News & Views
Can a System Built, Pre-Fabricated, High Performance, Kit Home be a “Zero Energy Ready Home (ZERH)?” Part 4
Part of the ‘capable’ question must include capable of meeting reasonable accessible, proven, building materials. Since building a new home costs more than just about anything else we do, we will expand on budgets and costs in PART 5. The following considerations in the building design and specs are critical to achieving our definition of NZ capable; the less you lose, the less you use.
Can a System Built, Pre-Fabricated, High Performance, Kit Home Be Zero Energy Ready Home (ZERH)? Part 3
We asked ‘how do we get there’ in our last article. There are many considerations and aspects to saving energy. Last article outlined 5 categorical construction parameters. We will look at design considerations in this article. Then structural elements in PART 4.
This custom design uses our standard farmhouse designs as inspiration. The site is an urban corner lot with minimal slope. Clever design allowed us to include a walk out basement allowing for 2 master suites and a 3rd bedroom.
Can a System Built, Pre-Fabricated, High Performance, Kit Home be a “Zero Energy Ready Home (ZERH)?” Part 2
ZERH is the DOE designation, we feel a better term is NZ CAPABLE meaning that our homes can reach any number of energy conservation stages. We suggest following best practices construction procedures and at least preparing for the eventuality of becoming a NZ Energy Home with design and specifications that can be easily utilized. We cannot stress the importance of good design, siting, style, a site conducive to PV systems, long lasting materials, and lifestyle.
Can a System Built, Pre-Fabricated, High Performance, Kit Home be a “Zero Energy Ready Home (ZERH)?” Part 1
Now we are getting to the heart of it all. We discussed that a system built home is a higher quality home at a competitive price. Of course, this, as everything else, is dependent on the specifications, workmanship and “best practice details;” cheap, high-maintenance, homes abound costing their owners more money and aggravation. We are focused on cost of ownership, not first costs.
Continuing the SIP conversation; we will use their engineering and manufacturing process as an example of a technically advanced building SYSTEM and how a process is managed. And ultimately, how this improves quality. All pre-fabricated systems require a ‘lead time’ to schedule the work, complete engineering and shop drawings and get approvals from the owners. Most system suppliers have the materials in stock and do not need to ‘order’ the materials for a specific project. The manufacturing process is very predictable and can usually be scheduled to meet the onsite construction schedule resulting in a more efficient building program.
If we are to address improving quality and managing costs, we need to make better use of materials and labor. Pre-fabrication in a factory takes the guess work and on-site human error out of the equation while making better use of labor and materials. Recycling and waste are much more easily managed in a factory than on site. The result is a better built home in less time, with less material, less on site waste, and for less cost in an ever increasing cost market.
To improve the quality of a normal conventionally built home requires improving many parts and pieces. In-home construction, a WAG at the total ‘parts’ of a home is some 10,000 pieces for a 1,500 sf, 3 BR, 2-1/2 bath home. What this says is that if we are to improve the standards of a home, we need to improve and manage lots of parts.
Through a better understanding of building sciences, the insurance industry, and several generations of socio-economic reality, there have been many ‘pressures’ forcing changes and improvements in building construction. This blurb will ask whether SYSTEM BUILDING has contributed a solution to the growing demand and has improved Quality at the same time?
Prefabricated homes, often called "prefabs" and “kits” and “panelized” refers to a broad range of residences that have been constructed using panels or pieces that were fabricated before their arrival on site. These advanced pre-assembled components are NOT a manufactured or mobile home because they require on-site assembly, installation, and inspections.