New build house - orientation

If you were to build a house in south central France, what would be your preferred orientation (S,N,E,W). We’ve been looking at prefabricated wooden houses so low thermal mass. I think a big overhang would be of great benefit - especially with large windows/doors.
I’m also trying to find out more about water heaters that incorporate a heat exchanger. I could see in a showhouse the pipes going to the ceiling but not sure what happens up in the loft.
The wall insulation I’d never seen before.
Anyone had dealings with Amibois?

I would put it, build it in a direction that protects you from the heat.

Winter is not your problem in France the heat is.

South Central France ? I would not go too far south. It is going to get a lot lot hotter in France over the next 10 years. And I would build it on a hill.

On a hill yes, but with nothing dangerous above you. Our house in SW France we regard as perfect. South and West facing with stands of large protecting forest to the North and East.

Sun all day in the winter and fair warning of impending rain and storms from the SW.

We didn’t build it btw, nor did we buy it for those qualities. Just got lucky. :joy:

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Is this ideal in the south though? I suppose with a stone built house for example it’s useful to allow in a lot of heat but otherwise wouldn’t one need to keep closing shutters. I like the idea of an overhanging roof (single story house) which would prevent too much sun heating the interior in the summer months.

My big 3m window faces south west so I get the sun for most of the day which last winter kept the heating costs down as it warmed the interior. My roof also hangs over by a good metre so protects the windows somewhat but obviously a really good overhang would have advantages no end like chalets have for storing stuff under. We had lots of houses built locally in wood up in Bretagne but they all seemed to suffer the same green algae cover or fade problem, maybe it was the proximity of the sea and the salt! Maybe you could visit some already built and see how they are faring, most decent constructors/fabricators wouldn’t mind I am sure.

Doubt we would suffer from the same issue here but we were told that when choosing a lighter outside cladding it doesn’t darken at the same rate at different heights. Can start with a darker stained timber or use a cement wood mix.

I watched a program with a house built in Spain or Portugal, cant remember and it was clad in cork so probably Portugal, it was very effective as a barrier.

Dont most water heaters have heat exchangers?

What is the situation now with wood pellets? Has the price stabilised? Would it be worth paying (quite a lot) more for a heat pump air/air system?
I suppose the latter can also cool to a degree (did you like that?)

If you are building an air tight resonably well insulated home then air to air is less expensive and with multiple split units indoors you can select which rooms you want heating also its a quicker responding setup than say wet radiators which also take up more pace around the walls.

It would be the way I would go. And yes you could cool too although I would also be looking at passive cooling.

Dont forget a heat recovery ventilation system.

I would say the price has definitely stabilised compared to the gyrations of recent months…At Gamm Vert for example, it’s now 7,50€ a 15kg bag, which is exactly what we paid prior to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. It reached about 14-15 at one point!

I personally would not go the pellet burner route regardless of the price of pellets.

Wood yes……pellet burner no.


Re the orientation… I like to see the light of day, thus would prefer windows East and West…
I’d need good insulation against the perishing North winds
and for the South-facing windows… an abri to shade against the Southern sun (which is lovely, but boiling in summer)

currently, we have one North facing window, whose shutters are rarely open… that room also has a lovely East facing window, which works well.

I’m curious why not.

We have an open fireplace at the moment… anything must be better than that! Looks pretty but doesn’t do much to heat the large living room let alone the rest of the house.

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They run on électricité….so when the electricity goes down so does your heating.

They run on electronics….the electronics carte will break eventually. They do.

They need servicing ever year……good luck with having a technician for your make and model.

They are noisy….forget watching TV with one in a room.

They need filling and emptying every day.

The pellets need storing…and different pellets offer different quality.

The most important thing……they are pig ugly to have in a house.

So yeah….not much going for them.

Like electric cars.

Not necessarily….


We have one and it is….too hot. Lol. It heats the house.

You have the beauty of a fireplace and no loss of heat.

Best investment we have made in France.

You could not be more wrong on electric cars or open fires. Find one article anywhere on the internet that states open fires are more efficient or effective than a wood burner let alone safer or healthier to be in the same room with.

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Haha. I admit I don’t really know enough about pellet heaters but we’ll have to agree to disagree on electric cars :wink:

You missed the point…my fireplace has 3 glass fronts. There is no heat loss.

It looks like a fireplace…and all the beauty of an open fireplace….seeing logs burn….and it heats the house.

Santa would not be happy though. He can’t deliver presents

Possibly, on the other hand your put down sounded like conventional open fires. Its not always easy to describe things exactly as they are, its actually a bit of an art.:blush: