Like me, Mandala Homes are based in British Columbia, Canada, and they are currently my top choice for building a prefabricated ecohome. Mandala Homes create beautiful prefabricated eco-friendly timber frame homes with a unique open plan circular design that is at once spacious, welcoming, comfortable, and cozy, and makes the most of any panoramic views you might have on your building lot.
What makes them green?
These homes go far beyond energy efficient windows and insulation, with Mandala Homes (a Built Green partner) using sustainable, responsible building practices to design and build healthy, durable, and stunning homes that have a lower environmental impact and are cost efficient. The company takes a holistic approach, considering:
- Site orientation
- HVAC equipment
- Thermal windows
- Water and electrical consumption
- Building materials
- Energy Star certified products
Looking through the specifications for their designs, the only clear issue I can see is the use of XPS rigid foam insulation in the Mandala Wise Wall™ included in the Premium and Platinum plans. For a truly eco-friendly home, you would likely want to switch out this foam insulation with high global warming potential for more eco-friendly insulation.
What else is great about Mandala Homes?
Mandala Homes use off-site manufacture to minimize construction waste and maximize efficiency, passing on the cost savings to customers. Their round, faceted wall design creates a welcoming home, community, or commercial space with an abundance of natural light.
These homes also have incredible acoustics, and because there are few corners where cool air can get trapped, the homes are energy efficient. A round design is also inherently strong and stable, making a Mandala Homes prefab home a great choice for areas with heavy snowfall or hurricanes.
Mandala Homes are not designed explicitly for off-grid living but the company offers optional extras such as solar hot water and photovoltaic arrays. Designs can also be Net Zero ready, and some designs incorporate Energy Star certified triple glazed fiberglass windows (the Classic design has double-glazed windows only). Mandala Homes offer a sun and wind design analysis for every model, so that windows can be tuned for passive heating and cooling, with customized placement and glazing available for all models.
All homes have as standard a wall venting system comprising a rain screen to prevent moisture build-up behind the siding. An energy efficiency report is also provided, giving you a numerical evaluation of your home’s energy efficiency (which you will need for certification for LEED and other such systems).
What kind of eco-friendly prefab homes do they build?
Mandala Homes designs range from small cottages to multi-level homes and they also create commercial buildings.
Prices range from $109,000 (CAD) for the Aspen 900 (919 sq. ft. two-bedroom, one bathroom) to $679,000 (CAD) for the Platinum Tamarack 3650 (3627 sq. ft. four-bedroom, two and a half bathroom). As prices are in Canadian dollars, US customers can expect around a 25% discount on these prices. Design, shipping, and engineering costs are not included in these prices, however, so be sure to get a clear quote accounting for all the costs of building your dream ecohome.
All of their home design packages include one on one interaction with your designer, through phone, email, and online meetings. Green design consultation, budget guidance, building technology information, detailed assembly manual and technical support, contractor guidance and education, and lifetime technical support is also included with all models.
Who are Mandala Homes and why should you trust them?
Mandala Homes have an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau, have been voted Top 5 for Best Workplace in the Small Business BC Awards, and customers seem to have nothing but good things to say about working with them.
Mandala Homes have worked with clients to design, prefabricated, and ship whole homes to BC, Montana, and as far as Hawaii! Perfectly cut pieces are shipped promptly, with laminated manuals provided with precise instructions for putting the home together.
Customer support is impeccable, with the Mandala Homes team offering thoughtful advice and support to ensure their customers get the dream home they want without the stress that typically accompanies such a big project. Mandala Homes can offer support for finding a structural engineer and other professionals in your area and have been praised for their communication with these professionals to make sure the build goes smoothly.