Efficient Modular Zero Homes in Maine


This month, Modular builder Keiser Homes and architecture firm Kaplan Thompson Architects launched the net zero energy series of modular homes called the "Modular Zero Collection."  These homes have been designed to use the smallest amount of energy possible and, if purchasers opt for solar hot water and solar photovoltaics, can produce as much energy as is consumed on an annual basis. 


Kaplan Thompson went through five wall assemblies before settling on the one rendered above.  The homes will have a cellulose double-stud wall system with R40 walls and an R60 roof.  The higher cost of insulation will be offset with a smaller, less expensive heating system.  

These energy-efficient homes will also have triple-glazed windows, airtight construction, long-life roof and siding, efficient ventilation, low-flow fixtures, low-VOC paints, and passive solar heating and cooling. 

The team has three designs shown below — Chebeague, Peaks, and Great Diamond — that start at $205,000, not counting land, utilities, and solar systems.  First units will be sent to Peaks Island in Maine, while Keiser Homes can ship throughout New England. 

960 square feet, 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms (from $205,000)


1,200 square feet, 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms (from $205,000)


Great Diamond
1,680 square feet, 3 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms (from $235,000)


[+] More info on the Modular Zero Collection by Kaplan Thompson

Credits: Trent Bell (top); Kaplan Thompson Architects (others). 

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  • Matt Nolette

    I’m a Mainer. I’m familiar with both Kaiser and Kaplan-Thompson. This venture is incredibly cool and exciting but my pessimism is dimming the news. My great wonder is how they’re going to sell these? When they’re not selling these homes to buyers on Peaks Island, how will they finance them? A 2-bedroom home in most parts of Maine will have an appraisal around $150,000. These buyers will need $55,000 down AND own the land.

  • Justin

    Those are quite impressive R values. However I question the the argument about smaller HVAC equipment. There are only so many options available when building such small homes and the price difference is really minor. I’m curious how much more the cost for the “double wall” is? However the operating costs should be reduced greatly.

    • http://bruteforcecollaborative.wordpress.com/ bruteforcecollaborative


      we’ve looked at 2×6 walls w/ 2″ of XPS v. double stud wall w/ dense pack blown cellulose and the cost was just slightly less for the 2×6 +XPS. the double stud wall got a significantly higher r-value (i think 60% higher) and has significantly lower embodied energy as well. so the cost is fairly negligible. granted, both of those options cost more than a code-minimum, poorly performing 2×6 wall – but then the energy bills would be quite large and the homeowner would pay through the teeth in the long run.

      the heating demand necessary for passivhaus and near-passivhaus projects is ridiculously small. like a few $300 baseboard heaters that are hardly ever used small. throw in the fact that heating bills will almost be non-existent, and the minimal increase for airtight, highly-efficient, low-embodied energy double stud walls will be zero’d out rather quickly.

      aesthetically, i’m not drawn to these buildings, but from an energy performance and optimization-standpoint, these definitely are noteworthy.

  • http://squallco.tumblr.com/ Kevin

    I am impressed with their pricing. Well done in my opinion, especially on the largest home. They aren’t modern aesthetically but likely do fit the context of many towns in Maine – and there can be nothing more modern than their approach to energy and function. I noticed Matt’s comment below regarding cost. I can’t speak to value in Maine. He may well be right about comps, etc., in much of Maine; but the “Great Diamond” model at around $150 ft for net zero is impressive. Getting them to work within particular local markets is the next trick, as he points out.

  • Arcilook2

    I prefer brick houses, and not something that is made of cardboard.

  • http://www.modularhomesnetwork.com Manufactured House

    Wow !!! What a style ! I love this designer and NOVELTY House. all shapes and size, now a days you can expect the unexpected.

  • Wilpost

    There should be 4 inches of 25 psi DOW blueboard ON THE OUTSIDE of the concrete basement and under the basement slab, there should be 100 psi blueboard under the fooring, as is done in sweden and norway and as I have done in my house in Vermont in 1987.
    There should be R-40 walls, R-60 roof, 85% heat recovery ventilator system, triple glaze U 0.13 windows with vinyl-covered, fiberglas (not wood) frames, R-10 poly-isocyanurate filled doors. Foam-sealed and taped from the outside AND inside for 0.6 ACH @ 50 Pascal blower door test.

  • http://www.findprefab.com Manufactured Houses

    Thanks for the compliment. Glad you liked it.

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