Open Floor Plans and Energy Efficiency

Open floor plans are all the rage now. A sharp contrast to the stuffy closed-off designs of historic homes, open floor plans emphasize long sight lines and efficient use of space. What you might not know is that they can significantly improve the energy efficiency of your custom home!

About Open Floor Plans

Open floor plans are relatively new. Their origin is in the early 1900s with Frank Lloyd Wright, but given average wages and building techniques at the time, the earliest designs were conceptual or relegated to the ultra-rich. Connected kitchens and dining rooms gained popularity in the 50s, and as incomes rose, so too did ceilings and room sizes.

Open floor plans offer appeal for many reasons. For one, they connect highly trafficked areas of the home – usually the living room and kitchen – therefore connecting the people in said areas. The open, airy feel is also pleasant to many. However the removal of a wall also opens up a home’s utility systems, namely light and temperature control.

Light

Natural light is free light, and open floor plans allow it to spread freely. This is especially true for living rooms, where the home’s largest windows are usually located. It also means that a single large light – such as a chandelier – can provide lighting for a larger area. This can significantly reduce your electricity costs.

Heating and Cooling

Just as they obstruct light, walls also obstruct air…and in a closed-off floor plan, that means each room must be heated and cooled individually. An open floor plan lets air flow more freely: an open window will let more people feel the outside breeze, and a shut window lets in more heating sunlight in the winter months. That means less work for your HVAC system and a lower utility bill.

One potential concern for cooling open floor plans is verticality. Because hot air rises, a loft area could run into cooling challenges. This and rooms with high ceilings require careful cooling design and more powerful HVAC systems.

Are you looking for a beautiful custom home in Raleigh, Durham, or Chapel Hill? As one of the most experienced custom home builders in the Triangle, Bold Construction can craft the luxurious home of your dreams. Best of all, we do it with you in mind and easy-to-understand fixed price contracts.

Contact Bold Construction now and let’s build something bold together.