In the temperate region the priority is maximizing exposure of buildings to the sun during the cooler months and maximizing summer shade. Winter wind impacts should be minimized, while allowing for good air circulation during the summer.
Orient the home to face south or southeast. The ideal orientation is 12 degrees south-southeast. Locate living areas to the south and west sides of the home leaving the northeast portion for inactive areas like garages or storage rooms. North-facing exterior walls should be well insulated with few, if any, windows.
The primary outdoor living areas should be on the southwest side of the dwelling for protection from north or northwest winds and should be designed and oriented to take advantage of the prevailing southwest summer breezes. The cooling impact of winter winds can be reduced by using existing or added landforms or vegetation on the north or northwest sides of the dwelling. Only deciduous vegetation should be used on the south side of the dwelling, since this provides summer shade and allows for the penetration of winter sun.
Building materials should be medium in color, and the driveway should be crosswise to the winter wind.
In temperate climates, tight construction is vital to the home's long-term comfort and value. Combining tight construction with properly sized heating and cooling systems optimizes the home's comfort and performance while minimizing operating costs.