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How construction design and architecture affect energy consumption in buildings

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The Deutsche Energie-Agentur (dena) – the German Energy Agency – advises future home owners to plan clearly structured buildings without frills. Cubic houses, for instance, consume less energy than houses with nooks and crannies. Combined with effective heat insulation and a modern heating system, compact houses guarantee lower energy costs.

Sun-facing windows, everything in the right spot
Aside from the shape of the house, further relevant factors include the arrangement of the rooms and the share of glazed surfaces as well as their cardinal direction. South- and west-facing windows should be particularly large to make optimum use of sun energy in winter.

In summer, external blinds or shutters are needed to provide effective sun protection which prevents the rooms from overheating. A well-sized roof overhang also makes sense. It shades the rooms in summer when the sun is high, and lets low sun rays in to light and heat up the rooms in winter. Fewer windows should be planned in north-facing facades due to thermal reasons.

An optimised floor plan is important in terms of the room arrangement. The living area, which should have a comfortable temperature in winter, should be located on the southern or western side. Bed rooms or guest rooms, which can be a bit cooler or may remain unheated, should be located on the northern side.