6 Eco-Minded Prefab Companies in Seattle
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6 Eco-Minded Prefab Companies in Seattle

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By Lucy Wang
As an environmental leader, Seattle is a hotspot for sustainable prefab home companies.

Last month, Seattle proposed new legislation to make it easier than ever for homeowners to build accessory dwelling units (ADUs)—a big step forward in potentially making the the city a more affordable and sustainable place to live. The new reforms reflect the increasing demand and production of ADUs, a significant portion of which are prefabricated to minimize waste, achieve high energy performance, and provide for quick assembly on-site. In light of the sustainable growth in the Emerald City, we’re rounding up six eco-friendly Seattle prefab companies producing everything from low-impact backyard cottages to larger off-grid homes.

FabCab

A custom 1,527-square-foot FabCab with an attached garage built in Cle Elum, Washington.

A custom 1,527-square-foot FabCab with an attached garage built in Cle Elum, Washington.

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Since their debut at the 2010 Seattle Home Show, architecture firm FabCab—short for "fabulous cabin"—has earned a steady fan following and AIA awards for their sustainable and contemporary prefab designs. All of their pre-designed and custom homes, which range in size from less than 600 square feet to over 1,000 square feet, incorporate Universal Design principles; structural insulated panels (SIPs) for energy efficiency; and a variety of green materials, finishes, and fixtures. The company currently offers two series of shed-roofed homes: TimberCab homes constructed with Douglas fir timber frame covered with SIPs, and the ModCab homes built with SIPs only.

Method Homes

Method Homes’ Method Cabin is one of their most popular models. Designed by Prentiss + Balance + Wickline Architects, this customizable prefab series ranges from 1,200 to 2,800 square feet.

Method Homes’ Method Cabin is one of their most popular models. Designed by Prentiss + Balance + Wickline Architects, this customizable prefab series ranges from 1,200 to 2,800 square feet.

Method Homes is a popular name at Dwell—the prefab builder has exhibited their custom homes at multiple Dwell on Design events. Founded in 2007, the company offers high-end, custom prefabs as well as pre-designed home models available in seven different styles ranging from the Cabin Series designed by Prentiss + Balance + Wickline Architects to the Passivhaus-capable Paradigm Series created in collaboration with Bogue Trondowski Architects. Sustainability is a core value at Method Homes as evidenced in their work designed to meet leading environmental certifications and use of energy-efficient systems and products.

Stillwater Dwellings

Manufactured in Utah and installed on site in six weeks, this 1,100-square-foot Stillwater prefab home was craned into place over an existing barn in Napa, California.

Manufactured in Utah and installed on site in six weeks, this 1,100-square-foot Stillwater prefab home was craned into place over an existing barn in Napa, California.

Founded in 2008, Stillwater Dwellings built their reputation on creating luxury modern prefabs with a major focus on sustainability. Their design process typically begins with a site-specific study that informs the customization of a base model design, created by their LEED-certified architects, to the clients’ specifications and site conditions. Every Stillwater home uses prefabricated panels made from manufactured timber for an airtight envelope that’s complemented with recycled materials, low-VOC paints, and solar power-capability.

NODE

This one-bedroom NODE prefab slots perfectly into a Seattle backyard and produces all of its own energy—with enough energy leftover to power the neighboring house.

This one-bedroom NODE prefab slots perfectly into a Seattle backyard and produces all of its own energy—with enough energy leftover to power the neighboring house.

NODE is a relatively new Seattle–based startup dedicated to creating affordable carbon-negative prefab homes. Taking cues from Scandinavian design, the energy-efficient homes are modern, minimalist, and dressed in natural materials. Solar panels and micro-wind generators are optional add-ons. NODE currently offers one housing type—the shed-roofed Trillium, available in a range of sizes—with three more housing models in the works.

HyBrid Architecture 

Known as the "project that kicked off Cargotecture," Hybrid’s Studio 320 was fabricated in 2004 and delivered to Enumclaw, Washington. The interior is lined in reclaimed plywood formerly used on the bleachers of a local high school gym.

Known as the "project that kicked off Cargotecture," Hybrid’s Studio 320 was fabricated in 2004 and delivered to Enumclaw, Washington. The interior is lined in reclaimed plywood formerly used on the bleachers of a local high school gym.

Credited with coining the term "cargotecture" to describe shipping container modular buildings, HyBrid Architecture has been a long-time proponent of socially and environmentally responsible prefab projects. The full-service architecture firm has not only delivered energy-conscious prefab buildings all along the West Coast, but is also a regular host for community events that stimulate conversations on how to make Seattle a more sustainable and socially engaged place to live.

Greenfab 

Greenfab’s recently built CleverHomes-designed custom prefab in El Granada, CA features a four-bedroom man house and an attached accessory dwelling unit.

Greenfab’s recently built CleverHomes-designed custom prefab in El Granada, CA features a four-bedroom man house and an attached accessory dwelling unit.

As the creators of Washington’s first LEED Platinum-certified modular home, Greenfab has a proven track record for producing healthy and sustainable houses. The full-service firm offers a wide variety of pre-designed home types—from off-the-grid cabins to four-bedroom homes—as well as custom homes that include a Net Zero - Health Positive model. All Greenfab homes can also be upgraded with sustainability features including net-zero energy technology, rainwater collection, a green roof, and more. Moreover, the company offers to complete and submit documentation to verify that a home meets third-party certification standards such as LEED and Living Building Challenge.

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