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.
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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 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.
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 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.
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.
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.