The Future is Prefab Eco-Friendly Homes

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The following is a guest post by Mariana Ashley, a freelance writer who particularly enjoys writing about online colleges. She loves receiving reader feedback, which can be directed to mariana.ashley031@gmail.com.

To some this sounds like old news, to others this sounds like gibberish. What is a prefab eco-friendly home? The term prefab simply means prefabricated. Components of a structure are manufactured offsite in an industrial facility. Once the structure is designed and constructed offsite, it is shipped to the building location and erected there. Prefab housing is not a new concept. Having components of the building process take place in a factory has been a part of home construction for decades now. However, in recent years, prefab housing has become synonymous in many ways with a modernist aesthetic and sustainable design. There are four central factors that make prefab eco-friendly homes the wave of the future: smart design, smart materials, affordability, and fashion.

Many prefab green architects begin their structural design long before ever drafting a sketch of a room or deciding on building materials. Laying a smart foundation is the first step to building an eco-friendly home. Green architects use advanced computer modeling to site homes in locations that will maximize natural light and passive heating and cooling. Architects must design to build less, use interior spaces wisely, and design for longevity and flexibility. This means that architects design spaces that feel larger than they are by incorporating large windows and spaces with multiple functions. Through the use of large and numerous windows, green architects design to minimize the need to turn lights on during the day. Furthermore, smart design orients homes in the landscape to maximize both views and energy efficiencies, while at the same time avoiding extreme excavations or other invasive procedures when laying a foundation. Prefab houses are designed to last longer than traditional homes. Designed for longevity, these homes are typically made primarily from sturdy wood and steel frames. Because the structures are built offsite in a factory with controlled conditions, the materials are better cared for during vulnerable stages, producing higher quality construction and higher quality houses.

Using smart materials is the next step to designing a prefab eco-friendly home. Many builders focus on incorporating as many recycled and renewable products as possible into their home design. Furthermore, utilizing offsite factory construction allows builders and architects to reduce waste by 50 to 75 percent and use less materials overall. One of the staple materials used in eco-friendly building is bamboo. Because bamboo grows so quickly and easily, it is a wonderful renewable material to use in flooring and other design elements. Utilizing steel, wood, and cement as durable framing materials enables homes to withstand even the harshest weather conditions and allows for easier upkeep.

Not only is prefab more environmentally friendly than traditional building methods, it is also considerably less expensive. The elements of mass customization, mobility, and versatility in building materials make prefab homes ideal for low-income communities and areas that are prone to natural disaster. As established, prefab homes use fewer building materials, making them less expensive. Furthermore, prefab homes take a fraction of the time to design and manufacture because they are created within a controlled environment. This means that prefab homes can be produced more quickly for a lower cost. Recycled countertops and glass tiles are common within prefab homes. These materials make beautiful stylistic accents within a home without having a negative impact on the environment.

Do not be fooled by the terms “inexpensive” and “mass production” when discussing prefab housing. While prefab eco-friendly homes are extremely cost effective, they have also become iconic of the new desired modern aesthetic. Homeowners and architects alike value clean and simple design. In light of the ever challenging economy, many celebrity-status designers have redefined prefab for a market that values both cost and style equally. The fact that efficient, green housing is replacing oversized homes in the world of fashion is a huge step in the right direction. All over the world, architects are refining modern design elements to coincide with environmentally friendly techniques. These smart and hip new homes are essential to the eco-friendly revolution of the modern world. And we like them!

Pictured above is the Sunset Breezehouse by Michelle Kaufmann Designs.  See all the details and additional photos here.


Tag(s): Conserving Resources, Green Building, Green Design

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2 Responses to “The Future is Prefab Eco-Friendly Homes”

  1. The Future is Prefab Eco-Friendly Houses | Rainharvest.co.za on March 27th, 2011 5:24 am

    […] Green Strides (by guest writer Mariana […]

  2. Eric Myers on May 7th, 2011 3:42 am

    I am all about pre-fab housing. It is in style and helps the environment at the same time by being green. Thank you for bringing attention to it and providing some interesting facts.

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