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Building Your Empty Nester Home

Once all the kids head off to col­lege, emp­ty nesters must decide what to do with the extra space in their homes. A com­mon emp­ty nester hous­ing trend is to down­size and move to a small­er house. A sought after emp­ty-nester home is a sin­gle sto­ry house with a sim­ple and effi­cient floor plan.

Ener­gy-effi­cien­cy, low main­te­nance, and dura­bil­i­ty are also essen­tial fea­tures of an emp­ty-nest home. A superb prod­uct for build­ing a small, ener­gy-effi­cient, and low main­te­nance emp­ty-nester home is the Bau­tex Wall Sys­tem.

Growing Numbers of Empty-Nesters are Downsizing

As baby boomers age, the num­ber of emp­ty nests in the Unit­ed States (U.S.) has steadi­ly grown. Accord­ing to a report by Zil­low, in the U.S., the num­ber of emp­ty nests increased from 13.2 mil­lion house­holds in 2005 to 18.3 mil­lion house­holds in 2015.

Unfor­tu­nate­ly, in recent years, the num­ber of emp­ty nesters still car­ry­ing a mort­gage has also increased. In 2005, 4.9 mil­lion emp­ty nesters house­holds held a mort­gage. By 2015, this num­ber increased to 8 mil­lion. Con­se­quent­ly, many emp­ty nesters are choos­ing to trade their large, expen­sive homes for a more finan­cial­ly man­age­able, small­er home.

Why Empty Nester are Choosing New Home Construction

Down­siz­ing emp­ty nesters may be in for a shock, how­ev­er, when look­ing for an afford­able new home, due to increas­ing home prices and a lack of home list­ings, as report­ed by the Nation­al Asso­ci­a­tion of Real­tors. The com­bi­na­tion of high prices and lack of avail­able, afford­able homes is encour­ag­ing new con­struc­tion as a down­siz­ing option for emp­ty-nesters.

Designing and Building an Empty Nester Home

Accord­ing to the NAHB Eco­nom­ics and Hous­ing Pol­i­cy Group, baby boomers have sev­er­al spe­cif­ic require­ments for an emp­ty-nester house plan: ener­gy-effi­cien­cy, low main­te­nance, and small, orga­nized floor plan.

Building an Energy-Efficient Empty Nester Home

In gen­er­al, baby boomers aim to build a home that is good for the envi­ron­ment and their pock­et­books. As a result, ener­gy-effi­cien­cy is top on the list when build­ing a new home. Emp­ty-nesters want a home that is Ener­gy Star® rat­ed for the whole house, includ­ing its appli­ances, and win­dows. They also want insu­la­tion for the home to be high­er than the required code.

Empty Nesters Energy-Efficient Homes Require a Tight Building Envelope

Builders and archi­tects of emp­ty nesters ener­gy-effi­cient homes must include a tight build­ing enve­lope that min­i­mizes heat gain and mois­ture intru­sion. Vital design com­po­nents for a tight build­ing enve­lope include con­tin­u­ous insu­la­tion and an air and mois­ture bar­ri­er.

Con­tin­u­ous insu­la­tion, along with an air and mois­ture bar­ri­er, pre­vents mois­ture intru­sion and air leak­age. The enve­lope includes all the exte­ri­or ele­ments of the home: the walls, roof­ing, foun­da­tions, doors, and win­dows.

Building Energy-Efficient Walls for Empty Nesters with the Bautex Wall System

The walls are a crit­i­cal ele­ment in pre­vent­ing heat gains and pro­duc­ing a tight enve­lope of an ener­gy-effi­cient home. The walls of an ener­gy-effi­cient home should have a high effec­tive R‑value.

An ener­gy-effi­cient wall should also incor­po­rate prod­ucts with high reflec­tiv­i­ty and low emis­siv­i­ty that lim­it the absorp­tion of radi­ant heat. Ener­gy-effi­cient walls are a vital com­po­nent of a tight build­ing enve­lope for an emp­ty nester home.

The Bau­tex Wall Sys­tem is an excel­lent, high ther­mal mass prod­uct for cre­at­ing a tight build­ing enve­lope for an ener­gy-effi­cient emp­ty-nester home. The Bau­tex™ Block achieves the ther­mal per­for­mance required by the IRC and pro­vides a high-lev­el of con­tin­u­ous insu­la­tion that pre­vents the flow of heat by con­duc­tion, con­vec­tion, and ther­mal radi­a­tion.

The Bau­tex insu­lat­ed con­crete blocks have R‑14 con­tin­u­ous insu­la­tion that stops ther­mal bridges and exceeds the codes and stan­dards of the (ASHRAE 90.1) Code (2015 IECC) for most cli­mate zones in the Unit­ed States.

In addi­tion, apply­ing the Bau­tex AMB 20 air and mois­ture bar­ri­er to the Bau­tex Blocks cre­ates a mois­ture-resis­tant, air­tight, and com­fort­able home for today’s emp­ty-nesters.

The Roof of a Tight Building Envelope for an Empty Nester Home

A cool roof is key to the design of an ener­gy-effi­cient home. Cool roofs pro­tect against solar heat and keep the attic and home cool. Low ther­mal mass prod­ucts for a cool roof, like tiles, have light col­ored pig­ments that reflect the sun­light and are excel­lent choic­es for cool roofs.

The Foundation of a Tight Building Envelope for an Empty-Nester Home

Con­crete slab foun­da­tion and a con­tin­u­ous lay­er of rigid foam insu­la­tion under the slab can sep­a­rate the ground from an ener­gy-effi­cient house. Sep­a­rat­ing the home from the ground is a vital com­po­nent of a tight­ly sealed build­ing enve­lope.

The Glazing System of a Tight Building Envelope for an Empty Nester Home

A tight build­ing enve­lope of an emp­ty nester home should also include ener­gy-effi­cient win­dows, sky­lights, and doors.

Building a Low-Maintenance Home with the Bautex Wall System

Along with sav­ing mon­ey, down­siz­ing emp­ty nesters want a home with min­i­mal main­te­nance and long-term integri­ty. The Bau­tex Wall Sys­tem cre­ates a low main­te­nance and durable house that will pro­vide emp­ty-nesters a qual­i­ty home for years to come.

  • Bau­tex AMB 20 air and mois­ture bar­ri­er applied to the block wall stops air and mois­ture infil­tra­tion to the inte­ri­or of a home. Mois­ture resis­tance is crit­i­cal to pre­vent­ing rot, which can degrade the home and lead to expen­sive repairs and main­te­nance. Mois­ture also caus­es mold which dimin­ish­es the indoor envi­ron­men­tal qual­i­ty (IEQ) of the house.
  • Bau­tex Blocks are low-main­te­nance because they are ter­mite resis­tant. Ter­mites can destroy the dura­bil­i­ty of a house and cost thou­sands of dol­lars in main­te­nance and repairs.

Small and Efficient Empty Nester House Plans

Award-win­ning emp­ty-nester house plans are often small, sim­ple, and effi­cient. Emp­ty-nesters are look­ing for sin­gle-fam­i­ly detached homes that are less than 1900, square feet. Accord­ing to the NAHB, emp­ty nesters want the fol­low­ing options for the floor plan of their new home.

  • 75 per­cent of emp­ty nesters want a sin­gle-sto­ry home.
  • 50 per­cent of emp­ty nesters want three bed­rooms and a full or par­tial base­ment
  • 80 per­cent of emp­ty nesters want table space in the kitchen for eat­ing and a walk-in pantry
  • 75 per­cent of emp­ty nesters want two full bath­rooms as well as a linen clos­et in the mas­ter bath.


Emp­ty nesters choose to sell their large homes and down­size to sim­pli­fy their lives and save mon­ey. Ener­gy-effi­cient, low main­te­nance, durable, sin­gle sto­ry, and sim­ple floor plans are fea­tures often sought by today’s emp­ty nesters. An ide­al prod­uct for build­ing an ener­gy-effi­cient, low main­te­nance, durable, and small emp­ty nester house is the Bau­tex Wall Sys­tem.