Monday, March 30, 2009

Pre-fabulous Housing

Who wants green housing? who wants low cost housing? Who wants prefab? The folks over at Clayton are going to provide you with the answer: the I-House. A green affordable prefab house that should be able to meet just about anyones budget.

The result was the Clayton I-House, an innovative prefab home that can be powered for a dollar a day, thanks to Low-E windows, solar augmentation, high-efficiency appliances and superior insulation. The solar panels on the roof don't supply all the home's needs, but they do cut electricity consumption in half. There's also a tankless water heater and a cistern that collects rainwater from the roof for use in gardening, car washing or other outdoor uses. Floors are made of fast-growing bamboo, and paint and insulation are low- or zero-emission.

The basic I-House is 992 square feet, though the design's blend of indoor and outdoor space makes it seem bigger. Though final prices haven't been set, Clayton hopes to deliver it for about $100,000. But the "core" unit can be expanded by adding additional rooms in different configurations to suit the buyer's needs and the character of the lot — placing rooms above one another to accommodate, for example, a hillside. Clayton Vice President Chris Nicely says the goal is to allow as much customization — both in configuration and interiors — as possible. It can be set on a traditional foundation, for example, or it can sit on piers driven into the ground.
Are we ready to reverse trends from the McMansions to the smaller prefab homes? Is an innovative idea like the I-house what we need to curb current trends and land use patterns? It might just be the spark we have been waiting for.

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