Modular green homes are dwellings that are manufactured in modules or sections at a factory. All materials used in the construction of the modules are sustainable, meaning they are renewable resources or materials that are recycled or repurposed. The use of sustainable materials in modular homes helps to make better use of existing resources while also limiting the impact of the new construction on the environment.
As with any type of sustainable building, modular green homes make use of materials that are categorized and evaluated by LEED, the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. Ideally, the modular construction will seek to use building materials that are native to the area where the modules are constructed, a factor that helps to make the production and delivery process more energy efficient. This means that the green buildings may use a number of different materials in the construction of the modules.
One example of material used in the creation of modular green homes is straw. Gathered into bales, the straw can be used in conjunction with harvested wood framing to create the walls for each module. The bales are normally covered over with recycled panels or some type of plaster created using environmentally friendly ingredients. Along with being a renewable resource, the bales also are excellent for insulating the dwelling and keeping the heating and cooling the home lower than many types of standard construction.
In locations where humidity is an ongoing issue, other types of environmentally friendly materials are used in the construction of modular green homes. Rocks obtained from local quarries may be utilized to create the foundation and each module of the home. Recycled wood is also a viable option for areas with high humidity levels. Bricks and blocks harvested from demolished buildings may also help to build a green building of this nature.
There are several advantages to modular green homes. Generally, the construction process is simpler, in that the modules or sections are completed in a factory then transported to the building site. There the individual components are connected in a short period of time, making the home habitable months ahead of more traditional construction.
Modular green homes also tend to be very energy efficient. The building materials themselves are often great insulators, a factor that goes a long way in reducing heating costs in winter and cooling costs in summer. Many of the green homes are also created with an eye toward using alternative energy sources, such as wind or solar energy, making the home even more cost efficient over time.
However, the main benefit of modular green homes has to do with their smaller footprint on the ecology of the planet. Because the homes use materials already constructed, they do not drain limited resources in the same manner as other forms of building. At the same time, the use of local building materials means that less fossil fuels are consumed in the overall process, thus decreasing the contaminants released into the atmosphere as well as slowing the usage of limited fuel reserves.