The Slip House Features A Rainwater Harvesting Tank
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The Slip House, by Carl Turner Architects, offers a potential template for affordable, sustainable family homes in the UK. Slotted between a row of terraced Container House in London, the residence also rests on a brownfield site, formerly used for industrial or commercial purposes. Its unusual form consists of three slipped orthogonal box shapes.

The Slip House features a rainwater harvesting tank, solar panels, mechanical ventilation, triple glazing, and a high level of insulation – all of which saves up to 1092.73 kg (1.2 ton) of CO2 per year, according to the designers. Carl Turner Architects is using the home as a prototype for in-house research, hoping to refine its ideas for producing affordable and sustainable family homes.

Are prefabricated homes, which are constructed at least partially offsite, really more eco-friendly than stick-built homes? How do costs compare? If you’re wondering if a prefabricated home is right for you, or if you’re just curious, these 10 need-to-know facts about prefabs will get you up to speed.

Prefabricated homes are not a new idea. Although they’ve been getting buzz in this decade, the truth is that prefab homes have been around in various forms since at least 1908, when Sears began selling kit houses. Shipped out to the homeowner by rail, the components of the home and plans were then used by local builders — or handy homeowners — to build the house onsite.

There are two types of prefabricated homes: flat pack and modular. Modular homes are built almost entirely in a factory and shipped complete with windows, doors and interior finishes in place. The modular pieces are then fitted onto a foundation at the building site. For a flat-pack home, all of the necessary pieces are prepared and shipped unassembled — think Ikea but for a house.

Architectural design firm Fabrica718 added a new rear facade, an additional story, a roof terrace, and an art studio to the house. Sustainable technology installed includes two solar thermal panels for hot water needs, and solar PV panels, which reduce grid-based electricity requirements. As the Modified Shipping Container Home is almost air-tight, a highly-efficient heat recovery ventilation system (HRV) is always running to provide plenty of fresh air.

Prefab homes can be custom made. If you thought that going the prefabricated route meant sticking with a limited range of choices, think again. Depending on the firm, you can have much of the same control over design choices that you would get in a custom stick build. Blair Porteous of sagemodern says, “All of our Modified Shipping Container Home are custom prefab, so our homes are designed to meet the client’s program, and to take advantage of the existing site conditions, like views, trees and sun orientation.”


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