We watched our neighbor's construction from our second floor for several weeks and were perplexed at the shortness of the ceiling height and lack of windows or room partitions. It didn't look like the ceiling height could possibly be 8 feet high.
We bumped into another neighbor who explained that they added that second floor to cool their house because these homes didn't have a ceiling to help insulate the house from the Hawaiian heat. They're planning to use the space for storage and wouldn't be using it for living space. Ahhhhhh.... that explains it.
I think air conditioning might have been cheaper but then again, storage space in Hawaii is at a premium. Still, this seems like a drastic solution to me. Fun, but drastic.
We just noticed another neighbor choosing a cheaper option to cool their house. They're painting their roof white to reflect the sun's heat.