The Santa Monica-based award-winning green design studio Minarc partnered up with Habitat for Humanity, and a local non-profit firm Restore Neighborhoods LA to design and build affordable, net-zero energy prefabricated homes in the low-income areas of South Los Angeles. Together they built 3 homes, which were all built on vacant lots in the poorest neighborhood of South Los Angeles. The houses all feature Minarc’s innovative, interlocking panel system, which is called mnmMOD. The homes are also equipped with roof top mounted solar panels.
The premade container home maker Cargotecture now offers a prefab home that is a perfect way to downsize yet retain the comforts of living in a larger space. The c-series 640 Lookout model measures 640 square feet, and features a large living area with a kitchen, a spacious bedroom and bathroom, a media room and a lofted sleeping area for guests.
Sukup Manufacturing is a small company based in Sheffield, Iowa, which primarily manufactures agricultural products, which includes grain bins. About three years ago, Sukup also began manufacturing grain silo homes to be used as disaster relief housing in Haiti following the devastating earthquake there. They called this grain silo home a Safe T Home, and it was developed in partnership with Global Compassion Network and Iowa residents. In 2012 a shipment of these homes was transported to Haiti where volunteers and residents built the so-called “Village of Hope” from the silos. Safe T Homes proved very successful as relief housing, and they are now also available for purchase in the US through Sukup Manufacturing. Safe T homes can easily be used as vacation houses, or even tiny sustainable homes.
German architect Han Slawik created his Homebox design based on the shipping container building model, taking into consideration the ease of transport, universal dimensions and general usefulness of shipping containers. However, the Homebox is not made from an actual steel shipping container. Slawik simply took all the best parts of shipping container architecture and modified it to be easier to build and maintain. Modification of steel structures during the building process, as well as the subsequent repair and maintenance is costly, which is one of the drawbacks of building homes from shipping containers.
The Nomad Micro home is the brainchild of Vancouver architect Ian Kent, who is currently raising funds to begin producing the home through an Indie Go Go campaign. The Nomad Micro Home can be described as a sustainable tiny house kit. It is so small and lightweight that the buyer can ship it anywhere in the world, and once it arrives, anyone with some basic carpentry skills can assemble it on their own.
The Nomad Micro Home measures a measly 10×10 feet and features a living room, kitchen, and an upstairs sleeping loft. However, due to the size constraints, several of these serve a double purpose. For example, the shelves in the kitchen are also the stairs to the loft area and the whole bathroom is also a shower. The Nomad is designed to house one or two people, though several house kits can be assembled together to make a larger home.
The Canadian firm Ecopods makes sustainable, fully recycled short term container dwellings. Ecopods are an excellent choice as cabins, guesthouses or other accessory buildings, or showrooms. All ecopods houses are designed to function off the grid, and can easily be transported anywhere.