Open floor plans have become the standard in new home construction. With these plans, there are no longer several small rooms, but large multi-purpose rooms with better flow between living areas. It seems that everyone is looking for energy efficient homes for sale. Today’s windows, HVAC systems, and insulation have become more effective. So, there is less of a need to close off dining rooms or other areas not in use to moderate heat and cooling and to save on utility bills. Let’s take a closer look at why new homes are so much more energy efficient than older homes.
Homes of Yesteryear
With many older “leaky” houses, the best way to keep them warm or cool is to close off rooms, roll up a towel or blanket to place in front of exterior thresholds, and wrap plastic around windows. This keeps the cold or warm air in the house and doesn’t allow other air to leak in. Residents wear heavy sweaters in the winter and use fans in the summer to regulate body temperature. It’s the best, and sometimes only, way to avoid high utility bills. Older houses often have fireplaces in the main living area to help warm the home, too. Old windows usually have just one pane of glass and entrance doors are frequently ill-fitting. Either there is no insulation in the walls at all, or builders used things such as a newspaper or thin, ineffective stuffing. Homeowners who are trying to heat or cool their old homes are fighting a losing battle.
Today’s Energy Efficient Homes
Today, homes are built with much greater energy efficiency in mind. Windows have up to three panes of glass, keeping cold and heat where they need to be. Insulation is sprayed or rolled between studs, in the attic, and finished basements, keeping the home airtight. HVAC systems can be regulated to heat or cool separate zones to different temperatures and for different times of the day. It could be incredibly expensive to retrofit an old house to try to match the efficiency of today’s homes.
Sunlight, Breezes, and Windows
One of the benefits of an open floor plan with lots of windows is that you will have sunshine to illuminate and warm your home, lowering utility bills. With so much natural light, there is less need for artificial lighting. Also, you get to enjoy the view without stepping outside. In the summer, keep the blinds or curtains closed when too much sun is coming in. This will keep the indoors cooler.
Opening the windows on a pleasant day allows a cross breeze through the house, also reducing energy consumption. Adding ceiling fans to an open floor plan lets the air flow throughout and makes your home’s HVAC system work more efficiently as well.
If you’re thinking of building a new home or remodeling your current home, there are many ways to do so with efficiency in mind. Jewell Homes experts will help you choose a floor plan, windows, HVAC, and other systems so you will save energy and money in the long run.