Today New Hampshire-based Bensonwood, an innovator in home building, announced the launch of a new brand of prefab homes called Unity Homes. With Unity Homes, the company expects to raise the bar for home construction without raising the price tag, too. There will be four diverse home collections — renderings of which are shown in this article — each with several configurations and two-four bedroom options, and all of the homes will use at least 50% (and up to 75%) less energy than a typical home on the market.
The mission of Unity Homes is to offer the highest quality homes for the lowest possible cost. This will be done to a certain extent through the pre-engineered collections of home designs.
These prefab homes are built in a factory as assemblies and sub-assemblies — typically a panel — using advanced software systems, automated cutting machines, and a streamlined manufacturing process, according to a company statement. All of the fabricated elements are then stacked and packed, again using software to optimize the use of space, and assembled on-site in about one to three days.
The total amount of time required to assemble and button-up a home is roughly 20-60 working days, according to Bensonwood.
In order to deliver ultra-efficiency as a standard feature, each Unity house will have high levels of insulation with R-35 walls (the OBPlusWall) and an R-44 roof, triple-pane windows, an all-electric hot water heater, an air-source heat pump, an energy recovery ventilator, and rigorous envelope assembly to ensure a Passive House level of airtightness to 0.6 ACH @ 50 Pascals or better.
With an added investment in some form of renewable energy, such as solar PV, most of these energy-efficient homes should achieve zero net energy consumption.
In addition, they will be Open-Built, to use a term that’s unique to Bensonwood. In short, various mechanical systems are separated from the structure in order to make future repairs, upgrades, and additions easier.
Unity truly has a broad array of home designs to start with, including the American bungalow (Xyla; size 1,113 – 1,591 SF; from $199,750), classic tall Cape (Tradd; 2,056 – 2,452 SF; from $339,500), Swedish-inspired two-story (Värm; 1,782 – 2,896 SF; from $298,250), and a modern green cabin (Zūm; 1,594 – 2,133 SF; from $298,500). Pricing is generally between $200,000 – $450,0000, excluding land, permits, taxes, site improvements and excavations, and transportation greater than 50 miles.