Prefabulous+Sustainable - Why Prefab, Green Homes Are The Future Of Home Building In The US

Last Updated Mar 30, 2010 8:09 AM EDT

Sheri Koones has spent the past few years writing about the new wave of prefab homes - the kind that no one would ever refer to as a "double-wide."

In her new book, Prefabulous+Sustainable: Building And Customizing An Affordable, Energy-Efficient Home, Koones throws the spotlight on how these gorgeous homes get built and what you can learn to make your own home more sustainable.

Yesterday, I published a post on why Koones believes homeowners can save up to 15 percent by building a prefab homes instead of building one on site.
But I also wanted to know why she thinks green-building will lead home builders into the future. Here is an edited version of our conversation:

Are prefab and sustainable houses the future for home builders and homeowners?

Prefabricated houses are the wave of the future because they are so sustainable and practical.

Many prefabs are built in factories with sophisticated computer generated machinery, which means careful and less wasteful cutting of materials. Imagine trying to build a car in your driveway. The manufacturer drops off the parts and you hire a local contractor to put it together. Can this beat the precision and professionalism of a factory that builds thousands of cars each day?

Because they're built indoors, in a factory setting, the [prefab houses] are protected from the elements. the materials are not wasted, but recycled. The houses are built faster, more efficiently and more precisely because the construction is carefully supervised.

Of the houses you profile in the book, which is your favorite?

Like one's children, I have no favorites. I find them all charming in a different way.

I chose the houses in this book from about 200 [that were submitted], so I selected the ones that I thought had the best green features, were the most attractive, and represented a good cross section of the houses in North America.

I was so impressed with all of the architects, builders, manufacturers and homeowners of these houses who were very practical and tried to build the healthiest, most sustainable and energy efficient houses.

Many of these houses are built on in-fill lots and in places that are not typically considered prime locations. Some of the homeowners invested in locations with great potential, close to work, restaurants and other amenities. They are suburban, rural and city houses â€" but all have a special "charm."

What was your favorite part about writing his book?

Every time I write a book I learn so much from the homeowners, architects, manufacturers, builders and suppliers. They are all so generous with their time and information; many become friends forever.

Ilyce R. Glink is the author of several books, including 100 Questions Every First-Time Home Buyer Should Ask and the upcoming Buy, Close, Move In!.
She blogs about money and real estate at ThinkGlink.com.

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    Ilyce R. Glink is an award-winning, nationally-syndicated columnist, best-selling book author and founder of Best Money Moves, an employee benefit program that helps reduce financial stress. She also owns ThinkGlink.com, where readers can find real estate and personal finance resources.