Prefab homes may lead the way to zero-net energy

Ecocor is a Maine-based company that claims to be the first maker of passive prefabricated homes in North America. The company says their homes save 80-90 percent energy compared to a normal home, are assemblable in a matter of days, and are both aesthetically attractive and customizable. The company has been earning media attention as early adopters have started to purchase homes over the last year, which range from $190 to $275 per square foot (including local delivery). Though this is about the same as a standard new home in the area, the company hopes to push these prices downward as it ramps up production. Notable features include Gore-Tex-wrapped insulation, 1 ½-foot-thick walls, and construction that is totally airtight (fresh air is brought in via a heat recovery ventilator). In California, all new houses are required to be zero-net energy by 2020, so inventive approaches such as this may gain a foothold in the Golden State over the coming years.

(Photo from Ecocor website)