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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.