Images credit i-house
One of the lessons in the first wave of modern prefab, almost a decade ago now, was that it was easy to get excited about small green designs, but you had to have a place to put them. The same issue is facing the current pioneers in the tiny to not-so-big house movements; they don't fit in conventional developments.
Finally, this is beginning to change, as developers and entrepreneurs experiment with what are still very niche markets. At Green Bridge Farm in Georgia, one can find both green prefab and tiny houses, not to mention an organic farm. One of the first homes there is a Net-zero energy Clayton I-House.
Preston at Jetson Green writes:
Owner Charles Davis won't have an electric bill with this net-zero energy home. His butterfly roof has solar PV that generates electricity and powers a brand new Chevrolet Volt.
The i-house is the modern prefab design from Warren Buffet's Clayton Homes, the world's largest mobile home builder. It was launched in early 2009, not an auspicious time in the American real estate market. But it was the first attempt at really changing and upgrading the mobile and modular market at a mass scale, and they have plugged away at it, and have built models across the country. It is not, as I indicated in my first thoughts on the i-home, a park model built to HUD code, (something that we still need in green); it is a modular home that can go on conventional foundations. But it can't go everywhere; most developments have minimum floor area restrictions and other covenants that would keep it out.
However it appears to be very welcome in Green Bridge Farm, "An ecologically-friendly development of twenty five wooded acres in Effingham County, Georgia." It is a development that sets maximum floor areas and heights, maintains 90% of each site as woodland, and is built around an organic farm.
The plans on offer are cute small houses, ranging from 552 to 1558 square feet, designed by Curtis Gibbs
This is one to watch, to see if there really is a market for the tiny house or the modern prefab in what looks to be really trying to be a green, sustainable development. I could be churlish and complain about exurban sprawl and a walkscore of zero, as I have about other developments, but won't.