Historically, glass roof sunrooms have been situated on the southern sunny side of the house, and to a lesser extent, if the south side was not available, facing east or west. Few were placed on the north side. This preference seems to continue today. There remains a perception that the south-facing side is the location of choice, a preference that seems to be based on the belief that glass roof sunrooms are cold in winter and can be warmed by the winter sun. What seems to be ignored is that developments over the past two decades in glass technology have brought sunroom design to the point where they can be built comfortably and economically facing any direction-north, south, east, or west.
North facing sunrooms, especially where the interior wall separating the sunroom from the original house has been removed, can have a stunning impact as the original north facing rooms become more exposed to the sun’s diffused light. Too often, the beauty and importance of diffused light is ignored in sunroom planning. Owners of north-facing sunrooms where the kitchen is located towards the backyard will invariably report that their house has been transformed. Previously the south-facing rooms at the front of the house (usually the living room) had served as a preferred location for relaxing and entertaining. However, with the addition of a north-facing sunroom, this is no longer the case. People love a bright cheery kitchen or family room, even when they are north-facing, and that is what north-facing sunrooms will deliver, even on a cloudy day.
North-facing sunroom owners will often comment how surprised they are on cloudy days to see their neighbours with their lights on, even in their south-facing rooms, while their own sunroom is still bathed in natural light. Most newspapers have a home section they run on weekends in which they frequently feature new kitchen additions and renovations. Invariably all the lights are turned on to make the room look bright and cheery. That simply does not happen with a glass roof sunroom.
North-facing is not the only option. We have only mentioned it here as too often wonderful home addition opportunities are not explored for all the wrong reasons. East-facing is also desirable as it gives you an opportunity to capture the morning light, as well as diffused light throughout the balance of the day. Similarly, south and west are also functional thanks to the heat reflective properties of ConservaGlass Select. West-facing rooms, however, can be problematic, regardless of whether or not they have shingled, foam core or glass roofs and may benefit from the application of vertical shading in the afternoon. This is especially true on hot summer days, from mid June through mid August, and after about 2:30 or 3:00 p.m. when the sun sinks lower in the sky and starts to strike the sunroom’s vertical glass more than its more reflective roof glass.
There is one interesting point about west-facing rooms during those hotter weeks of summer. Glass roof sunrooms from Four Seasons Sunrooms are built with vertical ConservaGlass Select which limits the amount of infrared heat entering the room to less than 40%. Conventional shingle roof rooms are usually built using low-E argon which usually allows over 80% of that heat to enter the room. Not surprisingly, homeowners who opt for a conventional shingle roof sunroom may find that not only is their house darker, but their sunroom is hotter than if they had chosen a glass roof with efficient heat reflective glass rather than the low-E glass normally used in quality windows found in conventional construction.