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.
Turns out the Rhône Alpes team from France with the Canopea house won Solar Decathlon Europe held in Madrid. Their home is actually the top of a conceptual “Nanotower” that the team proposed to bring single-family style living back to the urban core. The top level acts like a rain forest’s canopy — hence the name — by collecting 95% of all solar energy and 30% of rainwater for the tower. Canopea was built of a prefab CORE, site-built SKIN, and a SHELL capable of off-site fabrication as well.
This will be the first certified Passive House in the city limits of Salt Lake City (not to take anything away from the Breezeway House located outside the city in Salt Lake County), if certification by PHIUS goes as planned. I visited the home on a nice sunny day a couple weeks ago, but the photos of this beginning photographer didn’t turn out as I’d originally expected.* That said, I hope you can get a feeling for the contemporary design and some of the materials and technology that went into this ultra-efficient home.