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Book Preview: Prefabulous + Almost Off the Grid

Posted by Macie Melendez on September 20, 2012
Book Preview: Prefabulous + Almost Off the Grid
As a design-build exercise, 15 students at the Frank Lloyd Wright School built this experimental prototype. This view shows freestanding solar collectors, which provide all the energy needed for the Arizona home.

Author Sheri Koones’ book, Prefabulous + Almost Off the Grid doesn’t come out until next month, but she was nice enough to send us a digital preview before it officially hits stands.

The book highlights the ways in which using prefabricated homes helps homeowners create almost-off-the-grid homes, or homes that operate at a nearly net zero annual energy cost.

“I continue to be amazed at the number of houses built, even today, with neither energy-efficient design nor factory-manufactured quality. The first saves money from the initial day of occupancy while the second ensures the long-term value of the investment,” says Koones in her introduction. Koones sees prefabrication as a way to hit all the necessary targets for a home—it’s where she sees the meeting between energy efficiency and the “dream home.”

Today, as we move on the uphill climb toward an economic recovery, homeowners have reevaluated what’s important. “Whereas houses were getting bigger and bigger in the boom years of the 1970s and ’80s, today’s homeowners are shopping for smaller, better-designed houses,” says Koones. And in those houses, homeowners also want to spend less money on energy costs.

By taking energy from the grid when necessary and returning any excess energy produced, almost-off-the-grid homes function on a fraction of the energy required by most houses. (Not to mention how much more comfortable they are.)

Prefabulous + Almost Off the Grid profiles more than 30 of the most energy-efficient homes in the United States, and it also serves as a guide for homeowners and builders to show how they can achieve similar results with floor plans and efficient technologies.

 

Visit Sheri Koones’ web site for more information on the book and the author.

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