Building Typologies 2. Greenfield, large-scale, low-density new-build residential

Orientation, overshadowing, daylight and solar gain

  • Streets should be arranged to face due South (to optimise useful winter solar gain and reduce risk of overheating)
  • Leave room for green amenity space to the South
  • Allow a distance of 1-1.5 times the building’s height between buildings
  • Design green amenity space to receive sunlight as per BRE guidance
  • Position occupied spaces on the South façade


  • Favour horizontal windows over vertical glazing
  • Use a g-value of around 0.5
  • Use LETI glazing ratios: north = 10-15%, east = 10-15%,

     south 20-25%, west = 10-15%


  • South Elevations – use horizontal brise soleil and projecting balconies
  • East / West Elevations – Use shutters or external roller blinds


  • Good opportunity for cross ventilation. Open plan living can maximise this.

Green spaces

  • Incorporate blue green spaces into masterplan

Maximise PV

  • Often feature North / South pitched roofs: move ridgeline to create asymmetric pitch with majority South facing
  • Maximise renewables so that 100% of annual energy requirement is generated on-site

Opportunities and Constraints 

  • Terraced streets offer a good opportunity to maximise South orientation. This optimises useful solar gain in winter and reduces the risk of overheating in summer (South facing glazing is easier to shade than East / West)
  • Large areas of South facing roof are an ideal candidate for PVs
  • Cross ventilation is much easier to implement. Open plan living can maximise this.
  • Due to their large surface area (per useful floor area), low-density new build houses can have high heat loss. By optimising South facing glazing useful solar gains can offset this.

Page updated: 27/09/2022

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