This past weekend, at the BC Home and Garden Show, there definitely seemed to be a trend of eco-friendly and sustainable design ideas, but the most interesting display had to be “The Kitsilano”, a prefab home built by Karoleena Homes (www.karoleena.com) from here in Vancouver. This 1450 square foot open plan one bedroom home featured modern design and is one of the most eco-friendly homes you’ll find.
Prefabricated (or modular homes) are a great alternative to conventional home building. They are built in a climate controlled factory environment and are assembled on site in a matter of days. This saves on construction costs and reduces the impact to the surrounding environment, as there is less traffic from trades and vehicles to the site. Design and factory construction can take as little as 3 months to complete and there is virtually no construction waste as everything is designed and built indoors.
There are, of course many misconceptions and speculations about prefab housing, including size and durability of the product, but many companies have been working for years on perfecting the engineering and design to make this a more conventional way to build homes. Another common thought on prefab housing is that it costs far more than conventional home building, but increased demand is driving costs down, as well as the fact that a more energy efficient home will decrease day to day living costs.
Prefabricated homes have steel frames and are built to withstand transportation to the building site, so in most cases, they are stronger than most wooden frames homes. Many prefab homes are built to include energy efficient products like induction stove tops, energy efficient appliances and the use of local building materia. Solar photovaic panels, geothermal heat pumps and rainfall catchement systems are also becoming more mainstream and popular to use in prefab designs.
Ikea is also launching a prefab home that will be available in North Amercica for approximately $85, 000, making it a very affordable option. Companies like Karoleena Homes and Ikea are definitely paving the way for home building of the future and promoting energy efficient and eco-friendly design that is available for everyone.