How do you choose between a basement or slab on grade?

A. Delmas
Updated: Sept. 23, 2020

Hi, my apologies if this question has already been answered or has any glaring misconceptions.  I've only recently begun my journey into building my first home and am just starting to plan my layout.  I thought to copy the old bank barn style and have my house built into a north facing hill.  The main floor is accessed from the north and west, while the entire south would be windows from the main level and the basement, with the basement walking out to the south side.  I thought this lower profile would help with heat/cool retention from the earth, as well as protection from elements.

But, after reading some of your wonderful articles, I am wondering if the slab on grade is better and have a 2 storey house instead?  Is the energy loss from the 2nd storey less than a basement? And also, what about using the slab on grade with the Legalett solar air floor as your basement floor?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated, thanks so much!


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