Designing a building, ideally is left to professionally qualified architects who are better placed to deal it with. But a learned house or a flat owner would always be benefitted if he or she is exposed to intricacies of building orientation. It is a known fact that buildings should generally be south facing. This not only helps in maximizing Day Lighting but also helps in reducing the glare and mitigating the overheating. A properly oriented building throughout its life, will keep saving energy and contributing towards reducing the Carbon Foot Print.
A generic rule regarding orienting the building is to have openings, south facing, kitchen should be facing east, living rooms are towards south or west and bedrooms towards north, to avoid light disturbances. It is well understood that it may not be always possible to have orientation as per the rulebooks. In order to reap benefits of sun, south orientation even up to +/-30 degree can be very useful.
Proper usage of glazing and shading devices is extremely significant when designing an office building. Glazing and shading devices control Day Lighting leading to reduction in solar heat gain and light disturbance/glare. Today there are wonderful program which can help one in modelling the sun path during all 365 days in a year, in any part of the world. Google SketchUp is an excellent tool to handle this task. There are also online program like SunCalc which can model the sun path in any part of the world.
There are Energy Modelling solutions today which can help in saving energy by judicious use of zoning, glazing, materials, sizing of HVAC systems etc. Last but not the least, one must not forget that though orienting a building is advisable to conserve energy and reduce carbon foot print but too much of glazing and shading can even be counter productive.
The author is Accredited Green Building Professional and Certified Energy Auditor with rich experience in corporate sector. The readers are welcome to interact.