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How to Heat and Cool a Barndominium


pexels-brandon-randolph-2042161What is a Barndominium and are they energy efficient?

Often referred to in its shortened form, “Barndo”, a Barndominium is a large structure most commonly constructed of old barn or ranch buildings no longer serving their original purpose. Barndominiums tend to have a metal building frame (and metal roof) and a foundation rather than the traditional wooden, brick, or concrete foundations of more modern and conventional homes. 

In recent years, Barndos have been rapidly gaining popularity because of the ease of renovation and lower cost of not having to build an entire foundation from the ground up, which can be one of the more costly aspects of building a home. The biggest draws to Barndos are the very large vaulted ceilings, the low cost to construct (because they are usually pre-existing buildings), and the energy efficiency (because of the metal structure).  

At MacroAir, we got our start in agriculture, specifically in the dairy industry, to keep dairy cows from overheating during hot summer months so that they could continue to produce milk in a more comfortable environment. We did this by inventing HVLS (high volume, low speed) ceiling fans. Needless to say, MacroAir is an expert in this industry, and we continue to serve clients in the agriculture and farming industry to this day. Learn how we helped Riverside Rancheros reduce costs by installing barn fans to improve their equestrian facilities

How much does a Barndominium cost?

Barndominium costs explained

While the cost of building your own Barndominium can vary greatly depending on where you live, generally it will be anywhere from $30-$50 per square foot. Now, compared to building a home the traditional way, which can start around $100-$500 per square foot (depending on the cost of materials), Barndominiums can be quite a bargain. The money you save on building your Barndominium can go to other areas, such as furnishings and interiors or renovating the outside of the unique structure, making it exactly what you envision your home looking like.

Barndominium energy costs. Are they energy-efficient? 

First off, Barndominiums are energy efficient and reduce carbon footprint because they are built upon an already existing structure. This cuts out the cost and energy needed to construct an entire foundation from scratch. Furthermore, adding adequate insulation and weatherization allows Barndominiums to be incredibly energy efficient. Proper insulation, often done using a combination of fiberglass and foam, will reduce heat loss and maintain proper temperature and moisture control, sustaining the structure's indoor environment. Finally, you'll want to make sure you have efficient windows and doors, preventing warm air from escaping when you don’t want it to.

How to heat a Barndominium

Bardominium heating

Efficient heating is extremely important during wintertime when looking to save money. Fortunately, there are many different ways to heat your Barndominium, including furnace, radiant heat, space heaters, heat pumps, and more. However, today we’ll be talking specifically about furnaces, radiant heat, and heat pumps, from the least to most energy-efficient primary heat source.


Furnaces are by far the most conventional heating systems with which people heat their homes. However, they are not known to be the most energy-efficient solution. Furnaces use either gas or electric energy to create heated air. Next, the heated air is pumped through air ducts throughout your home providing warmth. Older furnaces are far less efficient. But more modern gas-powered furnaces have become quite energy-efficient. They can greatly reduce the cost of heating your home, not to mention decrease your carbon footprint. There is a reason furnaces are the most common way to heat homes! They are reliable and very effective.

Heat Pumps

Heat pumps are a more energy-efficient option than furnaces. Plus, essentially they do the same job by generating heat and dispersing the hot air throughout your home's air ducts. A large difference between heat pumps and furnaces is that heat pumps can also be used to draw out warm air from your home and divert it outside during the hotter months. For this reason, you may opt to go with a heat pump system if you live in an area where removing warm air from your home would be beneficial. The only drawback of heat pumps is that they cost more initially than a furnace. However, they can effectively lower your monthly energy bill.

Radiant Heating System

Radiant Heating System for Bardominiums

Radiant heat can be one of the best ways to heat your home. This is especially true for those who have seasonal allergies. That's because it doesn’t involve circulating air and allergens throughout your home. Compared to both heat pumps and furnaces, radiant heat is much more energy-efficient. It also retains the heat in your home much more effectively. Radiant heat systems are installed underneath the floorboards, behind walls, or in the ceiling. They then distribute heat the same way that your oven radiates heat throughout your kitchen. While radiant heat is one of the most energy-efficient sources of heat, it has one of the highest upfront costs of purchasing and installation.

How to cool a Barndominium

Bardominium cooling

Central Air

Possibly the most common cooling system is central air conditioning. Central air can be combined with either a furnace or heat pump system to provide both heating and cooling. This is a big perk! However, central air can be quite pricey with the upfront installation cost of the air ducts. But once the system is installed, it can be quite efficient with different temperature settings. One major issue with air conditioning is that it can become expensive during the summer months. Fortunately, you have options to decrease your air conditioning bills during those months.

Bardominium air conditioner

Room Air Conditioners

Room air conditioners can be very effective at cooling small spaces like bedrooms, offices, or small living rooms. However, they probably are not the best option for cooling your entire home. The benefit of a room AC is the fact that you can get these units at quite an affordable price, and the installation requires only minor labor.

Thermally Driven Coolers

One of the newest types of HVAC for cooling your home is the thermally driven cooling system. This system runs on solar and/or gas power rather than electricity, which greatly reduces energy usage to cool your home. This will save you a good chunk of change in the short term. However, in the long term, purchasing a thermally driven cooling system can cost a pretty penny. This is because it requires solar panels to utilize solar energy as the main power source. On the plus side, the thermally driven coolers can use either solar or gas to run. So, even on cloudy days, your home will still stay cool.

Fans in your Barndominium


HVLS (High Volume, Low Speed) ceiling fans can be an amazing addition to your Barndominium for many reasons. Initially, barn fans were invented to keep animals comfortable to increase production, but they are great in non-animal settings, too. Not only do HVLS fans help to efficiently cool large spaces during the hotter months, but they also can provide warmth by circulating warm air throughout your space during the winter months. In the summer months, HVLS ceiling fans can be operated in a counterclockwise direction, pushing air downward to create a cool breeze. In the colder winter months, the direction of the fans can be changed to clockwise, pushing the warm air downward, which naturally rises to the ceiling and recirculates, providing a warm draft.

MacroAir is extremely proud to partner with Stacee Lynn at The Barndominium Company. This company literally sets the industry standard for all things barndo! In fact, Stacee Lynn, the founder and CEO, has been dubbed the Barndominium Baroness. MacroAir is proud to be her exclusive big fan endorsement. Be sure to check out her website for all things barndo, including building plans, blogs, trends, and more.

The Barndominium Company

We hope that this post has helped you to feel more equipped and confident on how to best heat and cool your own Barndominium. Download our heating and cooling reference page to help you through your barndo building process.