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The 7 Most Affordable & Sustainable Prefab Homes

Tobias Roberts, Rise Writer
Oct 05, 2017 ⋅  5 min read

Driving by the construction site of a new home, one of the most common images is that of several dumpsters filled with pieces of plywood, 2x4´s that didn´t fit the length, and countless other pieces of waste that will eventually make their way to the landfill. Observational research has shown that up to 15% of all materials used to build a new home eventually end up as waste. 

In the United States alone, we generate over 250 million tons of waste each year, and 40% of that comes from surplus or unused building materials. Finding ways to limit the amount of construction-related waste that goes into the homes we live in is an essential aspect of home sustainability. 

The Sustainability Inherent to Prefab Homes

There are all different types of prefab homes, and many of them aren´t necessarily marketed as “sustainable” or “green.” However, since prefab homes are built off-site and follow from similar formulas for each model of a home that is built, there is much less waste that goes into the construction of these homes. 

Companies that build prefab homes, in an attempt to both limit their costs and save on materials, have an exact calculation of how much materials are needed for each module of the home that is being built. This saves an enormous amount of material that otherwise would end up in a garbage dump. 

Many prefab homes also incorporate several other elements of sustainability into their design. From energy-efficient light fixtures and appliances, to design options that maximize solar gain, there are several prefab homes that are eco-friendly and will end up saving you enormous amounts of money in your energy bills. Below, we offer a succinct review of seven of the most affordable and sustainable prefab homes on the market today.

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Big Box by Bert and May

The Bix Box is another smaller, box-style home that offers a unique blend between modernist architecture with a traditional, cabin-like charm. Designed by Box 6 Design in collaboration with Bert & May, these modular living spaces are both innovative and environmentally friendly. Measuring 3.6m wide x 14m long x 2.4m high on the inside, the Big Box by Bert and May offers 525 square feet of interior space.

Big Box by Bert and May Features

Customers have the ability to select finishes, windows and doors, underfloor heating, lighting and an array of smart home upgrades including Google Assistant, smart thermostats and smart doorbells. This home comes with a beautiful green roof planted with an assortment of wildflowers and a simple PV system that will provide you with at least 25% of your energy needs. The home begins at $216,000. 

Photo by Bert and May

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H03 by Honomobo

We come to the H03 by Honomobo, a unique prefab home that markets for around $220,000. The shipping container base structure is a great way to recycle the excesses from our consumer culture into your home design. This home comes with an air-source heat pump and hot water heater to reduce your dependence on external sources of energy. Measuring 24' wide by 40' deep, the 2 bed 2 bath 960 HO3 includes in-suite laundry, open concept kitchen, and living with an optional fireplace.

H03 by Honomobo Features

Honomobo also promotes additional uses of these structures to include: accessory dwelling units, garden and carriage Homes, laneway homes, garage and carport, suites, cottages, tiny houses, stacked as an apartment or multifamily complex.

Honomobo H03 ExteriorHonomobo H03 Interior

KODA Loft by Kodasema

Built and designed by the Estonian company Kodasema, the KODA home is a tiny, modular home that includes a living room, kitchen, dining room, bathroom, terrace, and beautiful lofted bedroom. This minimalist home also comes with solar panels on the roof, natural wood interiors, and doesn't require any sort of foundation.

Koda Loft Features

Site preparation requires that the ground is level, is accessible by a crane, and is hooked up to basic services; water, sewage, and electricity. You can easily move the home from one site to the next in as little as a day. The KODA comes with a starting price of around $130,000. 

Photo by Kodasema

Xyla by Unity Homes

Another eco-friendly prefab home is offered by Unity Homes. The Xyla house design starts at $215,000 but is an extremely energy efficient one-story space. These homes can be rather roomy at up to 1,800 square feet, but still get a 5-star rating from Star-Plus Certification. The 2 bedroom and 1 bath configuration ranges between 1,000 to 1,500 square feet with an option of 3 bedroom and 2 bath that ranges in size from 1,500 to 1,800 square feet. The large windows will give you plenty of light during the winter while the large overhangs offer needed shade to keep your home cool in the summer. 

Photo by Unity Homes

Tradd by Unity Homes

Unity Homes also offers the Tradd, a quality prefab design that is based on the traditional two-story New England cape-style home. These homes can easily be upwards of 2,000 square feet to give you all the space you need. In terms of sustainability, this home has a unique timber frame design and meets all of the latest energy efficiency standards. The base price for this home is $345,000. 

Photo by Unity Homes

Nano by Unity Homes 

For the minimalists out there, Unity Homes also offers a tiny home design called the Nano. This home comes in two sizes, 20 foot by 20 foot and 20 foot by 24 foot. The small size of this home means that your energy footprint will be minimal while the total amount of material used in this home. The shell package for this home begins at only $50,000. 

Photo by Unity Homes

Ridgeline by Deltec

The Ridgeline is another fantastic, sustainable home built by Deltec. This home begins at $215,000 and comes with a unique passive solar design that will significantly reduce your energy consumption. The solar hot water kit is another great use of the sun´s energy that is designed into this home. 

Photo by Deltec
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Article by:Tobias Roberts

Tobias runs an agroecology farm and a natural building collective in the mountains of El Salvador. He specializes in earthen construction methods and uses permaculture design methods to integrate structures into the sustainability of the landscape.