TreeHugger loves modern prefab- It should make good green design affordable and accessible. It often does not live up to this promise- many are built far away as second homes, founded on concrete and tethered to the grid like any other house. Thats why we continue to be so excited about the Sustain MiniHome- conceptually a travel trailer, it can go anywhere, including parks all over North America. We have gushed over it before here and here but finally got to really see it and we are going to gush again. Everything we talk about at TreeHugger is in this baby.
We talk about:
living with less- It is well laid out and comfortable, and feels much larger than 340 square feet. The kitchen is workable and the bathroom generous.
design- this is clean modern design, not a hint of its trailer heritage.
sustainable materials- every material chosen, from the Richlite countertops to the FSC certified woods, is picked for its sustainability. It even has a green roof.
healthy houses- it is almost completely formaldehyde and vinyl free.
energy and greenhouse gases- it has solar panels, a wind turbine, LED lighting and just needs a little propane for cooking and the fridge. There is an optional Whispergen Stirling engined generator that can run on biofuel. And this is not roughing it in the bush-there are no compromises in comfort.
efficiency- Compared to a regular house it uses 1/10th the materials, and consumes 1/10th the water, 1/10th the gas and 1/100th the electricity.
Vaporware prefabs This exists now, complies with CSA and American ANSI standards, and can be ordered now- they need 5 orders to start production. Stick it anywhere- it needs no foundations or connections. Cheap at US $ 125,000 fully tricked out, with a refundable $ 5000 deposit.
So forgive us for gushing. Over the last few years this TreeHugger has seen so many prefab ideas that don't meet code, that can't be built, that can't be transported easily, that are not affordable, that have geographically limited availability, that are not functional living spaces or that pay lip service to sustainability. Designers Andy Thomson and Dan Hall, with builder Northlander Industries, have nailed it.
architect Andy Thomson in dining area