Gallery: PREFAB FRIDAY: Sustain miniHOME

 

We have covered the Sustain MiniHOME on Inhabitat before – but this is the first time we’ve gotten a real photographic look at the gorgeous eco-friendly prefab. We go on and on about how sick and tired we are of seeing prefab in renderings and models and never the real thing. Of late, of course, we’ve had a few, such as Living Homes and a small army of sheds. But when we feasted our eyes on the most recent images of Sustain Mini Home‘s first house, it was like getting a piece of 3-layer cake after endless courses of brussels sprouts. We could stare at these all day.

This design is not only beautiful inside and out, it’s also sustainable through and through. As they say themselves:

“Even when the miniHome was only 1-day old out of the factory, it didn’t have any of the noxious off-gassing and poor indoor air quality that plagues most vehicles, trailers, houses and manufactured products. That’s because we set out a very exclusive set of criteria for our manufacturer, which demanded:

* No vinyl * No formaldehyde * No toxic adhesives or finishes * All water-based, or plant oil-based finishes * No CFC’s or HCFC’s * All woods to be certified from sustainable sources (FSC certification) * High natural ventilation rate (windows open) * Constant fresh air supply (windows closed) via heat-recovery-ventilator * durable and low-maintenance

This ensured both a mountain-fresh indoor air quality, with the pleasant aromas of unfinished cedar and beeswax millwork finishes, and a clear conscience – that we produced a building of enduring beauty from materials and methods that have the lightest burden on our ecosystems.”

The whole story and plenty of FAQs can be found at their site: sustain.ca

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46 Comments

  1. Poultmaster December 24, 2010 at 9:00 pm

    As with most movements things are usually taken to extremes which end in extreme results. I agree that the price is out of the reach of most folks here in the upper mid-west. There are certainly materials and/or methods which could bring the price down with minor compromises in what some might consider “green” methods. I have a hard time believing that limited use in such materials would lead to a contaminated atmosphere inside. Just to offer folks an alternative to todays housing is an accomplishment! This is one of the best designs for small housing I have seen. Now it is up to those in design and manufacture to figure it out to get the price down. I, for one, plan on building one myself and it will NOT cost $120,000. I am not criticizing the good folks at Sustain…I am simply employing different ideas I have learned from building up a bus into a living quarters. I do believe that the shelters need further development. One advantage of their product that provides further savings is not having to pay property taxes on a place one only leases part of the year. If a person is a traveling caretaker and this housing goes with him…Great design…Would you consider selling plans??? Bob from WI

  2. phooey October 11, 2010 at 11:06 pm

    I just did a search and seriously… this is so much cheaper

    http://www.parkmodelsdirect.com/PH/EVPM2.asp

  3. highglossblue.blogspot July 26, 2009 at 3:11 pm

    Good information, always a fan! This is an exciting design- seems like someone could adapt the design and cost the cost some down the road. Doesn’t it seem like the shell could come from repurposing shipping containers? I like the original design, but as for the price, I’ll stay tuned as I can already feel a more obtainable version is right around the bend! Auburn University’s Rural Studio just completed a 20K house, it was recently featured in Metropolis-check out the post on my blog http://www.highglossblue.blogspot.com
    best,
    Claire

  4. R.ticle One November 30, 2008 at 8:49 pm

    When I saw this thing, my eyes bugged out of my head. In a good way I mean – the interior looks wonderful. The price – well, it would be utterly impossible for me to afford, however, cost aside, it appeals to me a great deal. Here’s why:

    -Portability matters to me.

    -Safer materials – as someone who has trouble with chemical sensitivities, breathing common RV fumes is a no-no. I love the fact that this was actually taken into consideration, a huge thing for me.

    -Insulation – I lived in a 28 foot RV on a farm for a little while this year, on the whole I loved it. (As for the above point about materials, the trailer was twenty years old, and to my nose and how my body responded, outgassed enough). However, during summer, blech – extreme humidity.

    And as soon as the cold came (and I’m not talking winter cold, I’m talking early fall, just around the freezing mark cold), the trailer was, well, freezing! Sure, I could run the propane heater, burn gas at a ridiculous rate, and make the place pleasantly warm in the areas where the vents weren’t so far away from the fan that the hot air barely made it through…but with those thin veneered walls, and metal on the outside, that warmth didn’t stick around very long once the heater was off. Each morning was like waking up in an icebox, and the windows had moisture all over them.

    Yes. this miniHOME is costly, and sadly out of reach of many people today. Yet it is in my eyes, gorgeous and the price aside, a wonderful solution for a one or two person dwelling.

    I hope that in the next few years the price can come down, without compromising the materials or overall quality. If I still feel it’s fantastic by the time I could afford one, I’ll have it.

  5. Contemporarycaprice October 10, 2008 at 11:39 pm

    It seems like most of the comments I read are written by readers who want to impress everyone by their “knowledge” of this prefab. HONESTLY this is not worth the retail price, Some aspects of this prefab are good such as the kitchen cabinets, but it just looks cheap and unfinished.

  6. Suzann DaCosta March 4, 2008 at 11:12 pm

    I have one question. How much is this sustainable mini house? I want one. I am in the Pennsylvania area.

  7. brenna January 21, 2008 at 2:19 am

    I love this idea! I just hope that this way of building only continues to get better, more accessible, and less expensive! I don’t think that amount of space would be practical for a family, especially one with really little kids, but perhaps in the future. I have no idea what it should cost to build. It does seem a bit high to me, but I would much prefer to spend more to ensure it does have the lightest burden on our ecosystem.

  8. scotty C December 13, 2007 at 2:03 pm

    In response to Robert’s comments above,

    A new Airstream is NOT necessarily over $90,000. Yes, a 2008 34′ Airstream Classic lists for 90k. But a new Safari model is 20-30k less! For $15,000 you can buy a 20 year old model and replace the aged interior for about another $20k, complete with your choice of eco friendly materials, solar system, etc. I’ve seen people invest less than $20k into used Airstreams to use for full time residences.

    I am in the process of planning just such a project. The cost involved ends up being a small fraction compared to these designer prefabs. Plus, you’re reusing and extending the lifespan of an existing structure.

  9. John November 29, 2007 at 4:38 am

    I’m sitting in a regular double wide sized (@1200sf) manufactured home in a mobile home park near Santa Barbara, California. This home was purchased three years ago for almost 190k. Today its worth almost double that. I know. crazy. But that kind of puts into perspective the price issue. Affordable depends on where you are in the world.
    Love the design and the green features. You can’t buy in this area…Anything…anything for under $250k.

  10. robert grainger November 21, 2007 at 11:48 am

    Anyone posting here can go out and buy an RV from $15 to 60k if affordability is the principal concern. A 2008 model airstream trailer at 36′ is over $90k – so how could anyone expect this trailer to be less than $50k?

    But you should expect it to be substandard design, made from 90% vinyl – oh – and don’t expect it to last more than 10 years. As for the people advocating custom design and 1000 sf + there is no way you can do green building for less than $200/sf. Good green design is usually upwards of $280/sf in our experience. Do the math. Is that more affordable? $280,000 – and that doesn’t even include the land yet, or service connections, water supply, wastewater systems.

    People, please educate yourselves on costs a little more before criticizing. It is very difficult to do good, affordable green design, and minihome has really done an amazing job here. Bravo.

  11. Amy November 7, 2007 at 5:14 pm

    I agree that this is a wonderful design. However, the price is simply impossible for anyone even in mid to lower income. In many lower income areas that same price would buy a very large home, where the person could rent out rooms!

    If you can get the price down, you will sell like hotcakes. People are sick and tired of these McMansions everywhere that are slapped together with very poor care.

    It seems you put a lot of thought and care into your product. However, it’s just not AFFORDABLE!

  12. Michelle Lockridge October 23, 2007 at 7:00 pm

    I was so excited when I saw this on HGTV tonight because we have been wanting something like this for a long time to use as a camp and/or survival home. After seeing how much they sell for I was completely shocked. I was expecting it to be in the $35 to $60 thousand dollar range. It is so depressing when you want to be green but can’t afford to be green. It seems that you could build it yourself for much much less. Any possibilities the company would offer the shell for a reasonable fee and let you finish the interior yourself?

  13. Noel P. Saclayan October 14, 2007 at 11:38 am

    I am very much interested in developing housing units that are affordable but unfortunately there are very few if not no studies at all made here in the Philippines on the type of housing units your website is advocating.

    Building consideration for these type of houses here would revolve around climate, weather availability of materials and safety. Are these type of houses suitable for condition here in the tropics?

  14. Inhabitat » PREFA... October 5, 2007 at 5:43 am

    [...] In the meantime, it’s clear that this inviting spatial experience brings yet another dimension to sustainable prefab [...]

  15. Punstress September 15, 2007 at 1:38 pm

    Am I the only person to wonder about security? All these mini houses look like they could be broken into very easily. I wonder about how they would hold up in an earthquake or high winds.

  16. Kate June 17, 2007 at 7:54 pm

    I love the house and will be watching to see if it comes down closer to the $100,000 range. Difficult to do, I know but for first time buyers who are likely going to be your market (ie the younger generations) the entry price is a little to high.

    Congrats on achieving what you have however! Sustainability in a prefab… AND self sufficient. I love it.

  17. dave May 11, 2007 at 4:32 am

    This thing is fantastic! Why dont we have anything like this in Australia? Good luck Mate. Cheers DE

  18. LickSick May 10, 2007 at 4:43 pm

    I am, by American standards, a poor person and I rent but dream of owning (anything regardless of size). I live in Sacramento, CA, where home prices are rapidly approaching big-city figures (San Francisco, New York, London, etc..) In the greater Sacramento area even a seriously run down duplex in a crack-infested neighborhood costs more than $200,000. A small home that someone might actually want to live in is generally 330,000 on up, and larger homes are 500,000 to a million plus. For someone like me to own a home I would have to move to Arkansas or Alabama.
    I have many thoughts on the price of the prefab in the article. You are paying for three things 1) eco-friendly 2) your house is already made for you 3) It is acceptable to the building codes in most places.
    For those of you mentioning concrete, I must point out that concrete is very high in embedded energy (it takes tremendous amounts of energy to make it, and also to destroy it). It is a valuable building material in so many ways, but I would not consider it eco-friendly or sustainable.

    I need a place under 100,000. Remember that the word Mortgage is a french word that means ‘death-pledge’. It is a vehicle in which during hard times the assets of the poor go back into the hands of the lenders.

    If you want cheap and eco-friendly the real way to go is to build it yourself. It’s the only way I’ve seen people get under the $100,000 mark (in anywhere that people actually might want to live in the US).

    It is the building codes that are the real criminals. Originally put in place for the peoples protection, they now serve the construction industry. Small, eco-friendly, owner-built homes are pratically outlawed by the building codes in most communities. It usually takes a lot of creativity and a friendly bureaucrat to get around the codes.

  19. Karl March 23, 2007 at 8:41 am

    Cost: While sustainability is critical, we’re talking about getting a lot of people to use sustainable practices and materials. At the coat of over $100,000, most people can’t afford this home. I think its beautiful, but I can’t afford it. I’m an average Joe and if Average Joe can’t buy it, doesn’t it miss the mark? We need something that is small, sustainable, and affordable.

    One other issue that I don’t know much about… being on wheels is probably not a great idea in most areas of the country. On top of that, but related…. what about insuring the home. Would it be prohibitively expensive? Same goes for a mortgage company… who will take the risk at an afford interest rate?

    Any thoughts?

  20. shuggi-duggi March 20, 2007 at 12:27 pm

    It seems the arguments are stacking up as price and size, versus design and sustainability. Unfortunately, that is the name of the game today. Not that we have to play by the rules! You can beat the odds, three out of four, by sacrificing any one value. Or, you could just focus on (survival) price as your first consideration, and adapt to (money) scarcity. This is the way of nature. Sustainability does require financial economy, as much as it may require economy of resources. How many resources are used in work and travel to generate income, to buy a mini-home? Add that to your equation. So chuck out all your fancy plywood, use regular plywood, or bamboo, and insulate with fabric and sustainable batting. Use off the shelf parts ALWAYS, except when you can RECYCLE. Junk is great! You’d be amazed what you can find at the dump. For mass production? Yes! You can get a lot of garbage if you really want it; there is so much of it. outsourcing parts and/or labor is inherently unsustainable and environmentally unfriendly; forget it. The design is really cute, if confined. More built-in furniture would help. Also, pop-out sections are standard in many RVs; you can do the same with the mini-home. Add the Renewable energy package, put bigger tires on the chassis and make it more roadworthy, and sell it for under $100,000, and you might just have something.

  21. Chris February 24, 2007 at 12:02 pm

    I sympathize with all the value-over-inexpensive comments, but the arguments about San Francisco-London-New York-Tokyo residents finding this cheap are more than a little disengenous. These are all places that most of us who live elsewhere find unimaginable in terms of price. I grew up in New York, but could never afford to live there in my current profession (college professor). So, no, $100,000-plus for this project is not appealing. I love it, need something very much like it, and would love to purchase it. I’m looking for something that does everything it does. But I simply cannot afford it, and cannot afford to move to New York to correct my perspective on its price. Why can’t something along these lines be made for $50-65,000?

  22. annie v. February 2, 2007 at 1:46 pm

    Hi, I am from the Philippines. I just want to share a little honest idea. this kind of project for a home really cost a lot! How come? Just to let you know that we had purchased two class B 40 footer container van at approximately US$4,500 each (transpo and taxes included already.) Well, as a design student, I wanted to put my learnings into outright practice. Guess what, the two 40ftrCV was done in less than a month, complete with insulation and interior wallings, with two tiled bathrooms at each end, two bedrooms, kitchen and living/dining room. The interior and exterior fully painted with epoxy paint, guaranteed to last for a maximum of 10years. Whatelse? It has glass sliding windows and sliding doors made from its cut metal sidings. Plus it was completed with electrical and plumbing requirements. Approximate total interior and exterior finishings, only cost US$6,000! Two CV’s only cost US10,500! No joke. Where can you find that? It is only here in this third world country that design and comfort need not that expensive. Well, the materials and finishes are US standards also. You know why, the said two containers was shipped to Palau Island. Right now, I am planning again to build my own house made of container vans. Hmmm, I’ll call it a CV Mansion. Be PRACTICAL! it’s the name of todays game. For those who dream of having a practical, functional and aesthetic home, think twice! Why not do it yourself? A container van house,is the simpleist and quickest way of building your own house. My advice for those who cannot afford a commercially built, prefabricated container home, scout a local contractor and purchase your own container van. You can build your own with a help from your local handyman. You just need an area to have it situated. I think that you can order class B or even Class A container vans that comes in 20ftr to 40ftr in the US shipyards. It is abundant in your country and I guess it should be bought on a bargain. If you worry about space, oh there is so much you can do with container vans! Just be resourceful and simply be creative. It is all within us. Mortgage? WHO needs it anyway when you can save awile and get your own home!!! Specifically, I would like to address this idea to Breana’s concern.

  23. kurt mann January 13, 2007 at 10:29 pm

    This may just be a project that is ahead of it’s time. It seems most people want to live in this home, not vacation in it. If it were slightly larger and slightly less expensive building small communities of these trailers could be amazing for young people and families. The founder seems to be going after the luxury market that want a second home. That is a good idea. But to increase the total number of units, how can we get these things into the hands of a group of people who want to start their family life without having to be in debt for years.

  24. Adam January 11, 2007 at 10:19 pm

    Ok. While I do enjoy the idea of a sustainable prefab it seems like this project needs to be thought out a little more. Can you really imagine taking a morgage out for this thing? Introducing the sustainable trailer…. not quite a great investment. In response to Breeana it would be a sin to put your mother in this. While I do not know where you are located I would say send some emails around to local universities with architecture programs. Your delema poses an intersting design challenge that some universities would take on as a student project. Free student labour and perhaps a beautiful design alternative. As students we understand the need to do things as economical as possible. Provide someone with a thesis project and a great few pages for their portfolio you’d be surprised how much help you may get!

  25. Jachy January 11, 2007 at 4:48 am

    I am hunting for some possibility to cooperate in business scope about prefab housing technique. I am in Shanghai China. We have prefab elements factory in Shanghai. We want to introduce the prefab housing technique in China. Whether you know something about this or some companies have this kind of technique? And those companies want to develop business in China. Please contact with me. Thanks!

  26. Breeana January 5, 2007 at 4:46 pm

    I too, have been readling about and looking for, environmentally friendly “cheaper” housing alternatives. My mother has been recently widowed. When my dad died he left nothing, other than debt. I have a piece of land with a deteoriating house she can live in. To “fix it up” to livable standards is expensive. I explored having a pre-fab put on the property, and would like to utilize methods to cut her bills as she will be on a fixed income. It is a sad state of affairs a woman that has spent he life, by choice, in the social services industry and now will be essentially homeless. I did live in the home (600sq) with my three children and have moved into the american dream of debt, but more space. However, I need housing for my mother and if anyone has come across this “affordable” method of living please forward information to me. I would outsource to Lorenzo, or learn about concrete buidling. I’ve looked at straw, or a straw clad container (from fabprefab.com), but still can not find anything that ties together “affordable” housing with “green” housing. I do think these homes are worth the price.. .if all you have to do is assemble them. However, my budget can not pay for this. But the Sustanin Mini does appear to be beautifully, thoughtfully designed. But would love to see a similar home that a minimum wage worker could afford…. ha ha ha!

  27. sarah b January 5, 2007 at 2:15 pm

    I feel compelled to respond, these are an interesting series of comments. It seems that most pre-fab homes on the market are running about the same cost per sq.ft. I can see the frustration with these prices, it seems as if there are no economic alternatives these days. Some have more value than others, but the attention to detail in the Sustain mini seems very impressive. I appreciate that the components in this home are not built in china or another popular location for outsourcing – if you are truly trying to be sustainable (culturally, embodied energy, etc.), this also starts to cut corners. I live in LA, and where New York, SF, London, Tokyo, etc are insanely expensive, its not all that cheap here either. If anyone is seriously considering pre-fab and/or a sustainable lifestyle – this seems like an excellent option (that is worthy of the American tradition of stretching your finances to obtain something).

  28. emmy January 4, 2007 at 11:53 pm

    It’s funny I just got done reading most of the comments here…most of them are concerned with “price”. I live here in the SF bay area with the average cost for a 2bdrm home being well over a million dollars. I personally have lived in Apartments this size or smaller for the cost of about $1000/month! This my friends does not include furniture, decent heat or ANY storage. This thing was loaded w/ all things one could need and ample storage and anyone who lives in NY, SF, London etc. understand the importance of such! My only wish would be that there was an eco-friendly mobile home park here in the bay area! but still this gives me hope that I might actually be able to afford a place to call my own. I’ve moved around a lot in my life and the idea of having a beautiful eco-friendly home to-go is great! Oh, and for all those who think RV’s are inexpensive…I suggest that you go out right now and price them w/ even half the emennities this offers you’ll realize this is in fact quite a bargain. Sure i wish they were cheaper, I’d be buying one right now…but I think it is definately a bargain.

  29. Inhabitat » SUSTA... January 4, 2007 at 4:45 pm

    [...] The Sustain MiniHOME, one of our favorite little manufactured homes, emerged out of Toronto last year and has since made itself known far and wide. Tonight, Sustain’s prefab profile will get another boost on HGTV’s Small Space, Big Style. Designer Andy Thomson will appear on the show to give a guided tour of their process and product. We’ll have some more news soon about the progress Sustain has made in facilitating mass production of their home. [...]

  30. leah erickson November 11, 2006 at 7:23 pm

    Interesting comments, all. I was on the Mississippi Gulf Coast after Katrina, and i agree with mr. kirk. the cost of these would definitely be negated, when compared with the corruption and inefficiency involved with the delivery of poorly valued and environmentally UNfriendly FEMA trailers. there are STILL many homeless people that would snatch at the chance for one of these.

  31. Dominic in montreal October 21, 2006 at 9:23 pm

    By way of clarity i feel i must point out that comparing a 300ft space with 3″ thick walls with an R score of 18 to a 4000 sq ft space made of concrete is comparing apples and oranges as far as efficiency goes.

    They are different kinds of efficiency. Call me back when you can make 4000sq ft constructed with concrete as energy efficient in mid winter. I know which one i’d rather be in when it’s -40 on the prairies.

    And not only that the wall panels are a relatively low-volume item. I know there’s a similar thing made with pressboard, which is, i think what Romero uses on the Fish Camp and press-board typically uses formaldehyde. And if you remember that wasn’t all that cheap either. In short These guys are using premium versions of niche stuff, as far as i can tell and this contributes in a large way to the cost.

    I’d quit moaning about costs to start with. If these things used the same manufacturing techniques but were custom designed and built on site the prices would be much much higher. And when was the last time you priced an RV anyway?

  32. SEAN KIRK September 27, 2006 at 6:20 am

    the house looks great. you are definetly on the right track. get the costs down to about 200.00 /sqft and i think you will sell them like hot cakes. i build houses on the gulf coast of mississippi and last year after the huricane people would have scooped them up as fast as you could have built them. i agree with lorenzo II, you should outsource some or all components to a thirdworld country. i was recently told that one of the 24 new modular companies on the gulfcoast, has their modules fabricated in china and shipped in containers.

    aside from all that. your finished product is outstanding, keep at it !

  33. David Warangel September 8, 2006 at 12:20 am

    Lloyd, your responses are great!

    Still won’t pay $132,000 for 288 square feet. Wanting 1,000 or more sq. feet is hardly wanting a mcmansion.

  34. urbandesignr September 4, 2006 at 10:00 am

    We are planning a move to Canada, probably the interior of BC, and would love to build an earth covered home, however, as I would likely be working through this period, a “green housing” option like this would be super. I don’t know what the reslae value of one of these would be like, I guess we could keep it for the outlaws to stay in.

    But the price is high for a guest house and temporary accomodation while attempting to build another house.

  35. megan64 September 1, 2006 at 12:22 pm

    What I appreciate most about the design of this house is that it is small and that it shows that is possible to live with less. If we began to approach all building with these things in mind(smaller appliances, eco friendly lighting, water usage, solar, smaller more intimate spaces) we could live cheaply and our aesthetics wouldn’t suffer any.

    I agree that the pricing does need to come down; for somethings paying more up front and less energy usage in the future makes sense and is totally worth it. I’d love to see little eco-friendly ,land-shared mobile home parks made of little houses like this, where like-minded folks could create communities. Especially in high-priced but desirable areas like the SF Bay Area where I was born and raised but am currently priced-out. Anyone interested?

  36. Martin Neiman August 22, 2006 at 3:29 pm

    Very interesting!!! We are working in several projects in Costa Rica… Lets be in touch!

  37. Kirsten August 21, 2006 at 3:24 am

    Wow, I’m a non-builder (but sensitive to good design) with a family full of allergies and scent-sensitivies and frankly being able to install a fully functioning and furnished healthy vacation home just about immediately and not have to hassle much with local regulations and builders is so incredibly appealing. Here in Boston, I can’t even get contractors to actually follow up and give me proposals for a decking project I’ve been trying to get done for a year now — what a hassle. Trying to build a whole new vacation house in a remote location? Forget it! For this reason alone, this seems like a huge bargain. Then put in the energy savings and you’re really talking. If you read the FAQ you really appreciate the level of detail this team has gone into in planning this home. It is so thoughtful — I mean they’ve considered things that a layperson like me would never even think up. I also love that I can up and move it if I feel like it. You can’t do that with concrete, guys! I think you’re missing the point with the price comparisons because this design gives so many options for the owner. Bravo Sustain!

  38. Lloyd August 20, 2006 at 8:28 pm

    We went into this and wanted it to be cheaper. Anyone who has ever sold anything knows that the cheaper it is, the better it will sell- we all wish it cost half of what it does, we would sell ten times as many. Lets take an example of the wall system- we are limited by the law to a width of 8′-6″. that is really thin and every fraction of an inch inside is critical. In traditional RV’s the walls are made of 2×3 wood studs and there is a thermal bridge that causes condensation inside and over the years mould develops. Most builders don’t care; Designer Andy insisted on the thinnest possible wall with no thermal bridging. Result: we import the walls from Virginia and ship them to Canada to get R-18 out of three and a half inches with no thermal bridging. Cost is perhaps 5 times as much as a normal RV wall but we want it sustainable, effective and thin. I would have said, lets use a local SIP and lose two inches inside but Andy says that would seriously influence the quality of life, better to pay more and get the room. And by the way, (all though I do not ever talk about price per square foot) it is 360 square feet, not 280. Talk to anyone in Manhattan, London or Tokyo about costs and they will find this cheap as dirt.

  39. Meeo Mie August 20, 2006 at 6:37 pm

    Lloyd, you make some good points. Believe me, I do not like mini-mansions any more than you. I really like the idea and rationale behind Sustain Mini. I like the aesthetics of the project. And I hope one day that it can be produced and sold more economically. But no matter how laudable the project, I am not going to pay $132,000 US for 288 square feet of dwelling. I might pay half that. My guess is that it can be produced and sold for even less than half. Let’s be fair about it.

  40. Jill Fehrenbacher Jill August 20, 2006 at 6:29 pm

    Thanks Lloyd for a great comment… I was going to try to draft something like this myself, but you beat me to it….

    People, please remember that cost is important, but VALUE for your money is even more important. Cost per square foot shouldn’t really be the only issue being discussed here: what about the fact that you get a beautifully made, environmentally friendly, transportable little house for under 150K – much cheaper than most site built houses – and most prefabs!

  41. Lloyd August 20, 2006 at 2:50 pm

    I always get depressed when I hear the “price per square foot” argument applied to small projects- that is why so many people buy monster houses, they seem cheap. It doesn’t matter that every LED bulb in the MiniHome costs 50 bucks but uses almost no energy; that there are dual electrical systems, tanks for waste and water, that every single material is chosen for sustainability and health, and that it took three days to hand-rub the beeswax finishes instead of 10 minutes spraying with urethane; that the price includes solar panels, wind turbines, heat recovery ventilators, appliances and furniture; that the dimensions have been chosen after careful study of legal restrictions on housing so that it is not subject to all the rules and restrictions that limit modular housing by state or keep out HUD code housing; That it is purposely designed to be as small as it can be and still be really comfortable because we shouldn’t use more resources that we need, and the smaller something is, the less energy needed to heat, cool and operate; (costs are in the systems- increasing size would have negligible impact on the final cost and huge impact on the price per square foot, but that doesn’t mean we should); that every cheap alternative listed in the comments rely on an existing subsidized infrastructure of services where this needs nothing; all that matters is that it is too expensive. Sigh.

  42. majchers August 20, 2006 at 1:21 am

    I agree. Some of these “cost effective” and “economic” projects are out of this world. They seem to be a product of spoiled millionaires. It’s like I will not drive my Bentley today and will take my Rolce Royce instead. Ha! ha!

  43. Meeo Mie August 19, 2006 at 10:26 pm

    I love the idea and the design, but the FAQ’s advise that the purchase price is $145,000 CAD, which is $130,000 US. The project is roughly 288 sf. That means it costs $452 per square foot. You’ve got to be greener than green to buy into that.

  44. Lorenzo II August 19, 2006 at 3:21 pm

    With $104K on hand. Here in the Philippines, I could build a three storey reinforced concrete building at a 2,500 sq. ft. floor area per level. ;-) Judging from the pictures above, I could build it here at around $15-20K…. Maybe western countries should outsource these pre-fab small homes to 3rd world countries like ours. As I can see, all components could be shipped in a container van.

  45. Richie August 19, 2006 at 8:53 am

    At $104,000.00 to $163,000.00 per home… this mini-home is not only too narrow, at less than 8′ wide… it’s D.O.A. Yeah, it’s a nice effort… but it is too damn expensive for what it offers. In case anyone hadn’t noticed, the US Housing market is softly deflating. It’s time to create great designs that are really inexpensive. this effort doesn’t come close to hitting that mark. If it was half the price, it might find some takers.

    it is so narrow and tightly packed… that it’s residents will undoutedly start ‘banging their heads against the walls’ soon after inhabiting these houses full time !

    Look… you could erect a 15′ wide by 32′ long, 20′ high steel reinforced concrete block ‘shell’ for not much money. Then build a partial interior mezzanine (2nd floor) out of wood or prefab metal industrial mezzanine parts. Put the bedrooms up on the mezzanine… while the kitchen, bath, utility room & double height living room occupies the 1st floor. This might be doable for about $50,000.00. (My neighbor did this for less.) Given the reality of creating a double height concrete block dwelling, that has 2 bedrooms for so much less money… how can this ‘mini-home’ even compete, let alone compare ? Oh that’s right… the ‘mini-home’ can be moved with a police escort ! But who cares ? If you want to really be mobile… get a real RV. It can move itself.

    Wider… roomier… less expensive !

    Richie K

  46. PK August 18, 2006 at 2:09 pm

    I like your style! Nice find…with that Canadian URL, I’m wondering how easy it would be to get something like that in Texas. I’m gonna check the website…thanks!

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