Building Custom Green Prefab Homes Building Custom Green Prefab Homes
Prefabricated or prefab homes are popular because they are inexpensive. The major components of the home, including wall and roof sections, are built at a factory and delivered to the job site to be assembled. With a growing trend toward environmental consciousness, prefab green homes have become an affordable alternative to the expense and waste of having a conventional home built. If you are considering a prefab green home, here are some tips to help you get the most eco-friendly home possible.
Tip #1: Insulated Walls
Prefab homes come with externally insulated walls, but not all types are equal—or even environmentally-friendly. Insulation with an R19 rating is relatively standard, but more is always better. Additionally, some home will have a layer of sheet insulation between the outer siding and the studs.
Another good idea to reduce energy consumption is to insulate interior walls as well. This prevents heat being generated in one room from heating adjacent rooms as the heat is dissipated through the walls.
Tip #2: Double Paned Windows
Most prefabricated homes come with double paned windows as standard features. Research has shown that as much as 20 percent of the energy wasted by a home is lost through windows, and double paned glass reduces the loss by creating a neutral inner space between windows that prevents constant heat exchange. If the model you are considering doesn't use double paned windows as standard, find out if these energy-efficient windows are an available option.
Tip #3: Smart Wiring
If no one is in a room, there is no reason for the lights, TV, stereo or even air conditioner to continue operating. Many green prefab homes include motion and body heat sensors that can control the lighting and other electrical appliances automatically. Using wireless thermostats, the flow of heating or cooling air into the room can be raised or lowered according to needs.
Smart wiring will substantially increase the cost of the home, but the cost can be recouped in as little as 5 years through energy conservation. You may not be ready for controlled environments, but automatic lighting is a simple way to save a lot of money on a yearly basis.
Tip #4: Energy Efficient Appliances
Energy Star-compliant appliances are rated for lower power consumption. If your new home will have electric appliances, use these energy efficient models for all of your household needs, including the hot water heater, stove, dishwasher and your computer components. Where possible, use natural gas instead of electricity, further reducing the impact of the home on the environment.
Tip #5: Alternative Power Options
There are all sort of do-it-yourself projects that can reduce your dependence on the grid, from solar hot water heaters to complete electrical systems that use solar and wind power. These can not only supply current to the home, but also provide enough power that you will be able to sell excess power back to the utilities companies. Some companies will offer to add solar panels into the design of the home, or you add them yourself after the home as built, converting one room at a time to clean, free solar power.