Architectural Record on Green Prefab


The single-module PowerPod from Powerhouse Enterprises uses both passive and active solar strategies.

Every issue of Architectural Record comes with a long, dry article that you get professional development points for if you survive to the end. The January issue's points are really easy, coming from an interesting and comprehensive article by Allyson Wendt on prefabricated housing, with an emphasis on how it is (and can be made more) green.

This FlatPak house in Aspen, Colorado, like all homes from the company, was fully customized by its owners and shipped to the site as flat panels.

The article starts with the basic claims that prefab promoters have been making from the beginning:


When it comes to green building, prefabrication promises three major benefits: reduced waste, more durable and energy-efficient construction, and reduced transportation during construction. According to manufacturers and prefabrication supporters, the industry realizes these benefits along with reduced costs compared with site-built homes. But few of these benefits have been measured directly, and most vary based on the conditions in the factory and the location of the building site.


The Loblolly House by Kieran Timberlake Associates features a custom extruded aluminum structural frame and prefabricated panels from Bensonwood.

But it ends up with a more sophisticated look at some of the newer systems and approaches, and concludes:

To realize the environmental benefits of prefabrication, designers may need to combine elements, joining panelized construction with modular components and site-built finishes to create a structure that best meets the needs of the site and the client. As the industry continues to respond to client demand and green leadership, finding a manufacturer willing to work with green specifications will become easier. The promise of green prefabrication may soon become a reality.

Easy points and worth reading at Architectural Record

More on Green Prefab in TreeHugger

Another Opinion: Prefab is Not the Answer to Affordable, Modern and Green Homes
Thoughts on Clayton's i-house
Cabin Kits from Copeland Casati

Tags: Architects | Education

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