Lighten Up! Building with Natural Light


Using natural light to your advantage when building or remodeling is an art in itself. What does the builder or architect do anyway? Are they standing on your property at 6 a.m. for the sunrise and at 6 p.m. for the sunset, taking measurements to see where the sun is positioned at any one time? While it may seem like it, they simply use their years of experience to make recommendations for positioning your addition or renovation.

Office with natural lights

Angling your renovation so that it’s angled properly to get warmth and light from the sun is important for both form and function. A good custom builder or remodeler will plan to get as much use out of the natural light as possible. If there’s a great view, or if you don’t want to be looking right into your neighbor’s kitchen window, the builder will find a way to place the addition to take advantage of those things, within reason. Sometimes zoning regulations might prevent the most ideal placement, but it’s the job of the builder to know those regulations and troubleshoot as necessary.

There are some ways to overcome the regulations about placement by simply incorporating natural light into your floor plan. First, an open floor plan inside allows more light to get into all the rooms. High windows can bring in the sun, as can windows strategically placed for morning sunlight and afternoon shade. Sometimes a builder will suggest an awning or overhang to shield a particularly blazing area. These suggestions are great for maintaining heating and cooling advantages, and they can be alternatives when it seems like you’re just not able to position the renovation the way you had hoped.

Do make sure you describe your light preferences with your builder. For example, if you like to watch the sunset every evening, your custom remodeler may suggest a patio or windows that face the west. If you’re a late sleeper and don’t want the morning rays streaming in your windows, he’ll likely suggest a western-facing room. You can customize your home for your preferences – just communicate them early and often.


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