When fortunate enough to build your dream home from the ground up, it’s very hard to not want to build some sort of open floor plan. You might not go full Frank Lloyd Wright with an open plan from stem to stern, but the common areas of your house are perfect for an open plan. There is, however, the challenge of maximizing energy efficiency in an open plan. While this style of home is wonderful for entertaining guests and creating a communal atmosphere, there’s no denying that they’re more difficult and expensive to heat and cool. Part of the reason closed off floor plans were created was to control the temperature of homes easier. That’s why you see so many Victorian style homes with a stove/furnace in each room. By closing off rooms into smaller areas, it was easier to heat and keep heated a bedroom, living room, etc. Here are the best ways to maximize energy efficiency in your new, open floor plan.
Shoot, we’d put this is any room regardless of whether it’s open or not. There’s nothing worse than having to leave your nice, warm bed in the early morning hours and having your feet meet cold hard floor. Granted, carpet will also help alleviate this issue. But as hard floors will always be attractive and easier to keep clean, especially in rooms like the kitchen and dining area, then installing a system that heats your floor will assist tremendously in the colder months. Open floor plans at the very least connect the living and dining rooms with the kitchen. It’s more economical to install a heated floor and use area rugs to distinguish each area, rather than go half carpet, half hard floor.
Depending on your view, you may want to install windows that span from floor to ceiling. Perched up on a mountainside, of course you’re going to want to take advantage of all this view has to offer. However, this also allows for sunlight to pierce through your room all day long making your HVAC system work around the clock to keep its cool. When it comes time to choose which windows you install keep an eye out for windows that come will low-e gas fillers as well as UV coatings to keep the sun’s rays at bay. Once they’re installed, consider your treatment options. You could opt for a set of retractable blackout curtains and use them during the hottest parts of the day. You don’t have to go full blackout, but dress your windows with some type of shade as well as curtains for a classy design element.
Here’s some fun trivia knowledge. The motors used to run the first ceiling fans were actually adapted from the motor that Phillip Diehl had invented for Singer sewing machines. What a clever man. Since 1882 ceiling fans have been used to help disperse air in a room and keep the heat from building up. Luckily, a lot has happened in the world of technology and invention and you can install an energy efficient fan in your open floor home. This way, you’re lending a helping hand to your AC without racking up the energy bills.
There’s no need to shy away from the floor plan of your dreams. But implementing these finer details will help keep your average costs down while maintaining perfect balance in your home.