In honor of Earth Day, I want to look into Green Modular Design. Factory built housing has been around for years yet the benefits of factory-built homes and its impact on our environment is still a hot topic. Modular and manufactured housing have some inherent green aspects embedded in the construction process.
Less Site Disturbance – Modular homes built in a factory limit the amount of time and impact on the surrounding site. This also saves construction time. As the home is being built in the factory the site can be prepared at the same time.
Better indoor air quality– Many of the indoor air quality issues in new construction can be related to high moisture level in the building material. Because the building material is stored in a protective environment and not exposed to weather the moisture can be kept at a minimal level within the building material.
Tightly sealed homes– Because the homes are built in a factory there is better access around electrical outlets, fixtures, pipes and other sources of air infiltration. Having that access in a factory allows better sealing to reduce air infiltration to prevent a loss of heat when the home is complete to reduce heating and cooling costs. Traditional two-by-four framing is often replaced with two-by-six framing in modular homes to increase the amount of insulation included in the home.
Material Waste – Conventional site-built homes have significant waste.
According to the Website ConstructionWaste.SustainableSources.com, 8,000 pounds of waste are typically thrown into a landfill for conventional construction of a 2,000 square foot home.
In factory-built homes, materials are delivered to the manufacturing plant and are stored in a protected environment. Factories building modular homes consistently utilize leftover material from one project in additional projects in the factory.
“Because [systems-built homes] are built in a factory and much of the lumber is pre-cut, there is less scrap and waste; the cut-off pieces are often ground up and recycled; the central location of a factory means no wasted transportation to get workers to an isolated job site, so there are savings in fuel and energy,” said Steven Winter, Chairman of the U.S. Green Building LEED for Homes Program. “So, in a whole array of material savings, time savings, and energy savings attributes, systems built homes go a long way toward achieving green objectives
Flexibility – Manufactured Houses also allow for the homes to be moved and reused in a different setting.
These key features of modular construction have come to the attention on the USGBC and LEED. They are the leaders in governing and regulating the construction of Green buildings. They have published an article on Modular Building Rating System. You can find this and other information on Modular.org. If you take the time to read thru this article you will find that beyond the modular aspect of your house you need to work with a builder who can help study the best location and orientation for the house on site, work with a qualified HVAC designer to provide a green HVAC design for the house, look into water conservation for the site, and alternative site lighting. If you are considering a Green Modular home please give us a call. We would love to work with you from conceptual design thru the finished project.