RISMEDIA, September 3, 2009—There is a “green” building revolution taking place, and manufactured housing is squarely in the forefront of this trend. Due largely to the fact that manufactured homes are built in a controlled factory environment, implementing the latest construction technologies is easier, assembly is more efficient, and greenhouse gas emissions and materials waste is greatly reduced. All these factors directly contribute to the greater affordability of today’s manufactured homes.
A number of efficiencies are inherent to the factory-built process. Factory employees are scheduled and managed more efficiently, as opposed to contracted labor employed by the site-built housing industry.
Innovative building technologies are not always suitably adapted for site-built construction. Heavy machinery and delicate electronic equipment that would require daily transportation to the building site and back is inefficient to say the least, not to mention the additional man-hours required for set-up and the many pounds of pollutants released by transport vehicles. New equipment can be easily integrated into the factory environment, where it is protected from the elements, leading to a longer life span, and saving time, money and natural resources. The use of precision machinery also contributes to more efficient use of materials by greatly reducing human error and generating far less wasted product.
Manufactured home building also benefits from the ability to purchase large quantities of building materials and products. As a result, manufacturers are able to negotiate better prices on materials for their homes and pass these savings on to the homebuyer. The controlled environment and assembly-line techniques also help manufacturers avoid many of the problems encountered with site-built construction, including inclement weather, theft, vandalism, and damage to building products and materials stored on site.
Factory construction can also be credited with a substantial reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, as most of the materials-handling machinery is powered by propane and compressed natural gas, both of which are cleaner, more efficient, and more economical than gasoline and diesel-powered equipment. There is also extensive utilization of electrically operated machinery, which would require diesel generators for site-built operation. More and more building materials, such as adhesives, paints and sealants, are low VOC and no VOC, further reducing harmful pollutants in the environment.
The continual evolution of energy efficiency resources has resulted in a significant jump in the numbers of manufacturers building EnergyStar-labeled Manufactured Homes. Manufacturers are taking full advantage of the latest discoveries in material recycling to produce insulation, carpeting and building materials that not only outperform traditional materials, but also last longer, help reduce costs and are environmentally friendly as well. Dual-pane windows, compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs), and more energy-efficient heating and cooling equipment and appliances help homeowners realize substantial savings on their energy costs.
Manufactured housing offers a unique source of quality, non-subsidized homes that people can afford. With an average per-square foot cost savings of up to 35% less than site-built homes, with actual savings dependent on the geographic region, today’s manufactured homes provide homebuyers with the best value to be found in the housing marketplace.
An emphasis on eco-friendly building techniques and innovation is propelling the manufactured housing industry forward in many new areas. With continued advances in technology and public acceptance, manufactured housing will remain a major provider of quality, affordable, environmentally friendly housing in the 21st century.
For more information, visit www.azhousing.org.