Three Space Design Tips to Get an Ideal Amount of Light into Sunrooms

Obtaining the most value from a sunroom hinges on the amount of light and warmth that the room gets. Achieving the right mix of brightness and temperature depends on a variety of factors, encompassing a property’s general location and climate, construction materials, and additional features like window treatments.

All these factors depend on one primary consideration: a sunroom’s positioning. Here are three basic design rules homeowners can follow to build the ideal sunroom.

South or 30: The magic angles

Industry experts agree that the best sunrooms face directly south. This allows sunrooms to make the most out of passive solar heat as the sun crosses from east to west. Passive solar heat is the energy that warms or cools a building. South-facing sunrooms particularly maximize it when the sun appears at a low angle during winter.

If south-facing construction isn’t an option, building sunrooms slanted 30 degrees southeast or southwest is the next best step. Positioning the room this way still lets rooms take advantage of the sun’s trajectory, while enabling it to avoid direct and overexposure to the sun in mornings and afternoons.

A minimum for a maximum

It’s also recommended that sunrooms get at least four hours of direct exposure to sunlight every day. This might be best done during the mid-mornings or mid-to-late afternoons, when the sun is typically milder. These time frames can also ease the chill left over from the early mornings, or invite enough heat to keep well-insulated sunrooms warm into the evening.

East beats west

Whichever way a sunroom finally faces, its windows are better off installed on the east walls. Windows that open to the east allow homeowners to avoid much of the harsher rays that come at noon and the afternoon, as west-facing windows would. This design is also particularly useful in avoiding too much heat during summer.

 

 Sources:

 Sunrooms and Sunspaces. Energy.gov.

Let the Sun Shine In! Home Designer Software.

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About valleyhomeimprv

Steve Silverman is Cape Cod native with a BA in psychology from Bates College. He moved to the Pioneer Valley in 2004 and became a VP with VHI a year later, then bought the 20 employee company in 2013. He and his wife and two teenagers have a farm in Southampton where he spends time growing food and learning new ways to live in harmony with the land.

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