Modular Homes — a Solution to Environmental Problems?
What exactly is a modular home?
A modular home is one that is built indoors in a factory-like setting. The finished products are covered and transported to their new location where they are assembled by a builder. A modular home is not a mobile home; it is simply a home that is built off-site as opposed to on-site. These homes are often called factory-built, system-built or prefab (short for prefabricated) homes.
Modular and manufactured homes are not the same. Manufactured homes are not placed on permanent foundations. Manufactured homes, sometimes referred to as (but not always) mobile homes, can be moved from one location to another. There are specific laws and regulations regarding these relocations.
The benefits of modular homes in Canada has always been plentiful, including faster turnaround from purchase to completion, lower costs, unlimited choice of custom designs and more:
One of the most notable advantages and newer reasons people are seeking out these amazing projects is how modular homes benefit the environment. The lower impact and higher efficiency make them an excellent option for those who want to make a difference to the environment.
With modular homes the entire building process is efficient. With 95% of the build completed inside the manufacturers factory, many of the traditional building steps/ requirements areas are completely bypassed. For example; a slower job will inevitably waste more electricity. Additional power will also be used compensating for weather conditions over longer periods of time. Also, the gas used and Co2 emissions will be so much greater on site than they are in a controlled environment inside of a factory where far fewer trucks and cars will be used.
- Single shipments can bring in materials for several projects at once and less transport is used overall.
- Modular homes themselves are also far more efficient.
When a home is constructed to exact specifications, by an expert who performs the labour routinely and has worked on the same model — the job can be performed to a higher standard. This includes insulation, one of the most important functions of the efficiency of your home. In the factory setting, an in-house expert will perform the insulating of the home with no guesswork. This leaves the home constructed with fewer gaps, mistakes and energy losing imperfections. In the end, this is a home that will lose less heat, retain air condition and require less electricity.
When a modular home is constructed in a controlled, indoor environment the construction process can be streamlined and monitored from start to finish. A more efficient monitoring of the requirements for each home removes a lot of the guesswork and the waste that goes along with it. All of the materials that are used throughout the process can then also be reused, recycled or re-purposed within the factory. Many products that would be considered waste on an outdoor, on-site build can be saved and used again or allotted to a new material or purpose. The chemical treatments for lumber used in home construction will leave their mark on site. Chips, dust and leftover wood will be exposed to rain and leave toxic chemicals on the surface, impacting the environment and neighbourhood.
There are also a host of micro-efficiencies that add up to a big impact. Many models come with solar panel options. Creating your own green power, definitely reduces your personal footprint. Many modular options use the open concepts to give more functional living space in a smaller home. These smaller homes then also use less energy and materials. In addition to the reduced footprint on individual homes, the cost savings in reproducing modular homes allows the manufacturer to have a smaller impact as well. These offset costs allow manufacturers to opt for higher cost but more efficient energy and water conserving services.
Manufacturers in Canada
There are a variety of builders to choose from. The one that comes up most often (and is listed in our directory) is called GreenTerra Homes. What we like about this company is that they are very well established and have a great reputation for being trustworthy, professional and very competent. Their Ontario Factory is always busy as they create modular, mobile and tiny homes all with steel frames, the worlds most recycled product. This elevates the company to being very committed to providing affordable and sustainable housing for Canadians.
GreenTerra builds CSA 8131 A277 Modular Homes and Steel Frame Factory Built Homes (license number CSA Group, License 263071).
Contact info here:
Manufacturing Facility – 10 Douglas Road, Quinte West ON K0K 1B0