A Pre-Fab, Sustainable, Solar Powered, Affordable Home?

Maybe saving the earth isn’t just for the rich. These pre-fab houses are pretty affordable.

By Archana Aithal Rose September 13, 2016
Quarry Street House. Photo courtesy of Dezeen

It’s no secret that going green comes with a mammoth price tag. Saving the earth seems more like a rich man’s prerogative. Right? Well, maybe not.

Behold, a sustainable, prefabricated house in New Jersey that costs about 20 percent less than a traditional house, proving that it’s possible to go green without breaking the bank. And, it saves costs on construction time—the house took one-third of the time required to build an on-site home and precisely 24 hours to pop up. Now ain’t that pretty fab?

Related: Meet This Year’s Ten Most Sustainable Architecture Projects

The homeowners, a young couple with two boys, hired architect Marina Rubina to design the prefab house in Princeton, the university town of NJ. Based in the Witherspoon-Jackson neighborhood, the home is at a stone’s throw from a public library, restaurants, boutiques and cafés. Named after the street it sits on, Quarry House “was an experiment in providing high-quality, sustainable residential development affordably,” Marina told Dezeen. The modern-day energy-star rated house was also designed to meet LEED Gold Certification. Fabricated at a modular factory in less than a month, and erected on-site in one day, the two-story, L-shaped house spans over 2000 sq. ft. and connects to a 500-sq.ft studio with a green outdoor space.

Photo courtesy of Todd Mason
Photo courtesy of Todd Mason

The offsite prefabrication helped reduce construction waste and facilitate an airtight casing. Sophisticated HVAC systems, long cantilevered roofs, solar-paneling and high-performance windows minimize cooling costs. Massive glazed windows in the house allow the natural light to flood in, making it less reliant on artificial lighting. Despite all the uber-contemporary features, the home maintains a very traditional feel with warm wooden floors, a play loft, a porch and a front-facing kitchen window. The flexible interiors will allow room for reconfiguration with the family’s future needs. The home’s ground level has the main hangout areas like the living room, dining, kitchen and a small office. The attached studio structure doubles up as a guest room and an office.

Photo courtesy of Todd Mason
Photo courtesy of Todd Mason

Thanks to French modernist Jean Prouvé’s housing experiments and Sears Catalog Homes, prefab houses have been around since the early 20th century, but it’s only recently that architects have started to explore the cost-efficiency and sustainability aspects with their designs. The cost of the Quarry House has not been disclosed, but prefab homes are available statewide for as low as $500,000. Now that’s a reasonable amount to be homeowner and reduce our sasquatch-sized carbon footprints.

Archana Aithal Rose

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Archana Aithal Rose

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Archana Aithal Rose

Archana Aithal Rose’s articles have appeared in The Times of India, CNNGo, Condé Nast Traveler and Vogue, covering such broad range of topics as fashion, art, travel, culture, celebrities, architecture and technology. In addition to writing, Archana's also known for her mad photography and cooking skills.

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