This is a very personal question for most people as the desirability of a location is affected by popularity, access to facilities and road networks, cost of land, views from the plot, etc. However, from a sustainability point of view there are few points worth considering.
Orientation of the site makes a big difference to how much heating you’ll need over the year. In the UK, our coldest nights tend to have clear skies which are then followed by sunny mornings. This heat from the sun, even in the depths of winter, makes a big difference to your heating requirement.
A south facing site will allow you the best opportunity to take advantage of the Sun’s energy. That might be in the form of simple heat gain through the windows, heating of water in roof mounted panels or in the form of electricity from PV.
Exposure of the site is also a big consideration from an energy perspective. If the area receives strong winds you’ll need to make sure your building is very airtight so you don’t lose your heat from draughts. Exposure also determines the best design for a location. Bigger roof overhangs and more robust wall finishes protect from heavy rain and are important to reduce the need for maintenance.
Access to facilities, services, road networks and amenities are also aspects that can make a big difference to the impact of living in a particular location. The less driving involved the better and usually, the closer the building to conurbations, the cheaper services are.
If you want to find out more about how to effectively manage your sustainable building project, check out The Self-Build Series. This series of guides has been put together to you understand sustainable construction. We hope you find them useful!