The 7 Most Affordable & Sustainable Prefab Homes (2024)

Driving by the construction site of a new home, one of the most common images is that of several dumpsters filled with pieces of plywood, 2x4´s that didn´t fit the length, and countless other pieces of waste that will eventually make their way to the landfill. Observational research has shown that up to 15% of all materials used to build a new home eventually end up as waste.

In the United States alone, we generate over 250 million tons of waste each year, and 40% of that comes from surplus or unused building materials. Finding ways to limit the amount of construction-related waste that goes into the homes we live in is an essential aspect of home sustainability.

The Sustainability Inherent to Prefab Homes

There are all different types of prefab homes, and many of them aren´t necessarily marketed as “sustainable” or “green.” However, since prefab homes are built off-site and follow from similar formulas for each model of a home that is built, there is much less waste that goes into the construction of these homes.

Companies that build prefab homes, in an attempt to both limit their costs and save on materials, have an exact calculation of how much materials are needed for each module of the home that is being built. This saves an enormous amount of material that otherwise would end up in a garbage dump.

Many prefab homes also incorporate several other elements of sustainability into their design. From energy-efficient light fixtures and appliances, to design options that maximize solar gain, there are several prefab homes that are eco-friendly and will end up saving you enormous amounts of money in your energy bills. Below, we offer a succinct review of seven of the most affordable and sustainable prefab homes on the market today.

Big Box by Bert and May

The Bix Box is another smaller, box-style home that offers a unique blend between modernist architecture with a traditional, cabin-like charm. Designed by Box 6 Design in collaboration with Bert & May, these modular living spaces are both innovative and environmentally friendly. Measuring 3.6m wide x 14mlong x 2.4mhigh on the inside, the Big Box by Bert and May offers 525 square feet of interior space.

Big Box by Bert and May Features

  • Robert Taussig – Sony TV (49”)
  • Mirage Music System
  • Amina Invisible ceiling speakers throughout
  • Nest Learning Thermostat
  • Nest Protect CO & Smoke detector
  • Lutron home-works lighting control
  • Single handset or iPad to control TV, music, lighting, and heating
  • Watermark Collection Brooklyn and brass bathroom and kitchen fittings

Customers have the ability to select finishes, windows and doors, underfloor heating, lighting and an array of smart home upgrades including Google Assistant, smart thermostats and smart doorbells. This home comes with a beautiful green roof planted with an assortment of wildflowers and a simple PV system that will provide you with at least 25% of your energy needs. The home begins at $216,000.

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H03 by Honomobo

We come to the H03 by Honomobo, a unique prefab home that markets for around $220,000. The shipping container base structure is a great way to recycle the excesses from our consumer culture into your home design. This home comes with an air-source heat pump and hot water heater to reduce your dependence on external sources of energy. Measuring 24' wide by 40' deep, the 2 bed 2 bath 960 HO3 includes in-suite laundry, open concept kitchen, and living with an optional fireplace.

H03 by Honomobo Features

  • Customizable floor to ceiling window package
  • Optional gas or wood-burning fireplace
  • Air source heat pump
  • Solar ready

Honomobo also promotes additional uses of these structures to include: accessory dwelling units, garden and carriage Homes, laneway homes, garage and carport, suites, cottages, tiny houses, stacked as an apartment or multifamily complex.

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KODA Loft by Kodasema

Built and designed by the Estonian company Kodasema, the KODA home is a tiny, modular home that includes a living room, kitchen, dining room, bathroom, terrace, and beautiful lofted bedroom. This minimalist home also comes with solar panels on the roof, natural wood interiors, and doesn't require any sort of foundation.

Koda Loft Features

  • Nordic feel
  • An outside ladder on the back wall functions as rainwater drainage
  • Mezzanine
  • LED lighting, readiness for pendant lights
  • Sewage, water, and plumbing connections
  • Ventilation system
  • Water boiler

Site preparation requires that the ground is level, is accessible by a crane, and is hooked up to basic services; water, sewage, and electricity. You can easily move the home from one site to the next in as little as a day. The KODA comes with a starting price of around $130,000.

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Xyla by Unity Homes

Another eco-friendly prefab home is offered by Unity Homes. The Xyla house design starts at $215,000 but is an extremely energy efficient one-story space. These homes can be rather roomy at up to 1,800 square feet, but still get a 5-star rating from Star-Plus Certification. The 2 bedroom and 1 bath configuration ranges between 1,000 to 1,500 square feet with an option of 3 bedroom and 2 bath that ranges in size from 1,500 to 1,800 square feet. The large windows will give you plenty of light during the winter while the large overhangs offer needed shade to keep your home cool in the summer.

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Tradd by Unity Homes

Unity Homes also offers the Tradd, a quality prefab design that is based on the traditional two-story New England cape-style home. These homes can easily be upwards of 2,000 square feet to give you all the space you need. In terms of sustainability, this home has a unique timber frame design and meets all of the latest energy efficiency standards. The base price for this home is $345,000.

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Nano by Unity Homes

For the minimalists out there, Unity Homes also offers a tiny home design called the Nano. This home comes in two sizes, 20 foot by 20 foot and 20 foot by 24 foot. The small size of this home means that your energy footprint will be minimal while the total amount of material used in this home. The shell package for this home begins at only $50,000.

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Ridgeline by Deltec

The Ridgeline is another fantastic, sustainable home built by Deltec. This home begins at $215,000 and comes with a unique passive solar design that will significantly reduce your energy consumption. The solar hot water kit is another great use of the sun´s energy that is designed into this home.

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Disclaimer: This article does not constitute a product endorsem*nt however Rise does reserve the right to recommend relevant products based on the articles content to provide a more comprehensive experience for the reader.Last Modified: 2020-11-12T15:24:55+0000

Article by:Tobias RobertsTobias runs an agroecology farm and a natural building collective in the mountains of El Salvador. He specializes in earthen construction methods and uses permaculture design methods to integrate structures into the sustainability of the landscape.
The 7 Most Affordable & Sustainable Prefab Homes (2024)


Are prefab homes more sustainable? ›

Some researchers have also argued that modular construction allows for advanced sustainable design features—like solar-ready design, built-in renewable energy, socially and ecologically responsible materials, water harvesting, water reuse systems, and advanced energy systems—to be incorporated into a building project ...

What are the advantages and disadvantages of prefab homes? ›

The pros of modular homes include lower costs over traditional construction methods, better quality, improved construction speed, and better resilience while the cons consist of a bit more complicated financing process, lack of customization, and the social stigma that is the consequence of the low-quality of modular ...

Who is the largest manufacturer of prefab homes? ›

Clayton Homes is the largest builder of manufactured and modular homes in the US.

Why are prefab houses good? ›

Pros of prefab homes: Faster construction time: Since prefab homes are constructed off-site, they can be built much faster than traditional homes, which can save you time and money. Cost-effective: Prefab homes are often less expensive than traditional homes, as the production process is streamlined.

What is the lifespan of a prefab building? ›

With proper maintenance, most prefab homes can last up to 50+ years, allowing them to last longer. Furthermore, prefab homes are built to be energy efficient and require less maintenance than traditional homes, which can help to extend their life span.

Is it cheaper to build or buy prefab? ›

The general rule of thumb is that prefab construction is cheaper than stick-built homes by an average of 10 to 25 percent. Why? Mass-produced materials on an assembly line cut down costs because factories buy supplies in bulk.

Is modular better than prefab? ›

While they are better for the environment during development and assembly, it is not as eco-friendly to live or work in these prefab buildings. Modular construction is the sturdiest option. Modular buildings also last longer and can withstand more abuse from the elements.

Are prefab homes a good investment? ›

When it comes to investing in prefab homes, California is one of the best states to do so in the U.S. The laws are very accommodating to homeowners who are considering adding a modular home to their premises. Over the last few years, the popularity of having a secondary dwelling unit has increased dramatically.

Which manufactured homes are the best quality? ›

TOP 10 Manufactured Builders Ranked – 2023 Study Ratings
1Skyline Homes100.5
2Cavco Homes100.3
3Genesis Homes100.1
4Legacy Housing99.2
5Chariot Eagle98.9
5 more rows

What is the difference between prefab and modular homes? ›

Modular homes are delivered to a building site where they are then assembled by local contractors, while prefabricated homes involve constructing panels in a factory and then delivering them to the building site where they are assembled locally.

Why do people not like modular homes? ›

One of the cons of buying modular buildings is that it is not easy to customize or make changes once the build has started. In many cases, these homes are built to a higher standard than the traditional home.

Are prefab homes insulated well? ›

Unique, Air-Tight Construction

Think of a modular home like a series of building blocks that are joined together to form your house. Each block, or module, has its own floor, walls, and ceiling. This means there are two walls between the joined rooms. The result is a well-insulated, heat-efficient house.

Are prefab walls cheaper? ›

Are prefabricated walls more expensive than traditional construction methods? While the upfront cost of prefabricated walls may be higher, their speed of installation (and energy efficiency) can ultimately save money in the long run.

Is prefabricated building sustainable? ›

In the end, this enhanced construction quality, reduced waste and minimized the environmental impact. The benefits of prefabrication have been tested and proven, giving architects a viable option for shaping the built environment to suit human need while also promoting sustainability.

Are modular homes environmentally friendly? ›

Eco benefits of modular homes and construction. Modular homes reduce a lot of the environmental impact associated with traditional home construction. They surpass conventional homes in energy efficiency, waste management, emission production, material transportation and are adaptable to their environment.

Do prefab homes build equity? ›

Like traditional, site-built homes, modular homes have values that tend to go up or down right along with the rest of the housing market. In other words, you can build equity in your modular home just like you would with an on-site house.

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