With big, expensive houses looking less attractive as investments-since their values are plummeting in many markets-and with energy costs virtually certain to climb in coming years, the market for a small but stylish house that has lots of high-end amenities with a low energy bill is likely to be pretty big. And if you're like a lot of people, you spend most of your time in a couple of rooms anyway, regardless of how many rooms your house has. Modular homes fit the bill perfectly! Modular homes are sectional prefabricated houses that consist of multiple modules or sections which are manufactured in a remote facility and then delivered to their intended site of use. The modules are assembled into a single residential building using either a crane or trucks.
Modular design & construction offers a number of opportunities to be more environmentally friendly than traditional home design and construction.
First, modular homes are smaller in size, so by using less space and materials prefab homes preserve natural resources, while leaving the smallest of footprints. Second, the control available in a factory environment allows the designer/ builder to be very precise with material planning and use - there is very little waste left over when compared to standard construction techniques. Third, hard-to-find green materials can be bought in bulk and used over many projects, minimizing delays and ensuring that no "short cuts" are taken due to unavailable materials. Fourth, this bulk purchasing and the delivery of a small number of completed modules to the home site dramatically reduce pollution from transportation to and from the site. And finally, the disturbance of the home construction site can be minimized because there is no need to stage and store large amounts of material on-site for extended periods. A good prefab contractor might clear only the house footprint itself and enough room to deliver the completed modules.
Modular homes are more than just compact; they are designed so that air circulates more easily, making the temperature easier to control. The homes are also built with materials that will keep them better insulated than standard homes. It takes far less energy to heart or cool a green modular home than it does a standard dwelling. With increased energy efficiency, green building can provide truly affordable housing, lowering energy bills by 40%.
Many available modular homes are LEED certified. To achieve LEED certification, homes must incorporate a design that saves energy and water, reduces carbon dioxide emissions, improves indoor environmental quality, and considers the impact of the materials used on natural resources.
A sleek new modular home designed by Clayton homes called the i-House is available for purchase online, and possibly soon at Ikea. The i-Houses include low-flow faucets, low-VOC materials, high-efficiency heat pumps, dual-flush toilets, roofs designed for rainwater harvesting, and insulated walls, roof and floors. Upgrades to bamboo flooring, Energy Star appliances and solar panels are also offered. It's an innovative prefab home that can be powered for a dollar a day, thanks to low-e windows, solar augmentation, high-efficiency appliances, and superior insulation. The solar panels on the roof don't supply all the home's needs, but they do cut electricity consumption in half. There's also a tankless hot-water heater, and a cistern that collects rainwater from the roof for use in gardening, car washing, or other outdoor uses. Floors are made of fast-growing bamboo, and paint and insulation are low or zero-emission.
LivingHomes is a stylish manufacturer of eco-friendly modular homes that come in a variety of layouts and prices to fit many budgets. Each home has a sustainability scorecard that allows the purchaser to see the home's LEED certification level and what about the home is sustainable. Watch this video for a tour of the first LivingHome.
There are a multitude of other green modular homes on the market, most of which can be shipped to anywhere in the United States. Check out these other options: Ambient Homes, Stillwater Dwellings, and Blu Homes.