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10 Design Flaws in the Average Home

Poorly Lit and Underpowered
Taking advantage of natural lighting can help you reduce energy costs.
Taking advantage of natural lighting can help you reduce energy costs.

When asking one of the most acclaimed architects of the 20th century, Richard Meier, what he thinks is a common design flaw in the average home, he replied, "Too few houses take advantage of natural light" [source: Meier].

A Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) study found that "In a typical building, lighting accounts for 25 to 40 percent of energy consumption. In addition to its health and financial benefits, natural light also provides an almost 'perfect white light' that has a number of visual benefits" [source: ScienceDaily].

Buyers and sellers may rave about how many windows a property has, but even natural lighting has problems. Although the warmth from the sunlight streaming through all those windows may be welcome in winter, in summertime the windows may need to be covered to keep temperatures down. You also have to keep all those windows clean. And then there's the matter of privacy. Consider the placement of windows and perform draft and privacy checks at different times of day. Having a neighbor's window too near your bathroom or bedroom windows may be a little too close for comfort if you don't want to be seen or heard in private moments.

Most people don't want to live in a cave, but with some exceptions, they don't want to be overexposed either. If a space is in need of lots of artificial lighting, electric outlets and extension cords, or a large investment in window coverings, the overall design could be a problem.