I have to make a confession… I’ve been having an affair with Prefab for almost two years now.  I’ve tried to keep it a secret but no longer have the power….

Michelle Kaufmann Designs is a powerhouse in the Prefab scene.  With an extensive line of home design options, Kaufmann has been featured in virtually every progressive design publication to date.  Her Sunset Breezehouse and Glidehouse are the two most popular options, each packed with green goodies.  Pictured below is the Breezehouse.

Each home features passive design technologies, such as solar orientation, natural breezeways and passive solar heating.  Also included in each project (which is relatively uncommon in the prefab world) are eco-friendly finishes like FSC-Certified woods, low-VOC paints, fiber cement siding and bamboo flooring.

If you don’t know much about prefab construction, I highly recommend you educate yourself.  The basic gist of it is that construction takes place in a factory off-site, where variables are much more controlled and efficient.  They are then shipped to the site and installed on a site-built foundation in a matter of days.  Prefab in theory increases quality, reduces waste and saves time.  Michelle Kaufmann tested this theory herself years ago, having a face-off of a tradition built home vs. a preconstructed home.  She designed her first Glidehouse for a client and had it built on site.  She then created the exact same home for herself, this time assembled in a factory.  The results took her by surprise…. she found that the prefab constructed home was more cost effective and took months less to complete.  This experiment was the yeast to her bread, motivating her to offer quality, energy efficient sustainable prefab homes to the masses… Giddy up, Michelle….you are well on your way to taking over the world!

Here’s a pic of the Glidehouse, complete with PV panels.

A great resource to everything prefab is Fabprefab.com.  Check it out to see all sorts of different examples around the globe.  You’ll be surprised… there are a lot of options out there that are quite affordable.


About Joshua Foss

Joshua is a leading voice for transformational change. He is the editor of Metro Hippie, co-founder and director of development of the Ecala Group, and adjunct faculty at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. He is also an ambassador for the Living Building Challenge and is a frequent speaker at national conferences, trade shows and summits.