Why one story homes can deliver on energy efficiency

Why Single-Story Homes Can Deliver Energy Efficiency

Unlike heads, two floors aren't always better than one. There are many benefits that come from a one-story house plan, all of which may best be described in terms of energy efficiency.

Heating and cooling are perhaps the most commonly understood concepts when it comes to energy efficiency, but it may also apply to the energy involved in construction, or even the effort required to clean a home. Despite the compact nature of many one-story homes, however, they can still deliver spacious interiors and flexibility of design, as demonstrated by plans such as this one. Here are just some of the potential advantages that could come with sticking to the ground floor.

Less heating
Maintaining temperature in a home can be costly, and the design of that home has a huge impact on how effectively it's done. The more rooms there are in a house, the more energy that will be required to heat and cool. One-story houses generally have fewer rooms compared to homes of a similar footprint. Yet, they are more energy efficient also due to the nature of air. Heat rises, which means that the warm air in a two-story home will immediately rise to the second floor, making it take longer to heat up the downstairs or even make immediate changes to a house's temperature. In a one-story, heat will immediately hit the ceiling and begin to spread to other rooms.

Of course, the relative efficiency of homes depends on the size of the floor plan. One-story homes that occupy twice as much lot space as their taller counterparts may become less efficient as a result of their sprawling design. Also, the quality of construction and a home's thermal seal will drastically affect HVAC performance.

Less materials
While the size of the footprint is again a relevant factor, generally, one-story house plans demand less construction materials and building time than two-story homes. Those materials, ranging from wood and concrete to glass and stone, make up the inherent energy of a home. Cutting down on them reduces the environmental impact of building the structure. That reduction can be both eco-friendly and also cost-effective for homeowners trying to save money.

Less cleaning effort
Hiking up and down stairs can be a pain, especially with a laundry basket or a vacuum in tow. By getting rid of the stairs, you can save yourself plenty of time and effort. You may also cut down on the safety hazard that comes with carrying heavy materials up steps. Sticking to one floor may also mean fewer rooms to clean, as many one-story homes have great rooms and other flexible designs that make spaces compact.

Less stuff
Another way such single-story homes can make your lifestyle more efficient is by limiting the amount of space you have to store your belongings. That may sound more stressful than beneficial, but less room often forces people to be more efficient with their furnishings and more careful about the junk they choose to keep around. Less stuff also leads to fewer things that require cleaning or clutter that demands organizing come spring. Reducing clutter can even cut down on the stress that comes with maintaining such a heavily furnished home.

Other considerations
Shorter homes still come with their disadvantages. They may not offer as much space, and privacy may be harder to come by when much of a one-story home's design is based on multi-use spaces. Also, as mentioned, the listed advantages are based on comparable footprints between one- and two-story homes. Yet, for homeowners that that are interested, they may find these smaller houses to be a cozy and efficient means of living.