Thursday, June 25, 2020

A Second Look at an Important Topic

A follow-up to my previous article: “Everyone” May Not Want an Energy Efficient Home

To Jason, Harris and all those who posted Anonymous Comments:

What I wrote was not intended to disparage the science of a healthy new home and the factories and builders that are on the leading edge of building science.

Actually, I should have elaborated more on what I’ve noticed over the past 3 months in regards to all the on-line conferences, webinars and live feeds which is why I wrote the article in the first place.

I’m not sure how many of those events have taken place over the past three months but it’s at least a four-fold increase. The proliferation of them, especially in home building, has seen many experts explaining in great detail how the construction industry, especially modular, needs to adapt to all the new ways to build energy efficiency, air quality and improved air infiltration into new homes.

Some of these experts, and I’ve watched about 30 of them so far this year, try to convince us to build more into the single family home to improve it. Everything from improved ways to stop COVID-19 from entering our homes by installing clean entrances with two doorways to not having windows that open at all allowing the house ventilation system teamed with energy efficient HVAC to be the only source of air to even the hiring of specialists to make final sweeps through new homes to seal every single access point.

All of these experts forget that actual people would have to pay for their home improvement ideas. Sometimes in the thousands of dollars. 

That is why I wrote the article about “Everyone” not wanting all those things. 

We can build super efficient homes with clean entrances and even clean “work from home cocoons” which one expert said should happen but we will have successfully priced these homes out of the affordable market.

To all those modular factories and builders that have chosen to be leaders in building science adaptations, I salute you for your work to make a better home for your customers.

However, the “everyone” market simply may not be able to afford one of your homes.


  1. Finally I understand what you were trying to say. Let me try to summarize in one sentence what I think you want to get across to everyone.

    "There are too many experts with possibly too many useless and expensive opinions of what is the best way for new home construction just so they can promote themselves on every COVID 19 online show and get people to hire them as consultants."

    Now that I can agree with. Too bad some of those ideas will end up costing many folks their chance to own a house they can afford.

    That's the reason the manufactured home people are promoting themselves more than ever as the affordable alternative with Cross Mods. Let the experts kill the site and modular affordable housing market, the HUD folks will be happy to build people affordable houses.

  2. Let's not forget that just 61% of the cost of the home is the construction itself. We're living a regulatory nightmare right now. As MHBA, NAHB and every other local BIA will tell you, we need to keep our powder dry for the other 39%,to%20marketing%20costs%2C%20leaving%209.1

  3. The Market drives Price, and the builder creates Value and they must coincide with the Median Sales Price of a well defined market. Not as easy as one may think, its a very objective process drive by well defined data collection standards and not subjective or opinion based in determination. Cost is only an issue in the absence of Value. However, the ROI on certain value elements fail to support their cost when adding in energy efficiency of the highest measure.

    As such the balance between, the actual cost of construction itself when coupled with regulatory cost plus the higher market prices on Land leave little room for building science R & D where energy loss is concerned.

    The bottom line is the market will drive the price points by which people are willing to buy which fluctuate greatly in varying markets so trying to measure a moving ship is going to be difficult at best for a single industry.

    Many Modular Companies are already doing better than Site Built, for example 2 x 6 exteriors are the norm in modular where they are the exception in site built. The one major area I believe that Modular needs to improve upon is HVAC being located within controlled spaces and the SEER ratings be brought above the the minimum to complement the R19 walls and up to R30 floors in many models.

    The question is are HUD Manufactured Homes really affordable to those most in need because when quality - aka workmanship which is not in the code suffers to meet a price point or market segment that's equivalent to leading the blind off a cliff with no parachute and we are all better than that.

    Education is the key to ensure that those most in need understand the draw backs of solely focusing on PRICE AND NOT VALUE especially long term which includes energy efficiency. This is addition to altering over burdensome regulatory elements added to financial plans to meet the needs of those requiring Affordable Housing. Nobody is going to pay a higher price if they don't understand what they are getting for their squeezed dollar.