What Makes Southern Exposure Desirable in Urban Real Estate?

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Real Estate

A living room that faces south has an advantage in the real estate market. Thomas Barwick/Getty Images

Having southern exposure is crucial not only in urban areas but also in any home that wants to make use of solar energy or natural light. In the Northern Hemisphere, the sun rises from the south due to the Earth’s spherical shape and its tilted axis of 23 degrees (refer to “What Causes the Seasons?” for more information on this tilt).


The house’s orientation in relation to the sun during summer.
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To comprehend why the sun enters your south-facing windows, it is necessary to examine the house’s position on the planet and how the sun illuminates the house in summer and winter. The two illustrations on the left help us understand these:


The house’s orientation in relation to the sun during winter.
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The house’s orientation in relation to the sun during summer.
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You can see that, both in summer and winter, the wall of the house that faces the South Pole is the one that faces the sun. These diagrams also reveal that the sun’s apparent angle with respect to the house changes between summer and winter. The sun is much higher in the sky during summer:

You may have heard that having deep eaves on your house will block the summer sun but let the winter sun in. This change in the sun’s apparent angle between summer and winter is why that works.

A great method to visualize this is to take a globe, attach a Monopoly house or sugar cube to it to represent your house, and use a flashlight to represent the sun. Rotate the globe and try both summer and winter orientations for the axis. You will observe the differences between the sun’s angle in summer and winter, as well as how its position changes during morning, noon, and evening as it rises and sets.

As the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, the south side of a building receives the most natural light throughout the day.

For more real estate and solar energy information, refer to the links below.

Originally Published: Apr 15, 2008

Frequently Asked Questions about Southern Exposure

Is it beneficial to have a south-facing apartment?

If you reside in the northern hemisphere and want to have natural light, then having southern exposure is the best option. As the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, the side facing south receives the most natural light throughout the day.

What is a south-facing apartment?

A south-facing apartment refers to a unit with windows that directly face south.

Which exposure is the sunniest?

In the Northern Hemisphere, the sun comes from the south.

Which is better, northern or southern exposure?

Southern exposure is significant in the city and in any house that wants to utilize solar energy. In the Northern Hemisphere, the sun comes from the south.

Which exposure is the best?

For morning light, east-facing is the best option. Western exposure is ideal for afternoon light, while southern exposure is best for strong light throughout the day. Northern exposure provides soft lighting all day.

More Information Available

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FAQ

1. What is southern exposure?

Southern exposure is a term used to describe the direction that a building, apartment, or room faces. Specifically, southern exposure means that the space receives sunlight throughout the day, as the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, with its highest point in the southern sky.

2. Why is southern exposure desirable?

Southern exposure is desirable for a number of reasons. Firstly, it provides natural light and warmth, which can help reduce energy costs associated with heating and lighting. Secondly, it can make a space feel more open and expansive, and can improve the mood of those who spend time there. Finally, southern exposure can increase the value of a property, as it is a sought-after feature for many buyers.

3. What are some benefits of southern exposure?

Some benefits of southern exposure include increased natural light and warmth, improved mood and productivity, and reduced energy costs. Additionally, southern exposure can have positive effects on indoor plants, as they will receive the sunlight they need to thrive.

4. Are there any downsides to southern exposure?

While southern exposure is generally seen as a desirable feature, there are some potential downsides to consider. For example, a space with southern exposure may be more prone to overheating in the summer months, and could require additional cooling measures such as air conditioning. Additionally, excessive sunlight exposure can cause fading or damage to furniture, artwork, and other objects in the space.

5. How can you make the most of southern exposure?

To make the most of southern exposure, it’s important to ensure that the space is properly insulated and ventilated to prevent overheating. Additionally, using window treatments such as blinds or curtains can help control the amount of sunlight entering the space. Finally, choosing light-colored furnishings and finishes can help reflect sunlight and prevent damage from excessive exposure.

6. Is southern exposure more important in certain types of buildings?

Southern exposure may be more important in certain types of buildings, such as those with large windows or open floor plans. Additionally, buildings in colder climates may benefit more from southern exposure, as it can help reduce heating costs during the winter months.

7. Can you add southern exposure to a building or room?

It is generally not possible to add southern exposure to an existing building or room, as the position of the sun is determined by the building’s orientation and location. However, it may be possible to create the illusion of southern exposure by using lighting and reflective surfaces to simulate natural sunlight.

8. How can you determine if a space has southern exposure?

To determine if a space has southern exposure, you can observe the direction that windows face, or use a compass to determine the orientation of the building. Additionally, you can look for signs of natural light and warmth throughout the day, such as sunlight entering the space in the morning and afternoon.

9. Is southern exposure a feature that is worth paying extra for?

Whether or not southern exposure is worth paying extra for depends on a variety of factors, such as the location of the building, the climate in the area, and the individual preferences of the buyer. However, in general, southern exposure is considered a sought-after feature that can increase the value of a property.

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