An Affordable Prefabbed Passive House Line Is Launched
It used to be that a green home was an expensive home. Call it a combination of higher material costs and the need for a little more know-how than the kind that goes into your average tract home — the upshot was that building green was out of reach for a lot of the people. Slowly, though, that’s been changing, and one of the key factors in increasing the cost-effectiveness of green building has been prefabrication.
A number of different companies have been making a name for themselves with LEED-ready prefabs in recent years, including Blu Homes. Now Jetson Green reports that Bensonwood Homes of New Hampshire — a precision builder best known for high-end timber frame and panelized custom homes — has launched a line of high-performance prefab Unity Homes designed to Passive House standards, out of the box.
image via Unity Homes
This new line of prefabs is based on Bensonwood’s original Unity House, a net-zero energy residence it constructed on the campus of Unity College in Maine that received LEED Platinum certification back in 2008.
The Unity line consists of four unique, flat-packed prefab homes, each of which are engineered to consume 50 to 75 percent less energy than standard new home. Impressively, these homes are made to go up nearly air-tight, and pass the rigorous demands of Passive House certification: triple-paned Loewen windows, high levels of cellulose insulation (R35 walls and R44 roof), buttoned-up building shells, energy recovery ventilators, air-source heat pumps and more. Add a solar power system, and you can kick your new Unity house up to net zero status.
image via Unity Homes
The Unity line consists of the Tradd, a Cape Cod-style residence (2,056 – 2,452 square feet); the Xyla, and “all-American” single-floor bungalow (1,113 – 1,591 square feet); the Värm, a Swedish farmhouse-style residence (1,782 – 2,896 square feet); and the Zūm, a contemporary modern home (1,594 – 2,133-square-feet). Prices for these homes range from just under $200,000 to $450,000 (not counting permits, taxes, site excavation, etc.) More information is available online.
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.