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Community and Q&A

Feedback on house layout/orientation

GREG GRIGUTIS | Posted in General Questions on

I posted a question several months ago looking for feedback/constructive criticism on a new home layout I was working on. I’ve tried to incorporate a lot of the advice given into my revised layout. Was curious to see if any of you experts had any further thoughts.

The primary views on the lot are to the East, with distant views to the West/North West. Have neighbors to N and S. Large hill partially covering western end of lot, open at NW corner, otherwise no neighbor on that side. No neighbor across street to the East. Lot is 1.25 acre. A wash running through front half of property and septic percolation area has more or less dictated the general area the home could be built. Home is in the Phoenix, AZ area and for now slated to be ICF.

Below are some screenshots of model:

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  1. User avatar GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #1

    You aren't really asking a question. Are you simply proud of your results?

    It's hard to evaluate your design without floor plans.

  2. User avatar
    Stephen Sheehy | | #2

    Lots of roofs and corners make air sealing, flashing and insulation more difficult and expensive.

  3. Steve Knapp CZ 3A Georgia | | #3


    If possible, I would build the house with a detached garage. Here is one article that highlights why:

  4. User avatar
    Robert Opaluch | | #4

    Thoughts...Good: Looks like most window glazing is on the north and south sides, and not the west, which should avoid the brutal sun of Arizona summers. Good shading of most of the south windows too. White roof color would help reflect mid-day sunlight.

    You seem to have a long driveway from the street on the east to the garage on the west side of the building. But again you are managing to avoid sunlight overheating the house on summer afternoons especially.

    Personally I like the idea of setting the house back from the east/street boundary to avoid traffic noise and keep a more rural or upscale feel to the street traffic.

  5. T Carlson | | #5

    Steve, that article is terrible and poses no real argument for detached garages. There are 325 million people in the US, 2 dozen deaths over 12 years from forgeting to turn your car off is called natural selection.

  6. Steve Knapp CZ 3A Georgia | | #6

    T. Carlson. I see the car-related asphyxiation risk as an additional argument for not using attached garages (not the only reason). Admittedly, an attached garage should have an automatic exhaust fan, and the interior living space should have carbon monoxide detectors.

    Still, why not detach the garage if the lot allows?

    It's true that people should know better than leaving an idling car in an enclosed garage. But otherwise intelligent adults do stupid things all the time.

    A few days ago my wife had someone visiting our home. The visitor parked his plug-in Prius on the street in front of our house and left the air conditioning on to keep his dog comfortable. Initially, the air conditioning ran on the car's battery. But when the battery was depleted, the engine turned on to keep the air conditioner running. Admittedly, the Prius was parked outdoors. So there was no safety issue in this case. But as I said, people do stupid things all the time.

  7. User avatar
    Dana Dorsett | | #7

    Steve: I see car related asphyxiation risk as an additional argument to stop using fossil fuels for personal transportation.

    The electric vehicle tsunami is coming- were still at the thin leading edge of that rising tide, but WELL within the lifecycle of the house I'm expecting internal combustion engines to all but disappear for cars and light trucks, current offerings of plug-in hybrids notwithstanding. Several countries already have established firm dates after which it will be illegal to sell new cars and light trucks with internal combustion engines.

    In Norway that date is 2025.

    In the Netherlands, India, Germany, Ireland, and Israel it's 2030.

    In the UK, France, and Taiwan its 2040.

    But outright bans or subsidies in the post 2025 era are not necessary to drive rapid transition to EVs. Given the double-digit cost learning curve of batteries, and the extremely low maintenance costs of EVs they are poised to soon become the no-brainer option for new car/truck buyers, and before 2030 will be cheaper (and are already more reliable) than internal combustion engine cars.

    For new construction put the garage wherever you want- just be sure to wire it up for car charging, even if you're parking a fossil burner there in the near term.

  8. User avatar
    Peter Engle | | #8

    I think the deaths related to attached garages might be higher than that article indicates, since there's no real database for that. Here's another article, citing over 2 dozen deaths, just related to keyless ignition in the past few years.

    With or without a fossil burner in the garage, there's lots of other nasty stuff stored in garages. Pesticides, solvents, fuel for yard tools (while they are still allowed to be gas-powered), etc. Not necessarily a reason to totally separate the garage, but certainly you need to pay as much attention to the air barrier between the garage and the house as the house and the rest of the world.

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