Energy Efficient House Plans

Posted by in Alternative & Eco-Living, Articles | 7 comments

Wieler Starter Rapson Home

Wieler Starter Rapson Greenbelt Home, I could live in this.

To quench my continuing curiosity with small house options, I’ve done extensive research on small, energy efficient, house plans. Since it’s very possible that my husband and I might end up buying land first, living on it in a tent, then building a home, I’ve had to get a little creative in what kinds of plans we could build quickly and inexpensively. Prefabs seem to be the best option, whether we go with pre-cut materials, or a prefab kit. Not only do they get built quicker than traditional construction, we can add energy efficient add-ons to them.

I found a great website with lots of links to prefab options called Jetson Green. It’s basically a blog about green building. Not only does it post information about green communities popping up, it also has lots of resources like books and links. I searched many of his copious links and found a few prefab sites I’d never come across before that were really helpful in deciding if it’s worth building a prefab house. Three that I think are worth mentioning are below:

  • weeHouse by Alchemy Architects: I’ve heard of these guys before, but I think they’ve revised their website and made it easier to view samples. They have lots of examples of actual homes they’ve built. They are quite modern in design, but I like their variety. They also have a sample pricing guide that describes the three main expenses: Land+ weeHouse + Site work. I didn’t know about the site work pricing before seeing their diagram, so this at least gives me a ball park figure.
  • Zamore Homes: This site is completely new to me. I don’t necessarily like their house plans, but their pricing over view is pretty detailed. I would think I could use this as a guide to any build-from-scratch model.
  • Wieler: I like that they offer a “starter” home that can be expanded upon. They don’t offer concrete pricing, just an overview of how most square footage pricing breaks down. However, if their starter home is reasonable, it might be a great option. Again, I like the modern look of these prefabs. They remind me of the modern homes built by Wright and Eichler of the 1950’s and ’60’s.

Next, I think I’ll look into tiny trailers or sheds that my husband and I might be able to live in temporarily while building a house (or waiting to build a house) on land that we buy. We’ve already called Tuff Shed, they seem like they might have a few models we could set up shop in while we “rough it.” I’m just not sure how the cats would like it!


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    My sister lives in a condo with solar panels, she actually ends up making a bit of money over the entire year by selling the extra energy back to her electric company.

    I did find this project a while back where everything in the house is built to be highly energy efficient. With an estimated annual bill of $500. It’s a pretty neat idea.

    • Little House – Thanks for the link! It’s really interesting. I love the “green” roof. Also, I’ve heard about selling unused energy back to the power company,what a great idea and way to save! Thanks for visiting!

  2. Betsy G.

    Exactly! Thank you for picking up on our revised Web site. We just ‘launched’ it on Jan. 6th, and haven’t even had a minute to get a weeMail out on it! So, so happy to see that you picked up on what we think is VERY important for anyone considering building a house to know: LAND + STRUCTURE + SITE COSTS (structure=weeHouse). For the past year, if a ‘wee’ hasn’t been built, it’s been due to site costs, not structure costs. And that makes us very sad. But, we know the market is turning around, we are hoping to see more urban, in-fill developers using the weeHouse as a solution so “wee” remains optimistic. Thank you for the ‘shout-out’ … it’s very much appreciated.

    • Little House

      @Betsy G – Thanks so much for stopping by! I love the weeHouses. I can see where building would get delayed because site costs can be more expensive than the actual structure. I do hope to see more builders using weeHouses, I’d love to tour one. Thanks again!

  3. Mrs. Money

    I am totally lusting for a tiny house. The next house we buy will be even smaller than what we have now (about 1500 square feet). I know people will think we’re crazy but I don’t care! 🙂
    .-= Mrs. Money´s last blog ..Considering Adoption =-.

  4. Larry

    Hi, they have some great web sites listed.some cool designs.
    we have a web site we have been working on has some tiny homes designs.
    lots of information links to different blogs I also have a blog I’m working may find a design you like.
    its a web site I can feature some of my designs and also it keeps me busy and out of my wife’s way. great site little house in the valley


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