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If you’re keen to build an eco-friendly home mostly by yourself but want to speed up the process and have the bare bones in place, Allwood Eagle Point might be the way to go. Allwood specialize in providing basic, eco-friendly prefabricated cabin kits made primarily in Scandinavia and the Baltic states. They are based in New Jersey, and ship across the U.S.
If you want to skip the nitty gritty and just make a purchase, I recommend this three-bedroom, one-bathroom, 1108 sq. ft. cabin kit model from Allwood (View Price on Amazon). Extra wall insulation packages are also available (View Price on Amazon).
What makes them green?
Maybe you’re thinking it a bit odd that I’ve included this cabin kit in my round up of some of the best eco-friendly prefabricated homes, given that this is far from a turnkey design. That’s exactly why it’s here though. The blank slate nature of this product and other Allwood designs gives you considerable scope for figuring out what is truly eco-friendly for your particular circumstances, location, climate, and so forth. And if you’re a keen DIYer, with some serious skills and time on your hands, this kind of approach to creating an eco-friendly home might be exactly what you’re looking for.
These kits include thermally modified wood (TMW). This type of wood is ‘cooked’ at extremely high temperatures for up to 60 hours to reduce moisture content to 0-1% and then bring it back up using a steam treatment to the original 4-6%. This chemical-free process breaks down hemicellulose (sugar chains) in the wood, meaning it no longer has the basic nutrients to support fungi which cause decay. TMW is also less reactive to changes in humidity compared to untreated wood, making it more stable and less likely to warp.
Buying an Allwood cabin kit from Amazon might seem like the cheapest way to go to build an eco-friendly home in a short amount of time. However, you’ll need to pay to have the design approved by a local architect or structural engineer licensed in your state, pay for a contractor and building permits, figure out your own wood treatments, insulation, caulking, painting, appliances, plumbing, electrical, HVAC, ERV/HRV, and account for everything else involved in building a home.
Depending on the kind of roof you’re planning to install, and your site specifics, these extra materials will cost you at least $650, and more like several thousand, especially if you’re thinking of installing a solar array of some kind.
Also, you’ll need to check Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) regulations in your area, and bear in mind that the typical lead time from the first payment to delivery is 75-90 days. You’ll need to pay 20% down at the time of order, 30% when the kit is ready at the factory overseas, and the balance prior to the delivery in U.S.
And, because this is the most basic approach to buying a prefabricated eco-home, don’t expect much in the way of technical support or advice.
What kind of eco-friendly prefab homes do they build?
Allwood offer a range of cabin kits including this three-bedroom, one-bathroom, 1108 sq. ft. cabin kit model (View on Amazon). This kit is custom made to order, and can be used to create a family home, retail space, office, or a hybrid home/business space. The classic but unfussy design of this cabin makes it work just as well in an urban setting as it does in a rural area.
The cabin kit is constructed from durable, dense grain, and slow grown Nordic Spruce. Allwood also offer smaller home/cabin kits that you can put together in just a couple of days. As this model is a two-story design, you’re likely going to need to hire a contractor and professional crew to make this project a success.
The Allwood Eagle Point cabin package includes:
- Durable, dense grain and slow grown Nordic Spruce wall planks, roof and floor boards
- Pre hung and glazed doors and windows
- Pre-assembled gables
- All nails, screws, fixings, handles and door locks
- Easy to follow instructions.
Some models include extra roof insulation, and extra wall insulation packages are also available (View on Amazon). Be aware that the package does not include:
- Roofing materials
- Foundation materials under timbers such as cinder blocks, etc.
Allwood note that you will need the following tools to assemble your cabin: work gloves, safety glasses, spirit level, tape measure, hammer, rubber mallet, screwdriver, pliers, a ladder, and, ideally, a cordless drill. A smaller cabin or shed could take two or three days to assemble, assuming two experienced adults working together.
The base price for this cabin is just $46,900, but there are a ton of other costs you’ll need to factor in before committing to this type of eco-home project.
Allwood also offer cabin kit models including:
- Bella – a 237 sq. ft. plus 86 sq. ft cabin with loft for $16,900
- Timberline – a 438 sq. ft. cabin for $31,800
- Lillevilla Clubhouse – a 307 sq. ft. cabin for $17,485
- Lillevilla Getaway – a 292 sq. ft. cabin with loft for $16,985
- Ranger – a 259 sq. ft. plus 168 sq. ft. cabin with loft for $18,900
- Eagle Vista – a 1,336 sq. ft. cabin for $54,990
- Avalon – a 540 sq. ft. cabin for $29,950.
Who are Allwood and why should you trust them?
Allwood was founded by Tapani Pekkala, a second generation carpenter from Finland, was even covered in Forbes magazine a few years ago. Admittedly, there’s not a lot to go on other than some rather hilarious reviews on Amazon, so this is one option for building an eco-friendly prefabricated home where I’d recommend contacting Allwood to get a sense of the company before adding that cabin kit to your cart.