Designing an energy-miserly, 40-years-maintenance-free
cybernetic proof-of-concept house
Why & how & more - full details (more or less) on everything.
Our work on the design of the house is complete; our work on documenting it all has a long way to go, but we wanted to get this Web site updated, so please accept our apologies on the thing we don't completely describe - the plan is to add and update, as time permits - but time, so far, has been less than permissive. Yes, we will get it done; no, no idea of when. So, if you are intent on building based on our design, a discussion with us can provide you with more information, sooner, than waiting for it to all appear here.
We also finished the design of the cybernetic elements, which are on an even longer path to publication (in part because we are in discussions with a variety of manufacturers about incorporating some of our plans into their products). When we can publish, then details will be on a separate site (http://cybernetichouse.com), which we have not yet mounted.Click on the image on the right to download a PDF briefing on what makes our design cybernetic.
Total cost of ownership (TCO)
For the design example house, approximately 3450 square feet on a build site in the Central Savannah River Area (CSRA) of South Carolina, near Aiken, we can look at a 40-year total cost of ownership versus traditional designs. (The data for this chart is from veteran custom homebuilder Don Cerra, who's earned a reputation as the “Greenest” builder in the CSRA).
Energy cost forecasts are based on current rates. Replacement costs that the engineered build would not encounter but that a traditional build would normally encounter one or more times include roof repair and replacement, HVAC system repair and replacement, hot water system repair and replacement, driveway repair and replacement, repainting, well pump repair and replacement and similar repair, replacement or maintenance costs that the engineered build avoids through its investment in superior materials optimized for longevity. TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) addresses the full estimated ranges of each factor to show best/worst case estimates. Averaging the ranges, the TCO for the engineered house is $673,900 versus $754,250, a difference of $80,350, which represents a 10.7% savings versus a traditionally built house, in this example.
But we did one more run at the numbers that may give you pause before undertaking such a build. We took another look at the cost differences of our design, which are not fully realized until 40 years elapse. We looked into the difference between this build cost and a traditional build cost, and what that amount of money might earn over 40 years if invested into a savings instrument, even at today's woefully low interest rates. When you factor that in, the build costs you more than it saves you.
We are temporarily taking the rest of the original site content offline as we review, rewrite, edit and update it.
Please be patient, and thanks for your interest.
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February 1, 2019 update