Friday, May 18, 2012

Modular Homes Are Ready for the Future

Smaller, more efficient homes are now the rage.  McMansions are less attractive to new home buyers than they were and extravagant options are being shunned because of the economic climate.  However, there are changes happening right now that will have a big impact on the future of housing and the modular home industry is already on board and addressing them.

Green Living.  It was once called the green movement but it has now moved into the mainstream of home building.  Modular factories are environmentally sensitive to the means, methods and materials that will become the standard for the construction industry. As our general environmental consciousness grows, so too will our demand for greener alternatives. We will see a forgoing of plastics, laminates and off-gassing materials in favor of natural, healthier alternatives for building materials and finishes.

Energy Star and Efficiency.  Modular homes will become increasingly more energy efficient as we move into the future. The general layout and design of homes will become more sensitive to the climatic and environmental characteristics of a given region. The promotion of cost-effective, energy-efficient building practices and technologies will invariably become entrenched in our national building codes.  Modular construction is already in the game with many West Coast prefab factories leading the charge.

Flexible Floor Plans.  Homes are becoming smaller with the average new home at only slightly over 2,000 sq ft.  Small independent site-built home builders will be at a distinct disadvantage here because they either do not have a way to keep up with this changing mindset or they don't have a design staff to sit with their buyers to help them create flexible living space.  Modular home builders get all the help they can handle from their modular factory.  The factory has a design and CAD staff and lots of sales reps bringing in all the ideas from their builders about flex space.  Gotta love being a modular homes builder!

Working from Home.  This doesn't just mean changing a bedroom into a home office.  If the "stay at home" spouse needs to watch children or move around the house during work hours, all rooms become the work space and the need for networking will become more important than ever before.  Modular home builders can help their buyers get this done using their factory design team to help create better traffic flow for more productive work.

Accessible Living.  Modular homes have always been on the leading edge of this living arrangement.  Granny Pods,  Medical Short Term Modules and Hospice Care Units are being built by several of the largest modular factories right now.  A small non-modular builder would have to spend a considerable amount of time and money just coming up with a design series.  People are living longer and more and more elderly people are still living independently at home. Homes will need to adapt to the Age Wave and we will see a trend to more accessible design in our homes. Main floor master bedrooms, wheelchair accessibility, residential elevators and single level living will become increasingly popular in coming years. In 1900 the life expectancy in the United States was 47 years. Today it's 78. We're living longer and our homes will need to adapt.

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