Industry News

The Relationship Between HVAC and Residential Architecture

Residential architecture

Residential architecture has evolved quite a bit over the centuries. Today’s homeowners favor a modern farmhouse style with open floorplans and large windows though in years’ past, Cape Cods and modernist prairie homes were popular. Home styles of every shape and size have their heyday.

Have you ever considered the relationship between residential architecture and indoor comfort? Mechanical HVAC systems are a relatively modern invention, so some of the features and characteristics we associate with early American home styles emerged to help keep people comfortable.

“Shotgun” style homes in the deep south often feature tall windows and ceilings as well as long, narrow hallways to help ventilate hot, humid air. Cape Cods, popularized in New England, position fireplaces in the center of the home to help distribute heat evenly. Mid-Atlantic colonial homes are known for their shuttered windows, which were shut to help keep home interiors cool during the heat of summer and warm in the winters.

Designing for Home Style

Architectural styles still impact how we experience our homes today, but fortunately, mechanical HVAC systems provide more consistent comfort and leave us less subject to the caprices of nature. We have the technology and the knowledge of building science to design HVAC systems appropriate for any home style or climate.

Take the modern farmhouse style we mentioned earlier. The open floor plan common in this style means that the home’s living area might be conditioned perfectly well with one, strategically-placed ductless wall-mounted indoor unit, or a low profile ducted unit with compact-duct design. Homes divided into many sections, like in the prairie style, would likely need multiple ductless indoor units to evenly distribute air. If the home is high-performance new construction, then a mix of ductless and ducted units might be the best option.

Factoring in Outdoor Environments

We might be less subject to nature, but it is as important as ever to consider the outside environment when choosing an HVAC system. Every detail matters.

When specifying equipment, your HVAC contractor will consider climate, landscaping, altitude and even your home’s orientation to the sun. A home with full sun exposure in a desert climate would certainly need a different HVAC system than a home in the same style, but located mountainside and surrounded by trees in the Pacific Northwest.

In some cases, the units selected can actually help increase the landscaping options and give homeowners even more design flexibility. Our outdoor units have slim profiles that allow more room for walkways or landscaping. Their quiet operation means they can be placed close to a patio or wall of a home without causing a disturbance.

The introduction of mechanical HVAC has expanded our design freedom in the sense that homeowners can build their dream home style in any climate — so long as the right mechanical system is applied. Working with contractors who have knowledge of not only HVAC, but building science as a whole, is the best way to ensure you’re getting the right system for your home’s layout, size and surrounding environment. Our Performance Builder team does just that by matching homeowners’ comfort and design preferences with efficiency and performance.

To learn more about residential HVAC solutions from Mitsubishi Electric, visit