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How Europeans Build Greener Homes with Offsite Construction and Manufacturing

By Gerry McCaughey, CEO of Infineco LLC*

As Americans debate whether prefab is a greener way to build, those active in the discussion should not be surprised when their dialogue receives puzzled looks from their European counterparts.

In Europe, this very question was asked and answered nearly two decades ago. The resounding findings were that prefabrication creates higher-quality structures that reduce both the embodied energy content and the amount of carbon produced annually during the operation of traditional onsite-built homes. The reduction in carbon emissions can be as much as 40 to 60 percent.

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Glidehouse Unfolds on an Island [Video]

This is the next generation of the popular Glidehouse, a home design originally created by Michelle Kaufmann that was later acquired by Blu Homes.  Blu tweaked the design to fit the company’s custom fold-up system of construction, and this is the first, new Glidehouse to be delivered.

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Method Unveils Two Prefab Home Designs

Method Homes, a Seattle-based manufacturer of green prefab homes, recently introduced two new home lines, the Option Series and Elemental Series.  The former was created in collaboration with Seattle-based Grouparchitect and the latter was created in collaboration with Seattle-based PB Elemental.  Both lines offer flexibility in the form of multiple configurations and can be built from the $130s per square foot.

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Sett is a Tiny, Green, Modular Studio

Austin-based Sett Studio makes unique and inventive prefab studios ranging in size from about 97 to 192 square feet.  The company pairs modern design with energy-efficient construction to create what can be used as a home office, art studio, yoga space, kids room, game room, or guest room.  Plus, a Sett Studio can be had for about $20,000 – $30,000, depending on the model.

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Porch House Prefab by Lake Flato

San Antonio-based Lake|Flato, an architectural firm with several AIA COTE Top 10 green projects, this week announced its latest endeavor in the world of prefab with the Porch House.  Porch House is an eco-friendly home that combines factory-built modules and custom outdoor elements, such as porches, breezeways, carports, and terraces.  The result is a contemporary, site-specific, LEED-certified home that can be delivered in about six- to nine-months after the inception of design.

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Butterfly Roofline Prefab on Sauvie Island

Modern prefab in Oregon with butterfly roofline

This is one of the latest sustainable prefab homes from Seattle-based Stillwater Dwellings.  The home has three bedrooms, two and a half baths, and 2,300 square feet with a signature soaring butterfly roofline, a great room, and 360-degree views of Sauvie Island, Mount St. Helen, Mount Hood, and Mount Rainier.  After solar panels are installed, the owners expect to submit paperwork in line with LEED Gold certification.

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