Prefab green homes get affordable
One of the largest manufacturers of mobile homes plans to enter the market of environmentally friendly, prefab homes with a model that is seriously affordable.
It looks like a house you'd order from Ikea. It sounds like a house designed by Apple. The I-House just might be the future — well, one future, anyway — of the housing market.
Clayton Homes, based in Maryville, Tenn., is one of America's largest manufacturers of mobile homes and prefabricated housing. So when President Kevin Clayton wanted to go green, he gave his architects a free hand, instructing them to incorporate as many green products as possible and to produce a home that was super energy-efficient — the only constraint was that it had to be something that could be built in existing facilities.
The result was the Clayton I-House (view Clayton’s online tour of it here), 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 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.
The basic I-House is 992 square feet, though the design's blend of indoor and outdoor space makes it seem bigger. Though final prices haven't been set, Clayton hopes to deliver it for about $100,000. But the "core" unit can be expanded by adding additional rooms in different configurations to suit the buyer's needs and the character of the lot — placing rooms above one another to accommodate, for example, a hillside. Clayton Vice President Chris Nicely says the goal is to allow as much customization — both in configuration and interiors — as possible. It can be set on a traditional foundation, for example, or it can sit on piers driven into the ground.
As innovative as the energy and environmental features are, though, it's the design that draws attention. As Popular Mechanics toured a display model near the Knoxville airport, people were stopping in to look it over. "I'm not a mobile-home kind of guy," one man said, "but I could see living in this." That's the idea.
The Clayton folks see the typical customer for the I-House as being younger and more affluent than traditional mobile-home buyers. The interior and exterior are attractive, looking like something from a high-end home show, not the kind of disposable mobile home you'd see coming from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
The house more closely resembles a product that you might buy from Ikea. In fact, it is a house you might buy from Ikea: Kevin Clayton is a fan of the Scandinavian furniture company, and Clayton Homes is exploring a partnership with Ikea that would feature display models at Ikea stores and even allow people to design and order their own I-Houses from the Ikea Web site. (Clayton's own Web site will allow this in a few months, via a build-your-own I-House feature. They'll even let you visit the factory while it's built.)
So where does the I-House fit in to the troubled times of the current housing market? Well, obviously, it's not for everyone; even with several expansion modules added, large families will probably find it a bit small. But with big, expensive houses looking less attractive as investments — since their values are actually 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 Americans, you spend most of your time in a couple of rooms anyway, regardless of how many rooms your house has.
But the I-House's impact is likely to go beyond this particular home. What was learned in the process of designing and building this energy-efficient home has fed back into the rest of Clayton Homes' product line, Nicely says. An ordinary mobile home that gets much lower energy bills may not be as exciting as the I-House, but multiplied by millions, it's likely to have an impact. And the strong interest in the I-House's look and "green" character is also likely to encourage other builders — including the makers of traditional site-built homes — to add green features as well.
I am a big fan of prefab houses. I was wondering if it can be attached to an existing home, in florida?
WE WOULD BUY THE I-HOME IN A HART BEAT. WE ARE LOOKING FOR SOMETHING AFFORDABLE TO RETIRE AND THIS IS THE ANSWER. WE LOVE THE GREEN FEATURES AND EVERYTHING ELSE. WHERE CAN WE GET MORE INFORMATION? IS THERE ANY PROPERTY RESTRICTIONS TO WHERE COULD BE BUILT? WHO DO WE CONTACT? WHERE CAN WE SEE IT IN THE SAN DIEGO AREA? THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR GIVING HOPE TO MIDDLE CLASS AMERICANS!!!!!
For building a resort or just a two bedroom home. There is a company in St.Lucia Freezone in the Caribbean, www.caribtradersinc.com which has 50 sq M Timber Modular homes which erect in one week for 10000.00US for the basic unit. Made out of hardwood obtained from a sustainable source. This is the most affordable on the market with no frills. Suitable for beach or lake house or just home.
Husband and I have been given permission by a prominent architect in CA to use his floorplan for a "green" and solar-heat/cooling dual home - 2 master suites with shared great room and greenhouse, plus semi-attached office/guest room, elevated deck in front over car port. Will definitely NOT look like it belongs in a trailer park...
We intend to have it factory-built - with panelized homes, walls are ruler-straight, and all your wiring - phone, electric, even your stereo - goes in as it is put together, along with integral insulation. No creaky floors, and quiet between rooms - large cams lock the pieces together so that they become one unit. Non-load-bearing walls are easily enough switched out. (Better Homes and Gardens gave away a 2-storey grow-with-your-family panelized home a few years back, built in an Atlanta suburb.) Pieces are brought to the site by truck once the foundation is ready, and put together in a fraction of the time taken for a frame-built home - with much less waste of materials; factory waste is typically recycled.
You can customize to your hearts' content - just get yourself an architect/GC familiar with both green technologies and panelization - we are planning green roofs on three of five horizontal roof lines and photovoltaic arrays on the other two; that will need some extra strength but will cut heat and cooling $ by about 20%; also greenhouse windows along the east side to catch AM sun and warmth will provide free illumination and "echo" the greenhouse lines in back.
House is relatively small in terms of square footage - about 1200 total, including the office- but should really live "big". Will also afford us some modest income to defray the mortgage, and allow us to have live-in help when we (both of us Boomers) age and need it. THAT kind of "pre-fab" is NOT going to lose its value.
As a career single I consider this the way to go. Energy efficient and affordable fits my budget and lifestyle. I found this mfgr. a year or so ago and have been watching the timing of the marketplace. This is definitely a realistic option for a turn key modular building.
Looking for a plot of land now to establish this as local affordable home. Narrow lots seem ideal.
I would definately NOT buy a prefab home. Unlike a conventional house, they lose their value very quickly (sort of like a car does) so it's not a good investment.
If I had no where else to live, I might consider it, but I certainly wouldn't spend one hundred thousand dollars for one. At that price, there are lots of nice areas in this country, where you can buy a regular house that will gain value and last for at least a century.
So, you remove all messages that you don't agree with????
I would expect no less