Home Footprint

Home Footprint - reduce the size of your home for a sustainable design.

Reduce Your Home Footprint

Reducing The Size Of Your Home Results In Signification Savings

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Your Home Footprint plays a very significant role in the design and construction of your new home. As we face higher building costs, land prices that are skyrocketing, and the cost of energy is ever spiraling out of control, a lot of people are gravitating toward leaner and more energy responsible designs.

One the biggest items that drive our home costs is energy usage and land coverage as does the floor plan size or footprint of our home. Keep in mind that footprint refers only to the actual amount of area that the first floor of your home occupies, measured to the exterior wall surface of the occupied spaces.

When calculating your Home Footprint, include all living spaces and exclude large storage rooms, breezeways, shops, garages and carports and other unoccupied spaces.

Also, the more materials we use in our home the more natural resources we consume, from wood products to petroleum products, stone, clay and this has a great impact on our planet.

Build A Smaller Planned Home

Build A Smaller Footprint Home

Size Matters With Home Construction

By reducing the Home Footprint we can proportionally reduce the cost of the home and just as important the amount of energy the home consumes.

The energy usage is becoming one of the concerns that comes to the forefront since the drastic increase in natural gas costs in the last few years, so energy efficiency is also a very relevant subject that we will cover elsewhere in this site.

Does a smaller footprint mean more cramped and do we have to give up some of the things we are accustomed to with our lifestyle?

Not necessarily. Quite often we build and live in homes that contain rooms that are seldom or ever used and therefore should not have been built in the first place, so that is an easy way to reduce our home footprint.

Open Seem Much Larger Than They Are

Open Seem Much Larger Than They Are

Determine Your Functional Usage Of Each Space

Of course some of the design principles we will talk about here will not apply to everyone since we all place different priorities in different spaces. For instance, some people love to spend a lot more time in their bedroom, to watch television, read, do their homework, crafts and the like.

Other people will use it strictly for sleeping and do their living in other parts of the house.

Many people desire a large open and spacious living area, with soaring ceilings and minimal division between spaces. This gives a very grand space and even if all adjacent spaces are somewhat smaller, the space will seem very large and spacious.

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Small Homes Can Seem Large

Small Homes Can Seem Large

Design Tips For Smaller Home Footprints Here Are A Few Design Tips and Recommendations to Reduce Your Home Footprint
Design your exterior spaces to be an extension of the interior spaces. Place a lot of energy efficient glazing between the walls that separate the spaces. You will be amazed how much larger your interior spaces become with this extra glass.
Keep areas as open as possible between adjacent spaces. For instance, open your dining and living/family room up, or open the kitchen up to the dining room and living/family room. Also if you desire sound isolation, use sheets of glass to separate the spaces.
Work with volume. Low ceilings make us feel cramped and shut-in. Use low ceiling only as a design element to trick us into feeling cramped and then enter into a large volume - this is a great surprise to experience. Higher than normal ceilings work wonders for creating a feeling of spaciousness, even in small spaces.
Work with sheets of insulated glass without obstruction from mullions. Use what is called "butt joint" glass, in which the thermal pane glass is supported only at the top and bottom. The ends are butted together and sealed with clear sealant in the 1/4" space between the glass. This is the ultimate in bringing the outdoors to the indoors illusion.

Bring Lots of Natural Lighting Into Your Home

Bring Lots of Natural Lighting Into Your Home

Bringing Natural Daylighting Into Your Home

Consider clerestory window areas to bring natural lighting into your home. This will make the spaces seem larger and more expansive. But you ask, more volume means more heat loss? Yes it does, just pay attention to your supply and return air ductwork and capture the rising warm air that risers and reuse it.

A lot of the time smaller spaces can be more intimate and make you feel more comfortable and have that cozy feeling. Think of a window-seat for example. If it is comfortable, with soft seating and pillows, good light and a great view, you will stay there and make it one of your favorite spaces.

Try to design more of these "cozy" areas into your home that will use a lot.

Here are some additional examples to reduce your home footprint:
Breakfast Nooks
Compact Foyers
Laundry In An Alcove
Office Areas Small Compact and Efficient.

When I design a home I like to move away from the boxy look and provide a lot of small nitches, bump-outs, bump-ins etc., to create interest and variation to the homeowners, in other words, the element of surprise is a great experience for a home.