Build a prefab home with a green design

| by Teena Hammond
Build a prefab home with a green design

When people hear the phrase "prefabricated housing" they often conjure up images of double-wide trailers. But that perception is changing with the ever-growing availability of sustainable, contemporary homes with green and energy-efficient features.

One such home was recently completed in Santa Barbara, Calif., by Stillwater Dwellings, a home designer and builder based in Seattle, Wash. The 1,600-square-foot home sits on a one-acre site and has a courtyard design to emphasize indoor and outdoor living. The green features include low VOC paint, dual-flush toilets, super-insulated walls and roof, Marmoleum flooring, recycled content quartz slab countertops and natural wool carpeting. The home also features a cool roof that reflects more than 30 percent of the sun's rays and large overhangs to assist with passive cooling.

Unique home features

A stunning feature is a 35-foot-wide glass window wall to frame views of the Santa Ynez mountains in the distance, along with a clerestory window with exposed wood beams and an 11-foot ceiling.

The home is a standard prefabricated Stillwater house known as the sd132 design. It was modified for the owners to make it unique, said Matthew Stannard, a founding partner of Stillwater Dwellings.

"There is a manageable straightforward design modification process. People want to make the home their own, but they don't want to be overwhelmed with a universe of choices. We have three packages and all are easily modified for an individual's particular taste," Stannard said.

Cost of home

The homes cost an average of $200 to $250 per square foot, which Stannard said is not the cheapest high-end home, but neither is it the most expensive. "In this new economy, people just want something simpler. They want it special, they want it their own, but it doesn't have to have the same kind of extravagance houses used to have," he said.

Previous homes Stannard has built before entering the prefabricated market could reach the $1,000 per square foot range, making them extremely high end, even in the custom home market.

Stillwater opted to switch to prefabricated homes instead of high-end custom homes built on site because it allowed for faster construction at a lower price. The average time to build one of Stillwater's prefabricated homes is approximately 12 months faster than a comparable home built on site.

LEED rating

The homes automatically qualify for a LEED silver rating and, if the homeowners opt for solar panels, it makes the home a net zero energy structure and qualifies for LEED gold.

Please click here to see a slideshow of the Santa Barbara home.

For more information, see our Building a Green Home Research Center.

Topics: Building Green, Certification / LEED, GREAT GREEN HOMES

Teena Hammond
Teena Hammond has published more than 2,000 articles in People and W magazines, Women's Wear Daily, and in dozens of newspapers and books. She also wrote a home improvement, remodeling and decor column that ran in Gannett newspapers nationwide. She's interested in all things green and would love to hear from you with your story ideas.

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