Launch Slideshow

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Modular Homes

Modular Homes

  • EcoClassic Homes. A New World Home master licensee, the company offers energy-efficient, sustainable homes integrating traditional and regionally inspired design with green products. It provides a variety of LEED-certifiable housing options for detached single-family homes, townhomes, duplexes, and multifamily options. It is also designing a line of live/work homes with commercial space on the ground floor and residential space above. The company claims it can produce a move-in ready home in about 100 days. 855.602.8898. www.ecoclassichomes.com.

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    EcoClassic Homes. A New World Home master licensee, the company offers energy-efficient, sustainable homes integrating traditional and regionally inspired design with green products. It provides a variety of LEED-certifiable housing options for detached single-family homes, townhomes, duplexes, and multifamily options. It is also designing a line of live/work homes with commercial space on the ground floor and residential space above. The company claims it can produce a move-in ready home in about 100 days. 855.602.8898. www.ecoclassichomes.com.

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    EcoClassic Homes. A New World Home master licensee, the company offers energy-efficient, sustainable homes integrating traditional and regionally inspired design with green products. It provides a variety of LEED-certifiable housing options for detached single-family homes, townhomes, duplexes, and multifamily options. It is also designing a line of live/work homes with commercial space on the ground floor and residential space above. The company claims it can produce a move-in ready home in about 100 days. 855.602.8898. www.ecoclassichomes.com.

  • LivingHomes. The company just launched its C6 LEED-Platinum line of affordable homes in Long Beach, Calif., designed in collaboration with the Make It Right Foundation. C6 homes combine what the company calls its Z6 Environmental Goals (for zero energy, water, emissions, carbon, waste, and ignorance) as well as Cradle-to-Cradle inspired materials. The three-bedroom, two-bath, 1,232-square-foot models start at $179,000, not including transportation and site, permit, and construction costs. 310.581.8500. www.livinghomes.net.

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    LivingHomes. The company just launched its C6 LEED-Platinum line of affordable homes in Long Beach, Calif., designed in collaboration with the Make It Right Foundation. C6 homes combine what the company calls its Z6 Environmental Goals (for zero energy, water, emissions, carbon, waste, and ignorance) as well as Cradle-to-Cradle inspired materials. The three-bedroom, two-bath, 1,232-square-foot models start at $179,000, not including transportation and site, permit, and construction costs. 310.581.8500. www.livinghomes.net.

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    LivingHomes. The company just launched its C6 LEED-Platinum line of affordable homes in Long Beach, Calif., designed in collaboration with the Make It Right Foundation. C6 homes combine what the company calls its Z6 Environmental Goals (for zero energy, water, emissions, carbon, waste, and ignorance) as well as Cradle-to-Cradle inspired materials. The three-bedroom, two-bath, 1,232-square-foot models start at $179,000, not including transportation and site, permit, and construction costs. 310.581.8500. www.livinghomes.net.

  • ZETA Communities. Tierra del Sols 1,268-square-foot, three-bedroom, two-bath, net-zero energy homes located in San Francisco come with photovoltaic energy; Energy Star appliances, lighting, and windows; low-flow plumbing; heat recovery whole-house ventilation; and nontoxic, recycled, and sustainable finishes. 415.946.4084. www.zetacommunities.com.

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    ZETA Communities. Tierra del Sols 1,268-square-foot, three-bedroom, two-bath, net-zero energy homes located in San Francisco come with photovoltaic energy; Energy Star appliances, lighting, and windows; low-flow plumbing; heat recovery whole-house ventilation; and nontoxic, recycled, and sustainable finishes. 415.946.4084. www.zetacommunities.com.

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    ZETA Communities. Tierra del Sol’s 1,268-square-foot, three-bedroom, two-bath, net-zero energy homes located in San Francisco come with photovoltaic energy; Energy Star appliances, lighting, and windows; low-flow plumbing; heat recovery whole-house ventilation; and nontoxic, recycled, and sustainable finishes. 415.946.4084. www.zetacommunities.com.

  • Epoch Corp. In 2011, this Pembroke, N.H., firm became the first modular plant certified Green Approved by the NAHB Research Center. All of its custom designs are ready to be certified at the Bronze level; however, most are certified at Silver, Gold, or Emerald. The company has also built a number of LEED-Platinum homes. 877.463.7624. www.epochhomes.com.

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    Epoch Corp. In 2011, this Pembroke, N.H., firm became the first modular plant certified Green Approved by the NAHB Research Center. All of its custom designs are ready to be certified at the Bronze level; however, most are certified at Silver, Gold, or Emerald. The company has also built a number of LEED-Platinum homes. 877.463.7624. www.epochhomes.com.

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    Epoch Corp. In 2011, this Pembroke, N.H., firm became the first modular plant certified Green Approved by the NAHB Research Center. All of its custom designs are ready to be certified at the Bronze level; however, most are certified at Silver, Gold, or Emerald. The company has also built a number of LEED-Platinum homes. 877.463.7624. www.epochhomes.com.

  • Simplex Homes. The company won the 2012 Jerry Rouleau Award for Excellence in Marketing and Home Design in the category of Green Modular Building, for its work on the net-zero Bancroft Green Luxury townhouse infill project in Center City, Pa. Features include staggered exterior walls with R-33 mineral wool insulation, R-42 in the ceilings, geothermal heating and cooling, heat recovery ventilators, dual-flush toilets, and low-flow fixtures. The bricks for the facades and stoops are reused from the building that was torn down prior to redevelopment, and the rubber rooftop and backyard pavers are recycled from old tires and manufactured locally. 800.233.4233. www.simplexhomes.com.

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    Simplex Homes. The company won the 2012 Jerry Rouleau Award for Excellence in Marketing and Home Design in the category of Green Modular Building, for its work on the net-zero Bancroft Green Luxury townhouse infill project in Center City, Pa. Features include staggered exterior walls with R-33 mineral wool insulation, R-42 in the ceilings, geothermal heating and cooling, heat recovery ventilators, dual-flush toilets, and low-flow fixtures. The bricks for the facades and stoops are reused from the building that was torn down prior to redevelopment, and the rubber rooftop and backyard pavers are recycled from old tires and manufactured locally. 800.233.4233. www.simplexhomes.com.

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    Simplex Homes. The company won the 2012 Jerry Rouleau Award for Excellence in Marketing and Home Design in the category of Green Modular Building, for its work on the net-zero Bancroft Green Luxury townhouse infill project in Center City, Pa. Features include staggered exterior walls with R-33 mineral wool insulation, R-42 in the ceilings, geothermal heating and cooling, heat recovery ventilators, dual-flush toilets, and low-flow fixtures. The bricks for the facades and stoops are reused from the building that was torn down prior to redevelopment, and the rubber rooftop and backyard pavers are recycled from old tires and manufactured locally. 800.233.4233. www.simplex homes.com.

  • Palm Harbor. This 1,720-square-foot, three-bedroom, two-bath HUD-Code home will redefine your concept of manufactured housing. Beyond the neo-traditional exterior that would fit in any neighborhood, this Energy Star home installed in a Florida retirement community features R-33 blown-in insulation in the ceilings, R-23 hybrid closed-cell foam (2 inches of foam with a R-11 batten) in 2x6 exterior walls, and R-11 in the floors. Other energy-saving features include a 14 SEER air conditioner with a Compu-Temp mastic-sealed duct system, reflective foil roof decking, and low-E insulated vinyl windows. 813.752.1368. www.palmharbor.net.

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    Palm Harbor. This 1,720-square-foot, three-bedroom, two-bath HUD-Code home will redefine your concept of manufactured housing. Beyond the neo-traditional exterior that would fit in any neighborhood, this Energy Star home installed in a Florida retirement community features R-33 blown-in insulation in the ceilings, R-23 hybrid closed-cell foam (2 inches of foam with a R-11 batten) in 2x6 exterior walls, and R-11 in the floors. Other energy-saving features include a 14 SEER air conditioner with a Compu-Temp mastic-sealed duct system, reflective foil roof decking, and low-E insulated vinyl windows. 813.752.1368. www.palmharbor.net.

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    Palm Harbor. This 1,720-square-foot, three-bedroom, two-bath HUD-Code home will redefine your concept of manufactured housing. Beyond the neo-traditional exterior that would fit in any neighborhood, this Energy Star home installed in a Florida retirement community features R-33 blown-in insulation in the ceilings, R-23 hybrid closed-cell foam (2 inches of foam with a R-11 batten) in 2x6 exterior walls, and R-11 in the floors. Other energy-saving features include a 14 SEER air conditioner with a Compu-Temp mastic-sealed duct system, reflective foil roof decking, and low-E insulated vinyl windows. 813.752.1368. www.palmharbor.net.

  • Method Homes. inHaus Developments Dave deBruyn chose the company for his net-zero White Rock project in Vancouver, British Columbia, because he admired the speed and efficiency of the modular process. The three-bedroom, four-bath homes are pending LEED-Platinum certification, featuring no- and low-VOC finishes; FSC-certified wenge cabinetry; a HEPA air filtration system; integrated air-exchange, air-to-air heat pump technology for heating, cooling, and hot water; hydronic in-floor heating; solar thermal hot water preheating; and optional solar energy. 206.789.5553. www.methodhomes.net.

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    Method Homes. inHaus Developments Dave deBruyn chose the company for his net-zero White Rock project in Vancouver, British Columbia, because he admired the speed and efficiency of the modular process. The three-bedroom, four-bath homes are pending LEED-Platinum certification, featuring no- and low-VOC finishes; FSC-certified wenge cabinetry; a HEPA air filtration system; integrated air-exchange, air-to-air heat pump technology for heating, cooling, and hot water; hydronic in-floor heating; solar thermal hot water preheating; and optional solar energy. 206.789.5553. www.methodhomes.net.

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    Method Homes. inHaus Development’s Dave deBruyn chose the company for his net-zero White Rock project in Vancouver, British Columbia, because he admired the speed and efficiency of the modular process. The three-bedroom, four-bath homes are pending LEED-Platinum certification, featuring no- and low-VOC finishes; FSC-certified wenge cabinetry; a HEPA air filtration system; integrated air-exchange, air-to-air heat pump technology for heating, cooling, and hot water; hydronic in-floor heating; solar thermal hot water preheating; and optional solar energy. 206.789.5553. www.methodhomes.net.

  • Keiser Homes. Designed by Kaplan Thompson, the firms Modular Zero line was inspired by a site-built Passive House home by Dan Kolbert Building & Renovations in Portland, Maine. Designed as a moderately priced, zero-energy home, it sells for about $200,000. The company will adapt the home to climate- and site-specific requirements to maximize passive solar heating and cooling. Energy features include super-insulated construction (R-40 walls and R-60 roof), optional photovoltaic solar panels, solar hot water, high-efficiency hydronic heating (heat pump), energy-efficient triple-glazed windows, and airtight construction. Water conservation features include low-flow showerheads and faucets, and indoor environmental features include low-VOC paint, adhesives, and sealants, and nontoxic interior finishes. Sustainability features include FSC-certified wood products, recycled-content resilient flooring, 50-year siding, and a 40-year recyclable metal roof. 888.333.1748. www.keisermaine.com.

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    Keiser Homes. Designed by Kaplan Thompson, the firms Modular Zero line was inspired by a site-built Passive House home by Dan Kolbert Building & Renovations in Portland, Maine. Designed as a moderately priced, zero-energy home, it sells for about $200,000. The company will adapt the home to climate- and site-specific requirements to maximize passive solar heating and cooling. Energy features include super-insulated construction (R-40 walls and R-60 roof), optional photovoltaic solar panels, solar hot water, high-efficiency hydronic heating (heat pump), energy-efficient triple-glazed windows, and airtight construction. Water conservation features include low-flow showerheads and faucets, and indoor environmental features include low-VOC paint, adhesives, and sealants, and nontoxic interior finishes. Sustainability features include FSC-certified wood products, recycled-content resilient flooring, 50-year siding, and a 40-year recyclable metal roof. 888.333.1748. www.keisermaine.com.

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    Keiser Homes. Designed by Kaplan Thompson, the firm’s Modular Zero line was inspired by a site-built Passive House home by Dan Kolbert Building & Renovations in Portland, Maine. Designed as a moderately priced, zero-energy home, it sells for about $200,000. The company will adapt the home to climate- and site-specific requirements to maximize passive solar heating and cooling. Energy features include super-insulated construction (R-40 walls and R-60 roof), optional photovoltaic solar panels, solar hot water, high-efficiency hydronic heating (heat pump), energy-efficient triple-glazed windows, and airtight construction. Water conservation features include low-flow showerheads and faucets, and indoor environmental features include low-VOC paint, adhesives, and sealants, and nontoxic interior finishes. Sustainability features include FSC-certified wood products, recycled-content resilient flooring, 50-year siding, and a 40-year recyclable metal roof. 888.333.1748. www.keisermaine.com.

Building Backward

When you picture modern manufacturing in the United States, you probably envision computer-driven assembly lines, lasers, and robots—but you’d be wrong about factory housing. Factory home builders in the United States remain far behind their counterparts abroad. Few or none employ systems like the computerized numerical control machines common to European manufacturers, such as BoKlok, a division of IKEA, or Toyota Homes in Asia. Most U.S. factory housing is built in a basic warehouse with tradesmen wielding hammers and toolbelts. But they also have jigs and cranes, and, despite lagging technology, there are some powerful advantages to even low-tech factories over even lower-tech building on-site.

To start, the manufacturers we spoke to had sophisticated, professional management and building science expertise, including architects, engineers, and LEED-certified project managers on staff. “Running a factory on established practices of lean manufacturing and total quality management gives you several advantages over most builders: less waste, lower costs, and better quality control,” says Shilpa Sankaran, co-founder of ZETA Communities, a San Francisco-based manufacturer of net-zero modular buildings.

Once a factory focuses on sustainability, the combination of manufacturing efficiency with an ecologically motivated waste-reduction program can yield results approaching near-zero waste to landfill.

“We have 90% less waste than any well-run construction site,” says Sankaran. “We reuse and recycle all of our wood, drywall, and even paint.” While according to Brandon O’Connor at Clayton Homes, the nation’s largest manufactured and modular home builder, “There’s one 55-gallon drum full of waste when the house is done.”

Every manufacturer we spoke to also described redundant quality-control systems, averaging 20 or more inspection points per home, plus multiple inspections by third-party state and green certification auditors.

“We have had several highly detailed projects built and found no defects—these modular guys try very hard to avoid mistakes,” says Phil Kaplan of Kaplan Thompson Architects, a Portland, Maine, sustainable design firm that created the Modular Zero Home series for Keiser Industries in Oxford, Maine.

Perhaps the most important precision assembly in a high-performance structure is the exterior envelope. Manufacturers work from the inside out, installing the drywall first and the sheathing and siding last. With the drywall in place, technicians work from the back side, caulking and insulating behind electrical boxes and mechanical penetrations to create an airtight seal. And with full lengths of drywall running continuously along the inside face of exterior walls, the unbroken sheets create an airtight barrier at wall intersections and corners. Insulators working from the exterior can detail the intersections and corners without leaving accidental voids.

Drywall comes first even under the roof trusses, prior to the finished roof assembly being lowered onto the walls, so that the drywall lid runs to the exterior edge of the exterior walls (with a plywood crush-guard along the edge), leaving no air gap at the difficult-to-seal attic ceiling perimeter. Structurally, modular homes are built to a higher standard simply because they have to be craned on and off a truck and endure travel at highway speeds.

“By the time one of our houses arrives on-site, with nary a crack in the drywall, it has already gone through several minor tremors and a Category 1 hurricane,” says David Hunt, director of compliance and certification at Atlanta-based EcoClassic Homes, LLC. “It’s a 200-year structure,” he adds.

There are intangible benefits, too, which come with reduced cycle time and off-site construction, such as minimal neighborhood disturbance, and reduced construction-related noise, dust, erosion, and damage to existing site landscape. And although we found no research to substantiate the claim, factory builders assert that the transporting impact of delivering modules to the jobsite is offset by the factory’s centralized operations, reducing overall vehicle miles and emissions per project when compared with the daily deliveries and subcontractor and employee miles driven to a remote jobsite.