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Design – Build Cost – Energy Efficiency Infographic

by Chad Ludeman on January 12, 2011 · 9 comments

in Design,Development,Marketing,Philosophy

I have a topic for discussion that has been brewing in my head for some time. It is illustrated below in an educatedguessographic about the New Construction Home Building in the US.


Hypothesis: If builders built homes in the “Market Gap” circle, they would sell them. If banks lended to builders that were catering to this market gap, they would be successful.

If you enjoyed reading this post I can promise you'll love our new writing over at Postgreen Homes. Yeah, we know that's the same thing your favorite band said and their new album is nowhere near as good as their early stuff, but seriously, we are actually still getting better.

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

1 lavardera January 12, 2011 at 3:30 pm

But your passive houses were in the market gap, no?

2 bruteforcecollaborative January 12, 2011 at 3:36 pm

i’m not sure i buy it… ‘starchitect’ designed homes should be way above PH…

also, climate affects the cost of PH (e.g. more insulation in minnesota, significantly less in seattle) – so the big spread of the circle is correct. but there are a number of low-budget PH projects underway (habitat for humanity, della valle bernheimer’s R-house, etc)

i’ve also seen really awful energy star homes that cost as much as a starchitect-designed PH’s!

3 Chad Ludeman January 13, 2011 at 12:05 pm

Starchitect should definitely be higher than Passive. I’ll revise this in the final version for publication.

Our Passive Project definitely went over budget. It was not nearly on the same level as the 100K… We also did not hit the air sealing standard and would’ve needed to pay thousands more in order to ensure we could hit it if we did it again.

This is trying to represent the average cost of all projects and I think Passive would consistently come up higher than traditional homes. I don’t buy into most of the “low-budget” efforts going on as they are either using lots of free labor (Habitat) or have hidden costs that are probably not advertised. The more affordable ones are typically really poor on the design scale as well.

This chart is more of a joke and discussion topic also, so please don’t take too seriously. :)

4 bruteforcecollaborative January 13, 2011 at 2:15 pm

oh, i won’t!

also, i like the symbolism that the 100k house as the ‘yolk’ of the market gap ‘egg’

5 Greenbuildingindenver January 13, 2011 at 2:27 pm

As has been discussed thoroughly elsewhere, Passivhaus and LEED are not quite what the builder-developer nor the customer need.

I see that as an marketing opportunity for you to save money on certification and use reverse-snobbery as a tool:

“Why bother trying to understand LEED and Energy Star ratings for your new house? Just buy a less expensive, unrated 100k and we’ll pay your utility bill (if any) for the first 3 years”

Not much money to be lost there, because a buyer of your homes will still be energy conscious. People like to brag to their friends about how low their bill is.

6 morgan January 13, 2011 at 9:52 pm

I love that one of the code homes is in the negative scale on design

7 Birdy January 14, 2011 at 5:58 pm

Interesting infographic – I will enjoy seeing more of this type of info displayed.

8 arkitect January 31, 2011 at 3:13 pm

Having worked as an architect “designing” inexpensive houses for developers I have long thought that many home buyers will be willing to pay more for a well designed, better performing home. No, not everybody and probably some markets more than others. But even a small percentage of the existing overall market is a significant number of buyers that currently have little to choose from (even in today’s market).
I fully agree with the intention of your graphic!

9 Simon March 17, 2011 at 1:55 am

Great info, I’m looking to do the same within Australia. This will be just one component of the infographic, however I will cite this as a resource. Such a simple layout, however tells so much.. good job.

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