What’s the value of a Residential Architect? This article will explain: quite a lot. An experienced Licensed Architect who designs residences can provide a superior design that results in Clients saving MORE THAN THE CONSTRUCTION COST of the entire house over the lifetime of the residence.
In some cases, this can be several times the initial construction cost in savings to the house owner, in lower utility bills, better health, increased comfort, longer durability & reliability, improved aesthetics & resale value and more. HOME ARCHITECTS ® have other “Value” articles calculating the savings for several specific issues. This one article concentrates on a summary value of 50%. Of what? Of what most people will pay for their energy consumption (electricity, gas, wood and other forms of energy generation) for their house to heat, cool, provide lighting and electrical power for lighting, appliances, computers, televisions and other electrically-powered devices. For how long? A house’s lifetime is believed to be about 100 years.
Residential Architect Value
This article makes the case that a licensed Architect, experienced in the design of residential projects, is capable of designing, detailing and specifying their residential projects to result in more efficient houses and this = value to their Clients.
Specifically, in these areas:
1. INSULATION VALUE
Insulation values that are significantly better. In the case of roof/ceiling: up to 63% better. In walls, up to 200% better, in floors, up to 200% better.
2. GLASS VALUE
That glass areas are better protected in summer, while allowing in winter sun to heat for free, of specifying better glass with better insulative and other values that resist heat gain in hot weather and resists heat loss in cold weather.
3. INFILTRATION CONTROL VALUE
A capable Residential Architect knows how to stop infiltration (unwanted air penetration from inside to outside and vice-versa).
4. LIGHTING VALUE
The Architect will specify much more efficient lighting (up to 500% more efficient than standard Contractor lighting).
5. APPLIANCE & DEVICE EFFICIENCY VALUE
Any Architect of housing will specify and guide their Clients toward more energy efficient devices, which will consume less electricity.
6. MORE EFFICIENT HVAC EQUIPMENT VALUE
A competent Residential Architect knows how to specify air-conditioning and heating equipment that consumes less electricity and keeps you more comfortable and lasts longer. This can provide 42% greater efficiency.
With many of the above factors exceeding 50%, it was deemed to be conservative to claim a 50% benefit for the purposes of this one article. There are other benefits and values attributed to an experienced residential Architect, including the specification and detailing of more durable materials. Not having to replace materials carries with it the savings of that maintenance cost, not to mention, reducing the headaches involved with such work. Eliminating or at least reducing maintenance is another factor that is not part of this particular analysis, so, there is economic weight that could be invoked to further reinforce this article’s concepts that is not.
ESCALATING COST OF ENERGY
Here’s a simple question: Do you think the cost of energy (of any kind) will increase or decrease during the next century?
We have yet to hear anyone answer this with other than “INCREASE”. No one thinks the cost of energy will be coming down. We all hope and pray that miracles like cold fusion and free photo-voltaic panels will come about, but that doesn’t seem practical or likely, at least for now.
Therefore, how rapidly has/is the cost of energy increasing? We believe that the cost of a gallon of gasoline that you find at any commercial retail gas station like BP, Exxon, Mobil, Chevron and the like would be a fairly reasonable indicator of the cost of energy, because the cost of the fuel we put into our vehicles is a major portion of the energy use in the industrialized world today.
Okay, so at what rate is the cost of gasoline increasing? Here, we have some direct knowledge. About 50 years ago, the HOME ARCHITECTS ® Senior Staff Architect was getting ready to start driving his family car, and he remembers the cost of gasoline being 26 cents a gallon. Fast forward to 2014. Gasoline during this last week cost $3.65/gallon from eastern Tennessee through western North Carolina, during a road trip performed by this same Architect (while conducting a Client Site Analysis).
Therefore, the cost of gasoline has increased 14.038 times during the last 50 years. Then we assume that it will increase another 14.038 times in the next 50 years (to 2064), then another 14.038 times in the next 50 years after that (to 2114 AD). To date, we have encountered no one that disagrees with this premise.
So, let’s now see how much a normal, humble house of 1,728 HSF (Heated Square Feet)(3 bedroom, 2-1/2 bath) consumes in energy costs now, and during its lifetime, and how much of that can be saved by having your licensed residential Architect design and specify your new house.
STATISTICAL ANALYSIS OF VALUE OF ENERGY OVER THE NEXT CENTURY
We pay $168, on average, each month for our electricity for our 1,727 3/2.5 house. Just so you understand that these numbers are not for some large mansion, but for a normal, working man size of residence.
And if the cost of energy continues to escalate at the same rate as it has during the last 50 years for the next 50 years, that $168 x 14.038 = $2,358.38/month by 2064 AD. And if the cost of energy continues to escalate at that same pace for the following 50 years, that $2,358.38 x 14.038 = $33,106.99 by 2114 AD. However, a reasonable approach to understanding the entire cost of energy for a house like this during its 100 year lifetime would be to take the middle cost and multiply that by the entire time period. So: $2,358.38 x 12 months/year = $28,300.56/year on average x 100 years = $2,830,560 of energy consumption during the next 100 years. Let’s think about that. That’s 2.83 MILLION dollars just for energy consumption during the house’s lifetime. It would be a safe assumption to want to have your house designed by one of the best residential Architects on the planet, in order to save as much of that escalating energy cost as possible.
And so, here is our final calculation. If we conservatively assume that a capable residential Architect can design and specify your house so that he can make it at least 50% more efficient than a normal Contractor built house (using no Architect), then that means: 50% x $2,830,560 = $1,415,280 SAVED. That’s 1.4+ MILLION dollars SAVED in energy costs during the lifetime of your house (if you have a modest sized house). If you have a larger house, then chances are your residential Architect can save you even more.
That’s AMAZING! Just because you choose to have a capable, licensed Architect who knows how to design houses properly, you get to save more than the initial cost of your house, over the lifetime of your house. Now who wouldn’t want that?
HIRE YOUR LICENSED RESIDENTIAL ARCHITECT NOW
ABC: “Architect Before Contractor” is the golden rule. Hire your Architect first. He or she will help you find the right Contractor, After your house is properly designed. Remember: only your Architect knows how to design and specify all those reasonable cost features that will make your house consume so much less energy.
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