold area, the north orientation will have an impact on your heating costs, which will be higher.

North facing house: advantages
calculate house orientation

South facing house: advantages

In the coldest areas, the southern orientation is the most advisable. The light will fall directly on the main façade throughout most of the year. It will serve to save on heating and your home will be luminous, which will give a sensation of spaciousness.

On the other hand, if the area is warm, you will see an increase in the cost of air conditioning and, depending on the circumstances, you may have to install awnings to avoid direct sunlight.

South facing house: advantages
calculate house orientation

West facing house: advantages

An intermediate option, which also offers some sales, is the west orientation. In this case the main facade will be illuminated from noon to sunset.

It may be the most recommended option in cold climates, as it will make the winters more pleasant. On the other hand, the cost of heating and air conditioning may be higher than with another orientation.

West facing house: advantages, calculate house orientation

East facing house: advantages

With the east orientation the entrance of solar light will be limited to the first hours of the day, so that the house will accumulate that initial heat to get rid of it throughout the afternoon and night. This orientation can help us save money on heating.

However, we should bear in mind that in the evenings we will enjoy less natural light and that, if the area is particularly warm, our facade may become excessively hot.

East facing house: advantages, calculate house orientation

As you have seen, behind a decision that seems so easy to make, there is actually a key aspect of our housing. Think of it this way if it is a new building: according to the solar incidence calculation, you may want one internal distribution or another.

For example, you may want your living room and kitchen to be frequently lit and your bedrooms to receive less light. Or vice versa.

In any case, you should think about it very carefully now that you know how to calculate the orientation of a house and what the advantages of each cardinal point are.