energy efficiency, sustainability, green buildings, solar, hybrid cars and alternate fuels.

"A society built on green design, sustainable energy and closed loop systems, a civilization afloat on a cloud of efficient, non-toxic, recyclable technology." ~~Alex Nikolai Steffan

1.13.2009

ENERGY EFFICIENT MANUFACTURED HOUSING

In the 1950's and 60's Florida's landscape was dotted with mobile home parks, the Sunshine State's answer to affordable housing. Families bought large plots of land before strict zoning regulations and built family compounds of mobile homes, one at a time as the kids grew up and out.

Hurricanes, Nimbyism (not in my backyard) and land use regulations have significantly removed the sprinklings of 'trailers' from Florida, except for pockets of rural land and a few parks that have managed to be grandfathered in and survive. One, we stumbled upon squeezed among the million dollar mansions of Ocean Ridge is Briny Breezes, a 43 acre mobile home park right on the Atlantic Ocean. Probably the most expensive mobile home park property in the US, it is incorporated as a town in Palm Beach County (population 411--maybe less today--or tomorrow, as the median age of the residents is 70).

Trailers with rooves of aluminum was notoriously poorly costructed and even more poorly insulated. There was nothing energy efficient about their heating, cooling or roll-out windows.

Now, a company, Frontier Housing has constructed manufactured homes that qualify for an EnergyStar rating. Frontier Housing is a nonprofit organization that has been building affordable husing in nine eastern Kentucky counties. Frontier has designed a single section manufactured home to address the housing needs of very low-income families. These manufactured homes are considered 'real property' and therefore qualify for traditional mortgage loans rather than the high interest rate personal loans associated with most 'singlewide' products. Second, they are affordable and energy efficient.

The primary feature is the heating and cooling system with a 13 SEER rating (seasonal energy efficiency ratio). The home has upgraded exterior walls and all envelope insulation rated R-19 rather than the usual R-11 standard. Floor insulation of R-22 and ceiling insulation of -30. Windows are upgraded doublepane Argon low-E windows. Compact fluorescent lamps are used. These energy efficient features total to an average energy cost projected to be 34% lower than any other standard single section home.

Sometimes innovations in energy efficiency come in small steps and are beneficial to those who can least afford their own home. Given Florida land prices, the return of affordable manufactured housing may be seen here, but may serve a need in states like Kentucky. Click on Frontier Housing for more information.

1 comments:

Wow! Manufactured homes that are very affordable and energy efficient too? In our case today, the people badly needs a manufactured homes like that. Frontier Housing did a great Idea!

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