It took some time, but modular and prefab homes are finally gaining some mainstream traction. For people interested in getting an eco-friendly home relatively quick, going prefab can be an easier route with fewer headaches.
With the aim of creating an energy-efficient, low-maintenance and healthy indoor home environment in mind by simplifying the sustainable design process, Port Townsend, Washington-based prefab home builder GreenPod Development makes these small but beautiful 450-square-foot homes, which are pre-made in a factory and can be set up in as little as six weeks, rather than months.GreenPod's Waterhaus is made out of structural insulated panels (SIPs), which are pre-cut and set up on site within a couple of days. Though SIPs are slightly more expensive than traditional wood-framing, they reduce thermal transmission by limiting insulation gaps, are straighter and stronger, and have a relatively short payback period of only 2.7 years. Video of some of the company's work, via founder Ann Raab (the Waterhaus Pod is seen at 4:12):
The home's transom and corner windows are designed to maximize natural daylight coming in while enhancing privacy; according to the builder, each client's home will have its own unique, customized passive solar design and orientation according to each site.
Inside, the home is minimalist without feeling sterile. Multi-purpose and stacking furniture are used to maximize space. Low-flow fixtures help to conserve water. The Waterhaus' list of interior finishes all supports a healthier and chemical-free indoor environment: from the clay wall finishes for clients who want to forgo VOC-emitting paint, to fabrics that are made with organic and naturally antimicrobial plant fibers that will resist the growth of mold or mildew. The floor plan is pretty smart too: thanks to shifting and squeezing the central bathroom's components around, extra spaces and storage cabinets are created on either side in the bedroom and living room.
Increased energy efficiency is helped along by the inclusion of "kill switches" that stop power from flowing to specific switches, eliminating so-called "phantom loads" and reducing "electrical smog".
There's a lot to like in this refined and flexible green prefab, which can accommodate resourceful DIYers with a base price of USD $65,000 for just the shell, or with a few more price options in between before topping out at $135,000 for everything that is seen in the photos above, including furnishings and art. In addition to offering pre-built modular homes, GreenPod also does custom homes built on-site using prefabricated components. To find out more, visit GreenPod Development.