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Living Homes are the OG of prefabricated eco-friendly housing. The first Living Homes prefab was designed by Ray Kappe, installed in eight hours, and was the first home to be LEED Platinum Certified by the U.S. Green Building Council. This company has probably built more LEED Platinum homes than any other firm and continues to create innovative prefabricated homes using natural, non-toxic, sustainably-derived materials, many of which are Cradle-to-Cradle (C2C) certified.
What makes them green?
These homes are designed to be as healthy as possible, meaning that Living Homes focus on sustainably sourced, environmentally friendly materials and pay attention to the environmental footprint of construction, operation, and delivery.
None that I can see!
What else is great about Living Homes?
One thing I really love about Living Homes is their generous support to those affected by climate fires in California. They note that they have built many Living Homes in California, with several in high fire zones, making them very familiar with the relevant fire codes. At the time of writing, the company is offering free initial site assessments to those affected and looking at rebuilding with a prefab from Living Homes. They also offer 50% off their feasibility service, which includes a zoning report, route assessment, and preliminary installation plan. And they offer $5,000 in free upgrades for customers affected by climate fires and 5% off design/admin fees.
Living Homes recommend that anyone displaced by fires and living in temporary housing opt for one of their standard plans as this could provide a move-in time of just 4-8 months. For a custom plan, you’re looking at a move-in schedule of around 12 months.
What kind of eco-friendly prefab homes do they build?
The design of Living Homes prefabs is best described as ‘warm modern’, taking simple, clean, Bauhaus modernist architecture and imbuing it with a cozy warmth without any fussiness. This approach creates a happy marriage between form and function, resulting in open floor plans that allow plenty of natural light into the home. Standard and customized configurations are available for builders, developers, and individuals.
Prefabricated home models are available for around $150-$235 per sq. ft., making them less expensive than many conventionally built homes as well as much faster to construct and lower impact. The Living Homes C6.1 model was the first low-cost Living Home and is a comfy, conscious, complete 3-bedroom, 2-bathroom home with 1,288 sq. ft. of living space.
The C6.2 is a compact model ideal for narrow lots. It is also a 2-bedroom, 2-bathroom model and is available starting at $159,000. The C6.3 is a ranch-style 2-bedroom, 1-bathroom home that is ideal for off-grid, country living. It measures 958 sq. ft.
Living Homes also have an RK series (Ray Kappe), which includes the RK1, a 4-5-bedroom, 2.5-3.5-bathroom, 2,560 sq. ft. home that feels spacious and is described as an urban oasis. This design also features 1,435 sq. ft. of decking and is intended for urban spaces.
A Living Home eco-friendly prefab home can be placed anywhere you can build a regular house, including on a flat lot, hillside, or on a raised foundation. To make sure your property is accessible for delivery and installation, the Living Home team will do a preliminary assessment using online mapping tools. After that, they do a feasibility study, where they’ll look at the route from their factory to your site, accounting for road configurations, power lines, trees, low bridges and overhangs, slopes, and elevation changes that could affect transportation or installation. If necessary, they also identify a nearby staging area to park the modules on delivery day.
If you’re not using a standard model, the next stage is customization, where you work with Living Homes to figure out the ideal floor plan and space arrangement for your family and your lot, and choose your fixtures, fittings, and everything else needed to create your finished home. Even if you do choose a standard design from Living Homes, you can still swap out window locations for wood infill panels or vice versa and in many models you can take advantage of pre-configured “expansion points” where you can add room for an office, a guesthouse, or even an entire second story.
Living Homes then coordinate the engineering and permitting of the site work, and the modules. They work with your General Contractor (who they can help you find) to manage the inspections on site and make sure everything is ready for your build. Living Homes can also help you secure financing if you need a construction loan.
Once the site is prepared and your prefab pieces manufactured, your new home is delivered and installed in just one day. Yep. These prefab modular homes go up in next to no time, with a crane set up before the trucks arrive and your home in place by the day’s end. That doesn’t quite make it move-in ready, though, as you’ll still need your General Contractor to oversee getting your home hooked up for water, sewer, electrical, and photovoltaics. Appliances are also connected and finishing touches are made to the interior. All you need to do then is move in!
Who are Living Homes and why should you trust them?
If you like to see the nuts and bolts, literally, of prefab construction, you’ll love Living Homes. That’s because you’re welcome to visit their factory, Plant Prefab, and see your Living Home come to life.
Living Homes are one of the few companies who have a solid reputation both for simple, standard, high quality, eco-friendly prefabricated homes and who are also happy to work with you and an architect to design your dream home. Taking this second option means you can get all the benefits of a custom design home and all the benefits of prefabrication to make the construction faster, more efficient, and eco-friendly.