Typically the response when you ask someone “Which way is South?” is “Who cares?”. Well I’ll tell you, if you’re interested in your home economy and creating a production based home economy, then knowing which way South is will prove to be very important. If you’re fortunate enough to be building a house on empty land, knowing which way is South will be vital for creating an efficient home that produces instead of just consumes…Of course, all this “Which way is South?” business is only for people living in the Northern Hemisphere. If you live in Brazil or Australia or something, I believe you’d replace South with North.
Why does South matter though? Well South matters for all kinds of things from garden location to solar panels because of the suns location in the sky. During the summer seasons in the Northern Hemisphere, the sun is high in the sky but in the winter the days are shorter and the sun is lower in the sky. When the sun is low in the sky during the winter, you’ll want your house facing south so that it gets as much sun exposure as possible. When you have solar panels this ensures electricity production all year round. When you have a garden it ensures you’re getting sun as much as you can to extend seasons as long as possible.
The sun can be used for all sorts of things from generating electricity to helping plants grow to helping heat areas. Facing South is important for all sorts of things regarding Home Economics that I think we will see as we continue down this path of creating a sustainable, even productive Home Economy. Do you know which way South is? How does your home line up with South? My home faces directly South which should open lots of opportunities to me.
There are several different ways to figure out which way South is, including your smart phone, a compass, the sun and even the stars! I’m no Jacques Cousteau, so when it comes to navigating with the stars, I can only offer this image to help. When it comes to the sun, it’s not too hard. The sun rises in the east and sets in the west generally speaking, so you should be able to find south fairly easily that way. Maybe I’ll make a video on how to use a compass at another time, but this isn’t an orienteering blog. Hopefully with today’s technology, you can easily figure out which way South is in regards to your property and can start planning parts of your home economy based on that information.