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Are ready-made homes fab enough for you?

Let me guess: I say the words “pre-fab housing” and you turn up your nose and wince. Never mind if the home is green, solid and attractive; if it comes shipped in a box, you’re not going to live in it. In Europe and Asia, meanwhile, the economics of fossil fuels has driven the slow, steady development of compact homes that tread lightly on the environment.

Contain your enthusiasm

Photo by Con House

Photo by ConHouse

Europe’s ConHouse has remade the container unit precisely for housing and stacked two together for a split-level pre-fab home. Home buyers can assemble their plans from a menu of options. Perfect exterior designs, too, if you like living in what looks like an ice cream parlor or soft-drink advertisement. Check it out for yourself at ConHouse.

Butterfly architecture

Photo by Home & House Design

Photo by Home & House Design

Thai architecture students have formed an organization, TYIN Tegnestue, to produce these wood pre-fab houses. Clad with harvested Thai bamboo, these eco-centric homes capture rain water through the flip-up roof that doubles as a ventilation system. The homes are raised up on legs and set on foundations manufactured of recycled tires. You may not take to it, but it’s an ultra green home design.

Micro-manage your home

Photo by Inhabitat

Photo by Inhabitat

Then, there’s Micro Compact Home, Ltd (m-ch), with this off-the-grid, all-electric eHome powered by photovoltaic solar panels and a vertical axis wind generator. There’s room for two, they say. For EUR 38,000, the company will make yours (delivery and installation extra). Visit m-ch for the details.

Samantha Schoech of Sunset Magazine implores would-be pre-fab buyers to ask themselves if they love the layout enough to live in it, whether the lot or subdivision will accommodate the dwelling and – last and most importantly – that they’re sure the people who ship their order have made houses before.

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