How Experts Think Custom Home Building Will Change By 2020

Smaller-than-average houses, such as this 1,600-square-foot cottage on Madeline Island, Wis., are growing more popular.

Designed by the Minnesota-based SALA Architects and built by Northwood Construction of La Pointe, Wis., the project started as a vacation retreat, but is now a full-time residence.

The eco-friendly aspects of this Austin, Texas, house—including high-efficiency systems, low-VOC paints, daylighting, and sustainably harvested and salvaged wood will appear in most custom homes by 2020.

Pilgrim Building Co. constructed the project using SIPs; the designers were principal architect Christopher Cobb of CF Architecture and project architect Camille Urban Jobe of Urban Jobe Architecture, both in Austin.

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The Maryland-based team of Sandy Spring Classic Homes, Haven Custom Homes, and GTM Architects has collaborated on several modular houses, including this one in Somerset, Md.

The Maryland-based team of Sandy Spring Classic Homes, Haven Custom Homes, and GTM Architects has collaborated on several modular houses, including this one in North Bethesda, Md.

According to Sandy Spring, the modular system allows for better cost control because it eliminates many variables of site-based construction.

Together with MIT's House_n Department of Architecture research group, Bensonwood Homes designed and built a LEED Platinum house for the president of Unity College in Unity, Maine.

The net-zero energy project incorporates both panelization and component-based prefab techniques. It also uses solar hot water, photovoltaic panels, and energy-efficient triple-glazed windows.

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