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Editor's Notepad

Editor's Notepad

Making a House Livable Trumps Energy Efficiency

comments (0) June 10th, 2011 in Blogs
ScottG Scott Gibson, contributing writer

How efficient a home is could be a moot point if nobody wants to live in it.Click To Enlarge

How efficient a home is could be a moot point if nobody wants to live in it.

John and Rebecca thought they might get some ideas for reducing thermal bridging, or choosing the best heating systems for their new house, when they shared their house plans in a recent Q&A forum post. What they got had little to do with those questions. Instead, their post opened the door to an extended conversation about the merits of their floor plan itself.

It's awful, one post said, with mechanicals squeezed into a passage to the only bathroom. It will quickly feel too small, and there's no provision for making it any larger. There's not even a good spot for a dining table.

Others thought the judgment was too harsh, pointing to 20th century homes that were much smaller and yet still deemed adequate to raise a family.

The debate is really about making small, energy efficient homes as livable as possible, and whether sustainable building is too often focused  on technical questions rather than how the house will feel after the family has moved in.

That's the subject of this week's Q&A Spotlight.



posted in: Blogs, architecture, energy efficiency, floor plans
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