The idea of an energy-efficient manufactured home sounds like an oxymoron, doesn't it? After all, if you think about how manufactured homes are built, you'll be thinking about how much space there is between the walls and how thick those walls are compared to regular homes. With less insulation, how can manufactured homes be efficient? The truth is that many factors make manufactured homes energy-efficient, and we'll discuss some of them below.
Insulation is one of the most important aspects of home energy efficiency. Insulation keeps your home warm in cold weather and cools in hot weather, reducing your energy costs by a significant margin. Many manufactured homes come with energy-efficient foam insulation, which helps reduce heating and cooling costs remarkably compared to other types of housing. While stick-built houses can have foam insulation added, it's often less competent than what was already installed at the factory level.
According to Energy Star, heating and cooling account for about one-third of a home's total energy use. Because manufactured homes are built in a factory before being transported to an installation site, they do not need HVAC systems that are as powerful. As a result, many manufactured homes include more efficient heating and cooling systems than traditional stick-built homes. The smaller HVAC system reduces energy costs and creates less waste heat within living spaces, which can help lower temperatures during the summer months without the need of central air conditioning.
The main systems that make up your manufactured home are installed inside a central structure (called a structure package) designed with energy efficiency in mind. Most of these packages include tightly sealed windows and doors, high-efficiency heating, air conditioning and water heater equipment, energy-efficient refrigerators, and freezers, etc. And, because most manufactured homes have to pass stringent government building codes regarding fire resistance and insulation quality, they tend to perform well in energy efficiency over time (compared to stick-built homes).
The most energy-efficient manufactured homes offer a wide variety of lighting, such as compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs), which are made to fit standard light sockets. Using CFLs over incandescent bulbs can lower your electric bill by 25 percent or more and will save you even more money on your utility bill if you purchase a home with solar panels to help generate clean electricity. Another top reason why manufactured homes are energy efficient is that they feature automatic shutters that block out harmful UV rays and can close during power outages. This helps keep your house cool in the summer months, saving you even more money on utility bills.
With manufactured homes, flooring is actually one of your most energy-efficient options. It may not be a good fit for everyone's home and lifestyle, but if you plan on spending most of your time indoors and need a durable, cost-effective way to warm up or cool down your space, then you may want to consider installing carpeting. By laying down carpeting in lieu of laminate or hardwood floors, you'll reduce how much energy it takes to heat or cool your space by an estimated 20%. Not only that, but you'll also save an average of 40% in installation costs since they are typically easier to install than wood floors.
For one, manufactured homes often come with energy-efficient appliances. While you can (and should) recycle some of your home's older appliances, especially if they no longer work, you might find it easier to buy new energy-efficient products for your manufactured home.