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Article

15 Non-Toxic, Eco-Friendly Prefab Homes

Monday, August 9th 2021 10:00am 16 min read
Dr. Jessica Peatross dr.jess.md @drjessmd

Hospitalist & top functional MD who gets to the root cause. Stealth infection & environmental toxicity keynote speaker.

Living clean begins with a clean home – one that is constructed with non-toxic materials. We took a look at several non-toxic prefabricated homes that have mold-preventative and low-VOC features.

Purchasing a prefab home takes some research. It’s important to see the detailed design of the home, take a factory tour when possible, see pictures of homes in the process of being built, and tour a completed home.

First, let’s discuss what you need to know about prefab homes, what materials are safe, and that the design is mold preventative.

Initial steps to purchasing a non-toxic, eco-friendly prefab home

  • Screen the prefab design for insights into its quality, including any errors in the photos. You may want to hire an expert in building science for a consultation.
  • Obtain plenty of photos and schematic details of the design of the build (walls, ceiling, floors).
  • Tour the factory and a completed home they have built. Talk to others who own one of their homes. Look for company reviews.
  • Have a more in-depth interview with the company to gather more details.
  • Get your specific house plans reviewed by at least two qualified building science experts, including the architect that you have hired independently. Plans are made specific to your climate and piece of land.
  • Consult with an HVAC expert to review the HVAC, including the ventilation.
  • If the company does not have a builder to work with, this is a crucial step. You will need to hire and work with your own builder. This should be done very early in the process.
  • Have a professional supervise the land preparation, the foundation, and the installation.

Benefits of building a prefab home

  • Mistakes are minimized in high-quality factories that use computer planning, precise cuts, fabrication by machines, and panels put together by highly trained technicians.
  • Materials remain dry and out of the rain. The wood and other components are stored inside and stay dry. The panels or modules will be built in a climate-controlled factory. It goes up faster on-site, during a dry time, and should be watertight before it rains.
  • Realize cost savings over a home built from scratch. If you go with a predesigned layout, you may save even more.
  • It’s faster. The entire process is much faster than building a traditional home.

Downsides to building a prefab home

If you have chemical sensitivities, you need to be sure that the factory uses only clean wood that is stored correctly.
You may have limited ability to analyze, review, or change the plans.
Some companies insist on using their own architect.
There is a potential for a lack of coordination between teams. This can happen if you hire your own builder or project manager.
Prefabs are inspected in sections. When your local inspector checks in order to issue a certificate of occupancy, they are looking at the finished level rather than the construction level.

Building when you have environmental sensitivities

The finishes in your prefab home make a huge impact on your health, especially if you have environmental sensitivities. You want to have control over flooring types, all wood finishes, all sealers, all paints, some glues, the shower system, the cabinet company, and the countertops.

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