4 Ways Modular Homes are Eco-Friendly
4 Ways Modular Homes are Eco-Friendly
The popularity of premanufactured homes has waxed and waned over the last century due to changes not just in personal taste and general fads but also in building technologies. Recently, the modular home-building industry has been quick to adopt eco-friendly practices while traditional, site-built construction is having a hard time keeping up.
The Problem With Traditional Building Techniques
Most traditional construction methods generate a surprising amount of waste. In a world where resources are becoming scarce, that’s quickly becoming unacceptable. The good news is that today’s more eco-conscious consumers are more interested than ever in green construction.
Instead of accepting that modern life is wasteful, people are embracing building methodologies that create less waste, require fewer renewable and non-renewable resources, and create little on-site environmental disturbance. Modular homes meet all of those requirements, while traditional stick-framed houses have fallen behind.
Modular Home Construction Generates Less Waste
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that American building contractors generate at least 600 million tons of waste each year. The primary problem is that stick-built homes must be constructed on-site using standardized dimensional lumber.
Each time a contractor cuts a 2×4 to fit a new application, whatever wood doesn’t get used is introduced into a construction waste dumpster. Waste accumulates throughout the project, and eventually, the dumpster fills up and gets brought to a landfill. A new one gets dropped off by a waste management company and the process repeats itself until the new home is finished.
Modular home construction works differently. Each part of the home, from frames to trussed and beyond, is pre-fabricated off-site using long-lasting, recyclable materials. Eco-conscious modular home builders utilize artificial intelligence, 3D printing, and other novel technologies to reduce waste by creating designs that make the best possible use of available resources, as well.
Modular Home Construction Is Less Resource-Intensive
The modular home building process doesn’t just generate less waste. The process itself is also less resource-intensive. A combination of centralized construction processes and precise, efficient building techniques reduces the generation of carbon dioxide during the manufacturing process.
When contractors construct a stick-built home, all of the materials must be brought to the construction site. These materials are less likely to be sustainably sourced and typically require the use of more energy during the fabrication process, but that’s not the only problem. Even supposedly green builders that work with sustainable materials and prioritize reducing construction waste still need to have everything shipped to the site by each different vendor individually, which requires a lot of gas and heavy equipment.
Once the lumber and other supplies arrive, they’ll typically be left outside where inclement weather and other issues can take their toll. Most construction companies order more materials than they need to compensate for unavoidable losses, which requires the use of even more non-renewable energy to manufacture and transport supplies that will only wind up going unused.
With modular home construction, all of the materials used in the construction process are delivered in larger batches by equally ecologically conscious vendors that prioritize responsible resource management. They’re kept inside to avoid damage and are used right there in the building facility to construct individual parts of the home off-site, where excess materials can be put to good use in future projects.
It’s only once each modular component is completed that it will be trucked to the building site, which requires less fuel than trucking in diverse materials in individual loads, plus the dumpsters required to dispose of any excess. There will also be less need to use power-hungry tools on-site during the assembly process.
Modular Homes Create Less Ecosystem Disturbance
Building a home on-site creates a lot of disturbance. The problem isn’t just that the building site must be cleared of vegetation and the topsoil removed, which is also the case with modular homes. It’s that the process of installing a modular home generates less disturbance.
Traditional builders typically clear a much larger swath of land than would be required just to accommodate the new home. They have to. There are all kinds of materials to accommodate, and the heavy equipment used in home construction will need to be used multiple times throughout a much longer building process, so it’s typically stored on-site, as well. Finally, it takes a larger crew a longer period to construct a stick-framed house, and more people always generate more ecological disturbance.
Modular homes are installed on pre-built foundations. While each home’s components are being assembled in the off-site facility, contractors are already on the building site clearing the land and installing a foundation. It’s only once this foundation is installed that any of the actual building’s modular components are trucked in, which means there’s no need to clear extra land to accommodate materials and the additional heavy equipment used in traditional construction methods.
Modular Homes Are More Energy-Efficient
The ecological benefits of modular homes don’t stop once they’re installed. Modular homes are also more eco-friendly options for everyday life. Green builders make a point of using the most energy-efficient materials and including plenty of insulation, which means there will be less heat loss or gain and lower home heating and cooling needs.
Modern modular homes can also be equipped with all of the latest energy-saving technologies. They’re more likely than stick-built structures to make use of solar systems, backup batteries, greywater recycling, and more efficient home support systems. Reducing a home’s use of municipal water, electricity, and other resources can also improve its level of energy independence, providing a buffer against some of the worst impacts of climate change.
We Believe in Creating a Greener World
Not all modular home builders are equally committed to green building processes and technologies. Here at Modly, we believe that it’s important to do our part to create a greener world and to make it easier for you to do the same. When you live in one of our beautiful, boutique modular homes, you will be able to rest a little easier knowing that it has a lower carbon footprint and creates less ecological disturbance than a traditional American home.