a small modern square looking house int he middle of a field.

Doors, windows, insulation. All these qualities can make a home more energy-efficient, but did you know that so too can the shape of your home? It’s true! So which house shape boasts the most energy efficiency?

Dome-shaped homes are the most energy-efficient since they have fewer corners. This allows wind to travel over the home easily without air pressure changes, which all in all reduces air penetration and thus maintains a more even temperature. Cube-shaped homes are another good option.

In this article, we’ll talk further about why domed houses are more energy-efficient as well as their other benefits. If you’re getting a new eco-friendly home built, this is one article you’re not going to want to miss.

These Are the Most Energy-Efficient Home Shapes

Dome

Jumping right in, the home with the most energy-efficient shape is undoubtedly the dome. This half-sphere has a wide base and no corners. Energy loss tends to occur around home frameworks, so by reducing the number of corners to zero, wind travels without difficulty.

As wind can blow over the home with no complications, the air pressure remains consistent. This influences the rate of air penetration, which occurs less in a domed building. With less air penetration, the outside air cannot leak into the home, causing increases in temperature during the summer and decreases during the winter.

That’s not the only way that dome-shaped houses are greener than their angular counterparts. By installing a cupola with ventilation atop the dome, natural air can circulate more easily. If you’re not sure what a cupola is, it’s a small structure added to the tops of buildings and homes. Interestingly, it’s also shaped like a dome.

While it can seem like a stretch, igloo design is actually pretty energy efficient! Not only does it have the dome characteristics on the outside, but the snow and the dome design act as an insulator for inside as well.

A picture of an igloo lit up from the inside in the middle of night.

You can often skip the fans in a domed-shaped property unless in hot regions. Most domed houses are single-story. Since heat rises, the warm air would travel up through the vents in the cupola and then exit the house before the interior temperature could begin to increase.

Cube

The second-best home shape for energy efficiency is a cube.

Notice how we didn’t say the shape is rectangular, as yes, there is a difference between cubes and rectangles. Unlike many homes, which feature triangular roofs, a cube-shaped home has none of that. There are also no protrusions in the forms of bay windows, turrets, bump-outs, or dormers.

Although these extra features make a home more desirable, the various protrusions throughout the home’s design significantly reduce its energy efficiency. A cube shape–while more traditional than a dome–is not so complex to create heating and cooling difficulties.

A picture of a square-shaped modern home with a tan color and trees around it.
external of a modern house, view from the street

The length of the cube is the same on each side. That allows the home to ventilate well despite that it has corners instead of rounded edges. Keeping the home small is best for sustainability.

The Benefits of a Domed House

Admittedly, the idea of owning a dome-shaped house certainly takes some getting used to. That’s mostly because these homes look so unlike what you’re used to seeing, which is a house with straight lines and sharp angles.

If you’re willing to give it a chance, a domed house could be just what you’re looking for. Here are some benefits of a dome-shaped house besides the abovementioned energy efficiency.

Attention-Grabbing

When hunting for a new home, you like to have the best-looking property on the block. That’s part of the reason you decided to get a home built, so you can finally have the house of your dreams.

A dome-shaped house is certainly going to be the most interesting home on the street and probably the whole neighborhood. Well, unless all your neighbors have dome-shaped houses, that is.

As we established in the paragraphs above, the dome shape is so unconventional that it demands attention. Some people call the unique shape an architectural marvel. Others say domed houses are Star Wars homes.

You might get a whole lot more drop-ins by your curious neighbors who want to see the interior of your home after marveling at the exterior.

Hurricane-Resistant

In 2018, Business Insider published an article about a Southern California dome-shaped house for sale (to the tune of $5 million, might we add) that has fantastic hurricane resistance. In southern states where hurricanes are more common, this isn’t a bad feature.

Now, this house has a shell made of steel and concrete, which not all dome houses do. However, the dome shape in and of itself is weather-resistant, especially geodesic domes. These feature geodesic lines, shorter struts, and a polygonal or triangular framework.

Geodesic domes, even if they lack steel support, could withstand hurricane-force winds. It’s mostly due to the lack of flat surfaces, as the hard, gusty winds can travel around the house rather than plowing right through it.

Even snow can’t easily stick to a dome-shaped house very well due to the lack of flat surfaces.

Awesome Strength

Here’s the interesting thing about geodesic domes: the bigger they’re built, the stronger they are. You usually cannot say that about other house shapes.

a cutaway diagram showing the different materials and layers of a monolithic dome structure
Courtesy of Monolithic.org and David Collins. Shows the different materials, layers, and engineering of a concrete monolithic dome structure that is very energy efficient and strong to boot.

By adding concrete to the mix, some experts believe that geodesic domes could withstand large flying debris such as a car. Bio-ceramic geodesic domes are incredibly fire-resistant. Once one of these homes goes up, tearing it down is not very easy.

Conclusion

Are you getting a new home built? Although it’s unconventional compared to what you know, a geodesic dome is awesomely energy efficient. The fortified strength, weather resistance, and attention-grabbing nature of these homes are other perks.

If you just can’t let go of an angular home with corners, opt for an uncomplicated cube shape. It’s almost as eco-friendly! 

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