Common Questions and Answers:
Find answers to commonly asked questions and learn about the different types of factory built homes, the manufacturers who produce them, the dealers and builders who sell them, how to evaluate their offerings, and how to pay for your new home.
Are Green Manufactured Homes and Modular Homes available?
Green building is a hot topic today for a number of reasons. Rising energy costs are making home efficiency more important for the average consumer. Increasing concern and awareness of environmental impacts including global warming are increasing consumers' interest in reducing their "footprint" on the planet and its resources. Additionally, the Federal government as well as many State governments are offering incentives that make going "green" even more affordable.
Regardless of your motivation for researching green building, Manufactured and Modular Housing fits naturally into the overall green building paradigm. Homes built in a factory have some natural advantages over traditional "site-built" homes. A factory is able to use materials much more efficiently than a construction crew at a building site. Cuts of raw materials such as lumber, drywall, paint, wiring, plumbing and insulation can be planned more efficiently and left-over materials can be reused, repurposed or recycled rather than simply sent to the landfill as waste. Also, in a climate-controlled factory setting, materials are not exposed to the elements as they frequently are at job sites which often results in materials being rendered unfit for the builder's needs and therefore landfill-bound. According to the National Association of Home Builders the typical 2000 sq. ft. site-built home generates about 8000 pounds of waste. Modular Home and Manufactured Home factories are able to reduce that waste by 50 to 75%. A home built in a modern manufactured or modular home factory is also likely to last longer than site-built homes in the event of natural disaster, saving both human as well as materials costs. For example, modern factory-built homes are being used to rebuild devastated areas of the Gulf Coast. Built to withstand winds in excess of 200 miles per hour, these homes will outlast nearly any site-built homes. Finally, the materials used in a factory are delivered in large, efficient deliveries rather than the many small trips to the local hardware or lumber supply company and back that are typical of a site-built home-building project. This saves in materials costs as well as transportation costs and impact.
A more recent development in factory-built homes' "green" evolution is the establishment of green-building certification programs including the EnergyStar™ and CertifiedGreen™ programs. EnergyStar™ is a nationally recognized, voluntary labeling program designed to identify and promote energy-efficient products, new homes and buildings to consumers and business owners across the United States. Initiated by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 1992, EnergyStar™ is now a joint effort of EPA and the US Department of Energy. EPA is responsible for administering the EnergyStar™ label for homes. An EnergyStar™ qualified home is significantly more energy efficient in its heating, cooling, and water heating than a comparable standard code home. This increased level of energy efficiency can be met using standard technologies and manufacturing practices by successfully integrating three key home components:
* An energy-efficient building envelope (e.g., effective insulation, tight construction, and high-performance windows).
* Energy-efficient air distribution (e.g., airtight, well-insulated ducts).
* Energy-efficient equipment (e.g., space heating, space cooling, and hot water heating).
Each EnergyStar™ qualified home can keep 4,500 lbs of greenhouse gases out of our air each year. And because homes have such long life-spans, this environmental benefit lasts for many, many years. (Source: EnergyStar.gov)
The CertifiedGreen Modular Home Program™ was established by the Systems Building Research Alliance in conjunction with the National Modular Housing Council, modular homebuilders and other stakeholders as a green building and certification program for modular homes. Key features of the CertifiedGreen Modular Home Program™ include:
* Only producers of modular homes and their affiliated builders can participate in CertifiedGreen. The program is designed to take advantage of the resource efficiencies and quality control methods inherent in modular building
* The requirements for CertifiedGreen homes are based on the National Green Building Standard (NGBS). The NGBS was developed by the International Code Council in cooperation with the National Association of Home Builders.
* To achieve CertifiedGreen designation, plants and builders must work together to demonstrate that the home and the site contain a combination of green features, or measures, from six categories: Lot Design, Preparation and Development; Resource Efficiency; Energy Efficiency; Water Efficiency; Indoor Environmental Quality; and Building Operation, Maintenance and Education.
* CertifiedGreen homes must comply with the requirements of the national ENERGY STAR program. Energy efficiency is a linchpin of green and ENERGY STAR is the best guarantee of consistent superior energy performance.
* CertifiedGreen offers four levels of compliance: Bronze, Silver, Gold and Emerald, providing modular companies and their builders opportunities for qualifying homes with greater "green" content.
* Modular manufacturers must be certified by an independent third-party "Certifier" to build CertifiedGreen homes. Routine production is monitored by the plant’s own in-house quality control staff.
* While the plant is certified to routinely construct homes that are both CertifiedGreen and ENERGY STAR, there is no equivalent certification for the builder. Rather, each home is approved in the field by an independent third-party "Verifier" retained by the builder.
* A completed and qualified CertifiedGreen home has a Designed to Earn CertifiedGreen label, two EnergyStar™ labels, an EnergyStar™ Home Certificate and a CertifiedGreen Home Certificate.
Modular companies interested in building CertifiedGreen homes should visit http://www.certifiedgreenmodular.org/ for more information.
In addition to the obvious benefit of reducing our impact on the planet, building "green" can provide financial benefits to the consumer. Energy efficient homes use substantially less energy for heating, cooling, and water heating-delivering $200 to $400 in annual savings. Over the life of a home this can add up to tens of thousands of dollars saved. Also, by choosing an energy-efficient home you will have a higher likelihood of finding a good buyer when the time comes to sell your homes.
Federal and State governments offer a number of incentives to encourage consumers to choose environmentally friendly homes as well. The number and variety of incentives for EnergyStar™ factory-built homes is on the rise. Many utilities and state agencies are turning to financial incentives as a way to promote efficient construction. An array of tax credits, sales tax reductions, rate discounts and direct payments are being offered from coast-to-coast for both HUD-code and modular homes. Most programs provide a direct cash payment to the factory builder, retailer/dealer or homebuyer, often with the purchase of an EnergyStar™ home. Amounts vary, but most incentives are between $400 and $750, although with several programs the benefits reach well beyond $2,000, frequently in the form of a tax reduction. These are in addition to the $1,000 per home federal tax credit available to manufactured home producers through 2008. See http://www.research-alliance.org for more information.
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