Since pandemic, the bet on prefab homes does not stop growing. These houses are built through the combination of different prefab modules that are built on the factory before being transferred to the final local. Many consider them a necessary alternative to the real estate market. It is because these architectural models reduce considerably the construction time and are more sustainable, with a lower environmental impact.
The necessary time to build a prefab home varies between three to nine months. It makes its cost lower, once the quantity of workforce is drastically reduced, in about 30%. Regarding the relationship with the environment, they are houses that consume very little water, light and energy. But its biggest advantage face to traditional construction and architecture settles down on recycling: these houses are made in a way that the material used to build them can be reused once the useful life of construction is finished.
To reduce the industry´s carbon footprint, the prefab homes use sustainable materials to be more efficient and, so, save energy easily. These materials are:
The concrete is one of the most used materials to build prefab homes. It is chosen before other materials due to its durability, high fire resistance and good acoustic isolation. With this material it is possible to have modern designs that can last until 60 years without needing any kind of repair. One of its biggest disadvantage is that it does not provide a good thermal insulation, which sometimes implies the inclusion of materials to solve this problem, like the aluminum.
But with no doubt the main disadvantage, which can be applied to all materials, is the difficulty to find any financing. The banks able to offer a mortgage loan to a prefab home are very limited, because they are still considered personal possessions and would offer only a loan to use rather than a mortgage.
The wood has taken a position as the best material to take care of the environment. They are houses with zero carbon footprint and a lower weight. This is because the wood is a lighter material than its competitors. Besides, it is an isolated material that permits to maintain a constant temperature inside home during all the year and, so, save energy.
The main disadvantage of the wood usage for this kind of construction is its maintenance. The wood is a material that we can find directly on nature, that is why it is necessary to be aware of possible plagues or fungus that can damage the structure.
The steel is also considered a great construction material of prefab homes. It is chosen for its elevated resistance to corrosion and fire, for its great capacity of thermal and acoustic insulation, for its extreme toughness and for its resistance to earthquakes. Its main disadvantage is on the price. The usage of this material demands the use of more expensive tools, which makes it lose one of its competitive advantages related to the traditional constructions. Besides, it is also not a good thermal insulation, it must be used with other materials to improve the energetic efficiency.
For some years, this kind of architecture is coming into the global tendency against the climate changes with a more conscious society about the environment and sustainability. Its base is to build buildings that minimize the carbon footprint, optimizing the natural resources. And another important point is its life cycle: the sustainable architecture worries about the future use of infrastructure construction materials.