Housing orientation's effect on energy use in suburban developments

Timothy L. Hemsath

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Housing orientation has an effect on the total heating and cooling loads that consumers pay for as part of their monthly utility bills. Often suburban developments lack consideration of the precise optimal solar orientation of each home, therefore, costing homeowners money over the life span of their tenure. This study aims to evaluate the effect of a home's orientation at the community level evaluating energy use and annual energy costs. The scope of the paper simulates the effect of orientation for 7000 existing homes for four typical Midwestern suburban developments and the resulting annual energy costs. Appling the same housing sample to four different U.S. locations the study compares climatic differences. This analysis evaluates the cost and energy performance of existing suburban communities using optimal solar orientation. Results show that individual home orientation has minimal cost implications, whereas the aggregated suburban community house orientation has more significant total annual energy costs. In addition, results reinforce optimizing solar orientation for planning and design of suburban housing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)98-106
Number of pages9
JournalEnergy and Buildings
StatePublished - Jun 15 2016


  • Community design
  • Energy costs
  • Energy use
  • House
  • Orientation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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