One question that is often asked particularly by Mainland buyers is, “Why are there so many houses in Hawaii that don’t have air conditioning?” On an island with a climate that is hot almost year round, this doesn’t seem to make much sense. There are, however, two understandable reasons for this.
Design. First, many of the homes without A/C were built prior to the 1950’s. Following the post-war economic boom, air conditioning installation became common practice. However, prior to this, it was almost non existent. In Hawaii, the plantation style homes unique to the islands were built to be able to ventilate and cool themselves naturally. The jalousies or slanted windows common in most homes here are not only an architectural nuance, they also promote airflow, utilizing trade winds to keep homes cool. Newer homes that are built without A/C tend to not have jalousies primarily due to personal preference.
Price. Many newer homes are built with multiple ceiling fans as it costs much less than installing A/C. Installing central A/C for a 2,000 sqft home can cost around $3,500-4,000. Including the cost of electricity at 45c/KWH, it definitely adds up. The option that is most common is split A/C, which allows separate A/C units to be installed in a select amount of rooms and are able to be controlled individually.
Whatever option you decide to look for in your new home, there are many different options out there to fit your preference and financial needs so you can be comfortable. With summer approaching, I hope that everyone finds different ways to keep cool. If you would like more information on the Hawaii lifestyle, or are interested in Oahu real estate opportunities, please contact me.