What are eco friendly prefab homes

Eco-friendly prefab homes are energy-efficient, the construction phase has a reduced impact on the environment, and they may often use recycled material and/or sustainable material. Other aspects that impact the eco-friendliness of a home include the energy and water consumed and the choice of location of a home.

Prefab homes are generally far more eco-friendly than traditionally built homes. Site-build homes take longer, produce a greater amount of waste and have a larger impact on the wider environment than modular homes.

The methods employed during the construction process of prefab homes make them more eco-friendly than traditional construction projects. There are numerous reasons for this which we will look at below.

What makes prefab homes eco-friendly:

Prefab homes produce less waste:

Prefab homes construction produces far less waste than traditional building methods.

Prefab homes, whether they are modular, panel-built homes, log houses or tiny homes are manufactured to specific construction designs. This standardised approach ensures prefab home manufacturers have the required amount of material on hand. This minimises waste and disruption on the factory floor.

Sustainable and recycled materials are often incorporated in prefab construction. Cut-offs and unused material can be reused on smaller prefab homes. Rather than simply dope unused material, manufacturers have in place systems to incorporate most material into other builds.

The traditional construction industry as a whole will produce far more waste onsite. Contractors and tradesmen often over-order to ensure they have enough material. This will often turn to waste.
Prefab home manufacturers produce homes in a far more energy-efficient way and with reduced waste. This creates a great basis for your eco-friendly prefab home.

Eco-friendly prefab homes are energy-efficient, the construction phase has a reduced impact on the environment, and they may often use recycled material and/or sustainable material.

Other aspects that impact the eco-friendliness of a home include the energy and water consumed and the choice of location of a home. Prefab homes are generally far more eco-friendly than traditionally built homes.

Site-build homes take longer, produce a greater amount of waste and have a larger impact on the wider environment than modular homes.

The methods employed during the construction process of prefab homes make them more eco-friendly than traditional construction projects. There are numerous reasons for this which we will look at below.

Greater Durability and Energy Efficiency:

Prefab homes are built with greater energy efficiency and heat retention in mind. The green architecture approach taken by many prefabricated home manufacturers ensures walls and ceilings receive greater insulation and air tightness.

For example the sectionized aspect of modular homes reduces and eliminates draughts and cold spots. While log houses are built with strong long lasting wood. Prefab homes achieve even greater eco-friendliness when renewable energy resources can be utilised.

Whether you choose a log home builder or panel-built manufacturer, prefab homes must meet the same rigorous standards as all other residential properties.

Reduced construction Time:

From design to construction, a prefabricated home will take a matter of months rather than years. Site-built homes require extensive planning, the use of multiple skilled tradesmen, possible changes to plans, onsite disruption and more.

This use of materials and workforce can be costly in terms of the environment and your pocket. Sustainable homes, such as prefabricated homes are designed and built in energy-efficient factory environments. These preplanned homes reduce waste and allow for a systematic construction process that reduces time onsite.

The time onsite for prefabricated homes will involve the assembly of your home and the installation of services such as heat and water and the laying of the foundation. This is far less time and disruption than traditional construction will bring to the environment and surrounding areas.

What are eco-friendly homes?

There are a variety of prefabricated home types which meet eco-friendly standards. There are slight differences in the manufacturing and planning process, but all are quite similar.

Passive homes:

These use their design and orientation to assist with heating and cooling ensuring they use little to no energy. Passive homes also employ greater insulation, airtightness and air circulation to create a comfortable environment all year round.

Net-Zero Homes:

Net zero homes produce the same amount of energy that they use. This often occurs through the use of renewable energy sources such as solar panels, heat pumps and passive home orientation planning.

Biophilic homes:

Bioclimatic houses use the surrounding environment to assist with energy consumption, heat and cooling. They may use trees for shade in summer and light in winter. Each of these eco-friendly home types can be attributed to traditional home builds. But as we have seen, the construction process of almost all prefabricated homes ensures that they are eco-friendly before retrofitting them to meet Net-Zero or Passive build standards.

What does an eco-friendly house need?

eco-friendly house - Endura
Image courtesy of: The Tiny Housing Co

But the best eco-friendly homes have several similar features and characteristics. These can be applied to both traditional homes and eco-friendly homes. With advanced construction techniques and more environmentally concise building processes, prefab homes are far more eco-friendly. Some of the common characteristics of an eco-friendly home include:

  • The use of renewable energy technology where and when possible.
  • Efficient construction techniques which all prefabricated home builders provide.
  • A reduction in excess material use.
  • An efficient house design which uses available space appropriately.
  • The use of eco-friendly materials where possible.
  • Home orientation to utilise natural light and shade.
  • Improved ventilation, airtightness and insulation to meet or exceed energy use standards.

Prefab manufacturers such as The Tiny House Co. and Akso-Haus create eco-friendly prefab homes that save you money and reduce your impact on the environment.

How to choose a prefab eco-home builder

As we have seen the construction process of prefab homes is far more eco-friendly than traditional builds. The question you must ask yourself is the type of home you want. Do you want a large log house from Aito Lapland or a Tiny house from Berghaus Tiny House?

You can discuss your options with a variety of manufacturers. Discuss your wishes for building an eco-friendlier home. They will be able to discuss renewable energy options with you, the use of sustainable resources and how best to make the most of your eco-friendly prefab home.

Choosing a prefab eco home builder depends on a variety of factors that are similar to a traditional build.

This includes your budget, the type of home you desire, the size of your home and the location of your home.

Look for prefab home builders that are located near you. This will make planning and construction easier and help with the transportation and assembly of your home.

You can also look for construction companies that have been awarded green building.

Viola eco friendly log house
Image courtesy of: Aito Lapland

What are green building certifications?

There are several green building certifications awarded by different government and non-government entities for the construction and/or retrofitting of eco-friendly buildings.
They are issued to buildings which meet or use eco-friendly materials and meet building regulation requirements.

Aspects awarding bodies may look at include:

  • Insulation.
  • Airtightness.
  • The use of renewable energy.
  • The incorporation of orientation.
  • The building’s low-energy impact rating.

Such certificates can assist with tax incentives and building grants depending on your country. Awarding bodies Ber Trust in the UK[1]and the DGNB in Germany.[2]

As energy performance indicators are now mandatory for domestic buildings in the UK, having an eco-friendly highly rated prefab home is ideal for those looking to sell their prefab home or who are in a position to build to rent or build to sell their prefab home.[3]

With over 251,000 EPC certificates applied for in 2021, the trend towards eco-friendliness is set to continue and prefab homes are at the forefront of this change.[4]
A green certificate awarded to your chosen manufacturer is a strong indicator of their dedication to meeting the eco-friendly status of your home.

References:
[1]BRETRUST: https://www.bretrust.org.uk/
[2]DGNB-systems: https://www.dgnb-system.de/en/index.php
[3]Gov.UK: Energy performance of buildings certificates in England and Wales
[4] Gov.UK: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/latest-figures-show-increase-in-new-energy-efficient-homes

Featured image:model NC 37 by NordCabin

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