Book Review: Prefab Green

Michelle Kaufmann gets a lot of posts on TreeHugger, because in so many ways she is the leading edge in modern green prefab. But not only is she pushing the envelope in design and construction, she is using all of the latest tools in marketing to make modern prefab comprehensible. With so many books on modern prefab filling the shelves, no doubt a number of authors and publishers have approached her, but Michelle doesn't wait around, and has published her own.

According to a Time Magazine article on self-publishing, she didn't want to wait years to accommodate publishing's long lead times. "I thought, This is the book we've been wanting to do," she says. She spent two months pulling together the content to create Prefab Green--100 glossy pages of text, color photos and detailed floor plans--sent it off as an electronic file and had a stack of hardcovers to give to clients in less than two weeks.And one could call it a hard-cover corporate brochure, but it is much more than that. One learns about her sustainable approach:

-build only what's needed, don't believe "bigger is better" but "BETTER is better!";
-maximize resource efficiency (ventilation and daylight);
-minimize energy dependency;
-create healthy environments;
-harmonize with the site.

The book continues with material choices, a great explanation of modular construction, her design approach and the often difficult to understand process of working with an architect through design, design development and construction. If finishes off with stunning photography of built works and available plans.

It is a corporate brochure on steroids, but it is also well thought out, well designed and useful for anyone interested in how the business of getting a modern modular prefab works. It is also a model for any architect wondering how you present yourself and get yourself heard above the din. ::Prefab Green

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