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Builder Magazine takes a look at prefab construction

Lakeside Green Cottage
In the July 2013 issue of Builder, writer Barbara Ballinger makes the case for cost-efficient and sustainable construction using prefabricated building systems. The article points out that although prefabricated systems have made huge technological advancements, they only account for 2 percent of new U.S. housing starts. This figure includes modules, panelized systems, SIPs, and insulating concrete forms in the definition of prefabricated construction.
Despite their relatively low popularity, prefab offers undeniable benefits that are piquing the interest of today’s environmentally conscious homebuyers. Prefab promises reduced waste, better quality control, and higher energy efficiency. In a factory setting, clean scrap can be recycled or reused on the next order. Dramatically reduced construction times benefit builders by saving money, but also limit the amount of time that building materials are exposed to weather on the jobsite. Savvy homebuyers are starting to realize that better indoor air quality and fewer construction delays might be worth shifting to prefab.
SIPA board member Frank Baker, PFB Corporation, was quoted in the article and had his own Lakeside Green Cottage featured as one of three examples of prefab construction. The home has an Insulspan SIP building envelope over exposed timber beams and trusses from Riverbend Timber Framing. Insulating concrete forms (ICFs) were used for the home’s foundation.
Baker’s new Lakeside Green Cottage occupies the site of his family’s former 100-year-old cottage that was destroyed by a falling tree. A number of interior elements from the older home were salvaged and incorporated into the new home, such as the pine flooring, interior doors, hardware, fixtures, and the original century-old clawfoot bathtub.
The home’s turn-of-the-century character is mixed with plenty of modern energy-efficient technology. All appliances are ENERGY STAR, the water heater is tankless, and a heat recovery ventilator efficiently provides fresh air to the home without losing heat. Baker designed the home to the Gold level of the National Green Building Standard.
With a host of sustainable features, it is no surprise that the Lakeside Green Cottage was awarded First Place, Green Building using SIPs in the 2011 BSC Excellence in Home Design and Marketing Awards program. The honor was awarded by the Building Systems Councils (BSC) of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).
Read more on prefab at Builder Online.

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