Prefabs Sprout All Over USA; Rounding Up The Green, Tiny and Luxe


Image Credit Blue Sky Homes

I will confess to a case of prefab ennui; I have waited a decade for it to make green modern design affordable and accessible and it has not yet fulfilled its promise. Where once the prefab proselytizers could claim that being better built in a factory was enough, it isn't any more, and one has to look closely to see: is really green? Is it too big? Too far away?

Fortunately, Preston at Jetson Green has keeping up with the prefab scene, and covered five of them in February, including this little gem from Blue Sky Homes. It is one of the more interesting prefab ideas around, built with a steel frame and insulated steel panels. More at Jetson Green

While the American real estate market is in the tank, the Canadian one is still pretty strong, particularly in Alberta, home of the oil industry. That's where Karoleena Custom Homes builds the Karo Cabin.

The Karo Cabin is a factory-built, future-ready structure designed to be used as a summer escape, backyard studio, laneway house, or something similar and can be delivered anywhere in North America (assuming a road or ferry route).

More at Jetson Green

Another cute Canadian is the Faberhaus. Preston writes:

Designed and built by Faberca, faberhaus gives folks a self-sufficient living space in the country. In other words, no electrical grid connection is necessary with solar power for the LED lights and propane power for the fridge, hydronic radiant heat, and everything else.

It is tiny, has everything you need, expensive radiant heat, and of course, the commenters complain about the price at $ 237 per square foot. Sigh. More at Jetson Green.

I have a real problem with this one by EcoSteel.. Preston writes:

This sturdy steel cabin is off-grid, off-pipe, and self-sufficient, making it an interesting case study of sustainability and coastal design. The home was completed just over a year ago on Cusabo Island in South Carolina -- an impressive feat given the remote site accessible only by boat. The owner was able to take advantage of prefab construction and had the parts flown in by helicopter.

And therein lies the problem. It is almost 4,000 square feet, built to resist floods and hurricanes, and everything is brought in by helicopter, the most expensive and carbon intensive form of transport in the world next to the Space Shuttle. Sustainable? Puleeze. More at Jetson Green

I am going to look more closely at LABhaus. Reading their philosophy, they seem to have a good mix of design, materials and green goodies. They write:

At LABhaus, we consider sustainability to have three core components: environmental, economic, and market. Environmental stability means building homes with the lowest possible impact throughout their life cycle. We use non-toxic, renewable materials, constructed using low-waste techniques, to produce a home with the maximum quality and durability with the lowest possible energy use. Economic sustainability means building homes which represent the best possible value for our consumers and which are more affordable to purchase and maintain than similar homes.

More at Jetson Green

When I first looked at the LABhaus rendering, I thought "another wide lot suburban design, we shouldn't do that any more" and almost wrote it off. That would have been a mistake; there is a lot going on in the prefab world, a lot of good design, ingenuity and innovation. Thanks to Preston for continuing to cover it at Jetson Green.

More modern prefab from Jetson Green in TreeHugger:

Top Five Super Green Modern Homes
Ten Things Wrong With Sprawl

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Tags: Architects | Green Building

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