Which Eco-Friendly Prefab Home is Right for You?
Eco-friendly prefab homes (prefab = prefabricated) are hailed for their urban, trendy appearance in combination with their sustainable and eco-friendly design and manufacturing processes. They’re also widely regarded for the rapid speed at which they can be installed – because they’re pre-built in factories and shipped to the site where they’re installed, prefab homes in some cases boast a timeline of only 20% of traditional home-building. Prefab homes let you live light on the land without sacrificing high-end design and a healthy indoor environment. Plus, they can be placed virtually anywhere you can dream up -- on a waterfront property, in the middle of the woods, on a commercial building site, or anywhere your lifestyle takes you.
The demand for prefab homes is projected to increase by 15% annually through 2017, and the rising trend means that companies all over the nation have begun designing, manufacturing, and shipping some truly amazing homes to some very happy customers. But the huge selection of available prefab homes can be incredibly daunting -- so we’ve broken it down and sorted a selection of awesome prefab home manufacturers based on their best qualities! Prefab homes have something for everybody. Whether you’re seeking luxury, affordability, design creativity, cutting-edge technology, a larger size, or a minimalist weekend getaway, a prefab home can work for you.
FOR LUXURY: Blu Homes
By far the most luxurious and stunning models come from prefab home manufacturer Blu Homes. For example, Blu Homes’ “Breezehouse” truly lives up to the name with a vast, wide-open layout, wraparound decks, 15-foot ceilings and 16-foot-wide glass doors. With 16 homes, 116 layouts and 2,304 possible combinations, you can dream big with a Blu Home. All Blu Homes models boast net-zero energy-efficiency and are built as much as possible with non-toxic materials. Luxury features of the homes include motion-sensing faucets, electric car chargers, and state-of-the-art air-filtration system to remove allergens.
But the high-end nature of Blu Homes come with a price. The most expensive models, Breezehouse included, include 3-4 bedrooms and 2.5-4.5 bathrooms and start at $1,300,000. Even the smallest Blu Homes model has a steep price: the 633 square-foot Cabana, which includes 1-2 bedrooms and 1 bathroom, starts at $265,000.
FOR DESIGN CREATIVITY: IdeaBox
IdeaBox is very much the Ikea of prefab houses, and the design possibilities are endless. The designers at IdeaBox are experts at using the prefab housing system to create cost-effective, sustainable, and imaginative housing. Their materials are of impeccable quality as well; each home is designed with sustainable bamboo flooring, and energy-efficient construction. If you’re looking to dream big and exercise your creativity, IdeaBox may be the prefab manufacturer for you! And with starting prices between $84,000 and $204,000 for all models, IdeaBox offers beautiful design without breaking the bank.
FOR LARGER SIZE: Hive Modular
The most unique component of Hive Modular is their focus on larger projects. On their site, Hive Modular stresses the economic benefits of thinking bigger: “Hive Modular focuses on larger residential projects from 1000+ sq.ft. because we have found that it is not cost effective to do smaller projects when you include the costs of transportation, crane rental, and foundation that are required with modular projects.” But don’t let the “larger” tag frighten you, because it’s still possible to think small and energy-efficient when building big. Hive homes all adhere to sustainable design ideas such as building small and efficiently. The company values modern, yet efficient living, and they exercise the value by never over-sizing their spaces. In addition, the homes are built with high-quality windows, insulation, and other materials to ensure your home is green and environmentally-responsible.
FOR CUTTING-EDGE TECHNOLOGY: zeroHouse
One glance at the zeroHouse prototype model, and it’s easy to see why it checks out as the most technologically-advanced prefabs of them all. The designers of the home seem to have thought of everything: the home includes solar panels, a 2,700-gallon rainwater-collection cistern, and a below-deck waste digester that produces dry compost to be removed a few times per year. High-efficiency solar panels produce power and store it in an onboard bank of batteries, and with fully-charged batteries, the zeroHouse can operate continuously for up to one week with no sunlight at all. The 650-square feet home has two bedrooms and a separate living room and kitchen, as well as a plethora of windows and two decks to extend the space. As a bonus, the home can be entirely controlled and customized from a laptop. Tech-junkies will surely experience an increase in heart rate over this ridiculously high-tech home.
FOR AFFORDABILITY: Cabin Fever
Possibly the most difficult struggle hopeful prefab-owners must go through is the decision to dramatically size down for a much larger price. Cabin Fever prefab homes offer a solution to this problem with their much more reasonable prices than many other prefab companies. And while Cabin Fever’s affordable options are not built to the highest sustainability standards, upgrades such as more efficient insulation and heating are available -- so you can make your home greener over time. The smallest model, the studio-like Maxwell 16-20, rings in at $44,000. The largest model, the Maxwell 16-50, includes two bedrooms and two bathrooms and starts at $91,000.
FOR A WEEKEND GETAWAY / SECONDARY SPACE: NationWide Eco-Cottages
NationWide Homes’ Eco-Cottages are sized primarily for short-term getaways or as secondary structures. NationWide suggests using Eco-Cottages as home offices, hunting cabins, pool houses, workshops or hobby spaces, or a getaway vacation home for a mountain or water setting; Eco-Cottages can be built quickly for all environments. Many of the 475 square-foot models, which offer one bedroom and one bathroom, are popular with tiny-house minimalists. To create a larger space, you can combine the units in a variety of ways. The Eco-Cottages live up to their name, with high-tech foam insulation, solar-ready roofs for energy efficiency, and Energy Star windows. In addition, each Eco-cottage includes tankless water heaters and low-flow water systems, as well as VOC-free paints and finishes.
As you can see, prefab homes come in a huge variety and truly have something to offer everybody. Now that you’ve read, which eco-friendly prefab home design do you think would be your best fit? Tell us in the comments!