This is part of a continuing series of online articles explaining the Value of an Architect. This series uses hard cold cash numbers to explain why your using an Architect to design your house can pay you back many times over the Architect’s fee.
Our first article in this series was: VALUE OF AN ARCHITECT: ROOFING. In it, it was proven that just due the the Architect’s detailing and specifications of a superior roofing system, your roof will last many times longer than the bottom-line budget builder roof. In other words, if you allow an Architect to design your house, along with your roof and keep using that Architect-detailed and specified system, as opposed to the bottom-end one, you would end up saving over $50,000 during the life of your home (which also means that your Architect’s fee is more than paid back to you).
The second article looks at just one more VALUE OF AN ARCHITECT: LIGHTING. Your Architect sill specify today’s more energy efficient lamps (light bubs) and energy-efficient fixtures. A bottom-end builder will likely use less efficient components because all he is trying to do is make you happy with the very lowest FIRST cost possible, ignoring the LIFE CYCLE COST, of what you actually pay over the life of your residence.
So is there a big deal about using more efficient lighting? Apparently so. So much, that your local energy utility provider will GIVE you about a dozen or more of these high-efficiency “lamps.” Why? Because, when the power company studied how many households they served, the combined energy saved just from improved lighting efficiency will typically SAVE THEM FROM BUILDING A WHOLE NEW POWER PLANT, which can cost billions.
How much of a house’s energy bill is due to lighting? Well, Duke Energy, a major power company in the SE USA says that 20% of a typical household’s bill is due to electrical lighting, using normal (inefficient) lighting. So, let’s say that you have a 3,000 HSF (Heated Square Foot) house. Your typical average monthly bill might be $0.096/HSF = $288. Then 20% of that = $57.60 a month you are spending using normal, inefficient lighting. Okay, now what? Duke Energy further indicates that the more efficient lighting specified by them (and smart residential Architects) uses about 75% LESS energy than normal incandescent lighting.
Therefore, if you allowed your Architect to design your house and specify more efficient lighting, you would be saving $57.60 x 75% = $43.20 a month. That reduces your monthly energy bill by 15%.
Now then, over the 100 year lifespan of a typical house, do you suppose that the cost of electrical power will remain the same? In other words, what was gasoline and electrical energy costs back when you were in high school? Now look at it! The cost of electrical power has increased right along with gasoline. Here’s a quick bit of math: Gas was about $0.27/gallon when I was in high school. Today, it is about $3.75/gallon. That has been about 50 years. In other words, gas and power has increased in cost by 1,388 % in half a century. Gas costs almost 14 x more than it did back then. And all energy producing things, like electrical power have increased along with that. And what portion of that is due to inflation and what simply due to the fact that we have to pay a larger percentage of our own personal budgets to afford to have it? Let’s make a quick guess and say that perhaps half of the cost of energy increases is due to inflation and the other half is due to its becoming harder to obtain and more expensive to produce. Okay, then that means, over the next 100 years of your house’s lifespan, the cost of electrical power may have a real “basis” increase in cost of perhaps 694% per 50 years, and perhaps 1,388% over the next hundred, assuming that earnings increase with inflation, so we are only talking about “basis” increase in cost.
Therefore, the first month you live in your house, just the lighting efficiency specified and designed by your Architect has saved you 15% = perhaps $43.20/month. Over the first year, that would be about $518.40. By the 100th year into the future, that savings will have grown to be about $7,195.39/year savings (just due to your Architect’s having designed your house with more efficient lighting). What’s the savings/year at the halfway point? Perhaps half = $3,597.69/year savings. Let’s do a quick, middle of the house lifespan calculation using the halfway lighting efficiency savings created by your Architect: $3,597.69 x 100 = $359,769 saved +/- over the lifespan of your house! Just due to your Architect’s more efficient lighting! Amazing! Incredible! How can you NOT afford to have an Architect design and specify your next house? If the Architect’s fee was perhaps somewhere between 4% to 8% (for Basic Services) of a 3,000 HSF house that you decided to pay $150/HSF for ($450,000 house construction) , then your Architect’s fee middle of the road might be around $27k. And let’s see: he saves you about $360,000 over the life of your residence, just in lower utility bills (only due to better lighting alone).
And this is just ONE of the multiple VALUES OF AN ARCHITECT regarding the designing of your next house project. Stay tuned: we have several more of these articles coming along. At the end, we suspect that much more than the ENTIRE COST OF YOUR NEXT HOUSE CAN BE SAVED OVER ITS LIFETIME, just by having an experienced licensed residential Architect design your project.
To begin your next house project, contact: Rand@HomeArchitects.com