manufactured housing

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Robotics Comes to Homebuilding

A Baltimore company is pioneering the use of industrial robots to build single-family homes

Posted on Apr 21 2017 by Scott Gibson

Fast, precise and uncomplaining, industrial robots revolutionized the automotive industry with production lines that rarely needed a break and mechanical employees who never filed an insurance claim. Now, a group of Baltimore-based entrepreneurs is betting the same approach can work wonders for the U.S. housing market.


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Image Credits:

  1. Spencer Cooper / CC BY-ND 2.0 / Flickr

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Prefab Passive House Partnership Hits a Milestone

A house is assembled in New York from panels manufactured in Maine, while Phoenix Haus in Detroit moves into high gear

Posted on Mar 20 2017 by Scott Gibson

It took four carpenters and six crane days to assemble Elizabeth Scott's new house in Altamont, New York, and when they were finished the partnership of Ecocor and architect Richard Pedranti had reached an important goal for their new line of "Solsken" Passive HouseA residential building construction standard requiring very low levels of air leakage, very high levels of insulation, and windows with a very low U-factor. Developed in the early 1990s by Bo Adamson and Wolfgang Feist, the standard is now promoted by the Passivhaus Institut in Darmstadt, Germany. To meet the standard, a home must have an infiltration rate no greater than 0.60 AC/H @ 50 pascals, a maximum annual heating energy use of 15 kWh per square meter (4,755 Btu per square foot), a maximum annual cooling energy use of 15 kWh per square meter (1.39 kWh per square foot), and maximum source energy use for all purposes of 120 kWh per square meter (11.1 kWh per square foot). The standard recommends, but does not require, a maximum design heating load of 10 W per square meter and windows with a maximum U-factor of 0.14. The Passivhaus standard was developed for buildings in central and northern Europe; efforts are underway to clarify the best techniques to achieve the standard for buildings in hot climates. prefabs.


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Image Credits:

  1. Ecocor

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Building a Better Low-Cost Rental

An Ohio Passive House consultant thinks even low-cost housing can have a superinsulated shell and low energy costs

Posted on Jan 12 2017 by Scott Gibson

Jason Morosko is the lead engineer for UltimateAir, a manufacturer of whole-house ventilation equipment, and the only Certified Passive HouseA residential building construction standard requiring very low levels of air leakage, very high levels of insulation, and windows with a very low U-factor. Developed in the early 1990s by Bo Adamson and Wolfgang Feist, the standard is now promoted by the Passivhaus Institut in Darmstadt, Germany. To meet the standard, a home must have an infiltration rate no greater than 0.60 AC/H @ 50 pascals, a maximum annual heating energy use of 15 kWh per square meter (4,755 Btu per square foot), a maximum annual cooling energy use of 15 kWh per square meter (1.39 kWh per square foot), and maximum source energy use for all purposes of 120 kWh per square meter (11.1 kWh per square foot). The standard recommends, but does not require, a maximum design heating load of 10 W per square meter and windows with a maximum U-factor of 0.14. The Passivhaus standard was developed for buildings in central and northern Europe; efforts are underway to clarify the best techniques to achieve the standard for buildings in hot climates. Consultant in Athens, Ohio. Morosko built a Passive House duplex for his own family a few years ago, regularly consults with builders, and rarely skips the annual conferences of the Passive House Institute U.S.


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Can This Panelized System Solve Your Enclosure Problems?

The Build Smart system makes it easy to control heat, air, and water

Posted on Dec 14 2016 by Allison A. Bailes III, PhD
prime

If you want to build a superinsulated, airtight house, you run into some difficulties. How do you deal with the extra thickness of your walls and ceilings when you add all that extra insulation? What's the best way to ensure you hit your airtightness goal? And how do you do all that while keeping the process manageable and the cost affordable?

The new Build SMART panelized system has some answers.


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Image Credits:

  1. Energy Vanguard

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Are Printed Houses In Our Future?

A Dutch architectural firm uses a 3D printer to create a tiny cabin to illustrate the potential of this emerging technology

Posted on Oct 7 2016 by Scott Gibson

The building measures only 86 square feet, barely big enough for a sofa, but DUS Architects is betting it represents a method of building that is cheaper, faster and less wasteful than conventional construction.

The Urban Cabin was made from a linseed-oil based "bio-plastic" with a 3-D printer and installed as an "urban retreat" with its own tiny park and outdoor bathtub in a former industrial part of Amsterdam.


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Image Credits:

  1. Ossip van Duivenbode

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Manufactured Homes Will Get a New Energy Code

As proposed, the new HUD rules would save each homeowner thousands of dollars

Posted on Aug 15 2016 by Scott Gibson

New efficiency rules proposed for the nation's manufactured housing industry would reduce energy consumption by an estimated 27% and save homeowners thousands of dollars, according to a member of the committee that helped draft the plan.


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Image Credits:

  1. Riverview Homes via Wikimedia

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Australian Startup Launches Prefab Passivhaus Line

So far, there are no paying customers for these steel-framed buildings clad with steel-skinned panels

Posted on Aug 13 2015 by Scott Gibson

UPDATED on August 14, 2015

A house made from insulated steel panels and a steel frame has been certified by the PassivhausA residential building construction standard requiring very low levels of air leakage, very high levels of insulation, and windows with a very low U-factor. Developed in the early 1990s by Bo Adamson and Wolfgang Feist, the standard is now promoted by the Passivhaus Institut in Darmstadt, Germany. To meet the standard, a home must have an infiltration rate no greater than 0.60 AC/H @ 50 pascals, a maximum annual heating energy use of 15 kWh per square meter (4,755 Btu per square foot), a maximum annual cooling energy use of 15 kWh per square meter (1.39 kWh per square foot), and maximum source energy use for all purposes of 120 kWh per square meter (11.1 kWh per square foot). The standard recommends, but does not require, a maximum design heating load of 10 W per square meter and windows with a maximum U-factor of 0.14. The Passivhaus standard was developed for buildings in central and northern Europe; efforts are underway to clarify the best techniques to achieve the standard for buildings in hot climates. Institut (PHI) and now the Australian company behind the project says that it would like to get the Superpod into full production.

The modernist design has few frills, but the company says that it goes up quickly, is made from durable, low-maintenance materials, and is a "blank slate" that can be customized by its owner.


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Image Credits:

  1. All photos from Superpod

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Coming in From the Cold

What happens if we bring the Northeast’s craftsmen inside to work?

Posted on Mar 24 2015 by Phil Kaplan

In the Northeast, there is a proud history of the craftsman, the homebuilder, the DIY hero and heroine. They work with sturdy tools, with local materials, with real wood. They brave the mean winters, cut each stick with caution, are frugal with lumber. They measure twice, and cut once. They have done this the same way over many years and the product is consistent, steady, exactly the same as it would have been, had it been built in 1953.

There’s only one problem. We live in a very different world than we did in 1953.


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Image Credits:

  1. Trent Bell
  2. Phil Kaplan

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Next Generation Mobile Homes

A pilot program in Vermont produces a mobile home that's far more energy efficient than the norm

Posted on Oct 28 2013 by Scott Gibson

UPDATED on November 6, 2013 with information on the design team

A high-performance mobile home that will use a fraction of the energy of standard manufactured housing and rival the energy efficiency and quality of advanced stick-built homes has made its public debut in Vermont.


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Image Credits:

  1. Andrew Gimino Photography
  2. Manufactured Housing Innovation Project

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Do Cars Perform Better Than Houses?

When you walk from your parked car to your home’s front door, you are traveling back in time from 2004 to the 1950s

Posted on Jul 19 2013 by Martin Holladay

Houses last much longer than cars. While the average car might last about 13 years, a house can easily last for 100 or 200 years.


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Image Credits:

  1. Toyota

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