Sustainable Building the 17th Century Way: Kit Homes
An unusual kit home company out of Vermont makes an unusual kind of prefab. Conner Homes makes period replicas with the exquisite detailing and classic building proportions of historical architecture, delivered in highly sustainable kit form, at a cost that is relatively affordable.
The parts in their kits are not like the cheap (but delightful!) kit furniture that you must somehow mash together at home from IKEA. They comprise already carefully milled custom woodworking details that have been produced in a state of the art manufacturing process at their Vermont factory.
Because their designers have degrees not just in architecture, but in architectural history and historic preservation, the scrupulously accurate period detail really is convincing and well thought through.
They are able to deliver almost custom homes that they can adapt to flow as graciously in solving the individual design problems of today’s families, but as if the solutions came from the architects of the time.
Like with all prefab companies, the pieces are manufactured in a warm dry factory in Vermont, where accuracy and care become routine.
In the colonies especially, houses were frequently delivered in kit form. Not because it was green and sustainable. Few concerned themselves with such matters in past centuries.
But that is the effect. Manufacturing in a factory leaves far less waste material than is found in site-built construction.
This not only saves material from the landfill, but it is also more energy-efficient to deliver a complete house to a site in one trip, rather than to have the constant trips to the lumber yards and hardware stores that are needed for site built houses that are put together over a period of months.
The company also uses the materials and doors and windows that qualify the homes for energy star rated programs and LEED Certification in their local areas, and bring to bear architectural decisions for the homeowner on solar orientation and site development for the house, that reduce energy use.
Sizes range from the historic tiny and green cottage at 500 square feet to one at 5,000 square feet. These are a different kind of factory-built house: sustainable kit homes made the old-fashioned way.