Architect Launches Net Zero Green Prefabs

When is a prefab a greenfab? When it’s designed specifically to produce as much energy as it consumes. In an effort to bring the green life to the masses, noted eco architect Michelle Kaufman recently released a series of prefabricated net zero home designs starting at $66,500.

The Zero series homes include the Ridge0, the Vista0 and the Contours0, all of which are designed to be entirely self-sustaining, healthy, comfortable, and smart. The Contours0 and the Vista0 homes utilize strategically placed windows, glass doors and skylights to maximize natural ventilation and natural light, while the Ridge0 is designed using Passivhaus principles of good insulation, optimization of passive solar gain, efficient windows and frames, air-tight building envelope, and passive preheating of fresh air, all of which result in a low demand for space heating and cooling. (The idea behind Passivhaus building is that, given enough insulation, you could heat an entire house with a single candle.) All three homes are designed to incorporate alternative energy systems such as PV solar electricity as well as water conserving systems such as rain catchment and gray water systems.

Ridge0_NetZero House

image via Michelle Kaufman Studios

The Michelle Kaufman Studio cites the following principles as key to keeping costs down and energy-efficiency high, based on “lessons learned” over the years. 1. Minimize “button up” work / maximize what is done off-site. 2. Have a system that can offer efficiencies with repetition in module types, but designed to offer a great variety of overall configurations so each home can be uniquely composed for the specific site conditions and client goals. 3. Use materials and systems that have been researched and tested for the optimal balance of beauty, longevity, sustainability and cost. 4. Maximize efficiencies in dimensions of materials by designing to construction and shipping “sweet spots” to reduce waste and costs.

If all of this sounds like the kind of green home you’ve been waiting for, feel free to choose between options ranging in size from a cozy little 422 sf to a full-sized 2643 sf, based on your needs and budget. These net zero homes are available exclusively through Studio 101 Designs and built by the Kaufman Studio’s construction partner, Blazer Industries.


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Susan DeFreitas has covered all manner of green technology for EarthTechling since 2009. She is a graduate of Prescott College for the Liberal Arts and the Environment, and has a background in marketing green businesses. Her work on green living has been featured in Yes! Magazine, the Utne Reader and Natural Home.

1 Comment

  • Reply September 3, 2012


    It would be helpful to know where the design firm is based/ what climate most of their designs are made for. Passivhaus requires climate specific design, and cost thus varies with climate, too.

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