"Prefabulous + Sustainable" Is a Beautiful Book, But It Doesn't Make the Case
The prefabricated housing industry has been touting its product’s green credentials for years, saying that building in a factory not only saves time and money, but materials and energy as well. The truth is a lot more complex—not every prefabricated house is green one (for reasons why, see “The book is beautiful—most of the houses themselves are stunning—and contains many ideas for incorporating green measures into prefabricated housing. Each house has a story, as well, of a homeowner or manufacturer who pushed for a greener product. A variety of prefabrication techniques are represented, from panelized construction to modular homes, and a full list of products and manufacturers makes the book particularly useful for those wanting to replicate the ideas presented. ,” EBN Oct. 2007). In Prefabulous + Sustainable: Building and Customizing an Affordable, Energy-Efficient Home (Abrams, 2010; 240 pages, $25), Sheri Koones explores how prefabrication can assist homeowners looking for a green house, and presents 25 case studies that range from “green” to “greenest.”
Unfortunately, Koones doesn’t push the boundaries with this book. She takes it for granted that, as she says, “prefabrication is intrinsically green.” Koones doesn’t cite studies or data to back that argument, which is no surprise since no studies have shown prefabrication to be definitively greener than site-built construction. She also misses an opportunity to describe how the homeowners and architects in the book managed to work around some of the challenges of getting mainstream prefabricators to build green. Many green building techniques are not “business as usual” in house factories, meaning that they are often treated as upgrades and priced accordingly.
That said, Prefabulous + Sustainable does a good job of highlighting how green prefabrication can be. Perhaps it will help create demand for a green product, pushing the industry towards environmental responsibility.
Wendt, A. (2010, August 17). "Prefabulous + Sustainable" Is a Beautiful Book, But It Doesn't Make the Case. Retrieved from https://www.buildinggreen.com/newsbrief/prefabulous-sustainable-beautiful-book-it-doesnt-make-case