Optimizing Design for Lower Cost High-Performance Homes

Design is critical to improving the user experience of a home. The drawing board is also the easier and less expensive place to make changes (compared to on the job site).

This module is far and away our most popular, as I’ve received more positive feedback on this module than any other. 


The key takeaway here is: Design for the view. That simple choice can make an enormous difference in the perceived value of a home. When you reflect upon the idea, it makes perfect sense. You can build two identical homes, but if one looks out onto a lake, or a row of trees, or a pool, or garden instead of a non-descript yard and fence and the top half of the neighbor’s house behind you, which do you think a homebuyer will deem more desirable… and would likely be willing to pay more for?

Sam utilizes a wonderful example of a multifamily building that was designed to give each unit an ocean view. Again, it was a simple yet clever design choice that I’m sure made a world of difference for some of the units that were initially going to face away from the ocean.

If you don’t have a view, make one. It’s a bit unexpected to hear an architect tout the benefits of landscape architecture over building architecture, but that’s exactly what Sam does. Whether it’s creating a courtyard, or planting trees and/or hedges, there is likely something that can be done even in the smallest of yards.

Optimized design helps reduce construction costs. The example that sticks with me is the roof picture. You’ve probably seen a house similar to the following: a house with 7 or 8 peaks, each at a 12/12 (or greater) pitch. Other than being architecturally striking, it’s not really doing much for the occupant… other than increasing material/construction costs.

Roofs aren’t the only facet to highlight, though. Optimized plumbing solutions can help reduce structural (water) waste and material/construction costs. Optimized HVAC design can improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the HVAC system. Optimized stair design can free up usable space inside the home. The list goes on.

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This Housing 2.0 presentation is sponsored by:  Jinko Solar,   Mitsubishi Electric Panasonic, and Schneider Electric