Sunday, March 16, 2014

Super insulated single wide home

Not commercially available except for a limited pilot program in Vermont, nevertheless, this single-wide called the Vermod Nordic Home shows what is possible with a super energy efficient  single-wide home made for colder climates. I hope to see more homes like this in the future from the major manufacturers. Update September 2014 -- Here is a link to download brochures: Manufactured Housing Innovation Project.

On the outside, quite plain, and nothing that much different from what I’ve showcased in one of the higher quality single-wides like the Karsten SF-50. The exterior looks a little better than the Karsten SF-50. The windows follow a rule I learned from an art teacher about hanging paintings in your home or in a gallery. With paintings of about the same size, align them at the top. Therefore, the outside of this looks better to me than the Karsten (link to my review of that single-wide on the right side of this blog).

However, in this house, everything from the triple-pane windows to the tightly enclosed shell and 10-inch thick double 2 x 4 walls with an R43 insulation factor, and R60 in the roof, make this home built to Passive House standards. That means super energy efficiency and quality way beyond any stick home which is not built to those standards.

If you can zoom in on the photos of either the exterior or interior, you can tell it looks like it is very well built.

It is a collaboration among five organizations in Vermont including Pill-Maharam Architects (designer) and Vermod High Performance Homes (builder).

Only ten have been built for the pilot project but it may go into production in Vermont this year, 2014. The homes cost about $80,000 to $100,000.

You can see how the thickness of the walls makes the interior look substantial, much as it would in an adobe, strawbale or rammed-earth home. It also also features a special heating system.

If I had $100,000 to spend on a home, I would definitely consider this over the fairly nice double-wide $100,000 can buy, but then again, I love the idea of a super energy-efficient home that is built to high standards like this one. 

I don’t have a floor plan for the interior but I assume it has three bedrooms and two baths. I’ll try to post more photos here if this home goes into production.

For a more detailed article on this home, go to this one in a Vermont newspaper, the Rutland Herald.

Here's a video from a Vermont news station that did a piece on the home:

Sunday, January 19, 2014

GreenFLEX, a better insulated park model?

My beef about park models is usually the lack of beef in their insulation, usually R11 or lower wall insulation. This manufacturer, GreenFLEX, (click on link for more photos or to download brochure) in Salem, Oregon, makes environmentally friendly park models with concrete SIPs (Structural Insulated Panels) that are R16.

The manufacturer also has a note in their downloadable brochure claiming that R21 insulation, which would be very good on some 2x6" conventional framing, performs in the real world at R13. SIPs, with their solid-core foam insulation, probably do function better in the real world than fiberglass with conventional framing. I'll go along with that.

Their floors are R22 and ceilings, R30, which is good, especially for a park model. The ceilings are 8' high, which is good height for a small home. I also like their simple design. It doesn't make you go squishy inside because it's so cute, but just being small makes it cute, and the interior looks nicely planned and simple.

These are also meant to be reasonably priced, including a more stripped down kitchen for worker housing, or if you want, a more upscale kitchen. The website doesn't mention prices. It comes in a flat roof model and peaked roof. I'd go with the peaked roof. Here are some photos. In the first photo I GIMPed in some foundation/steps: