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Would You Build a Bentley in Your Backyard?

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That’s how Alexander Kolbe of HUF HAUS forthrightly justifies the factory-built houses the luxury building company has made since 1910. And it makes perfect sense.

While here in America, the Prefab movement seems to be forever teetering on the brink of extinction, in Europe, it thrives. More homes are built in factories there.  HUF HAUS is one such prefab company from Germany that builds modular post and beam homes.
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They have built 10,000 of their modular houses. Of course it is much easier on the environment to build houses in factories. There’s less waste, it takes less energy, etc.
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But the HUF HAUS post and beam houses are not only easy to erect and spacious, and high tech, but they are also highly energy efficient once built too, because all the structural wood panels are fitted with a highly efficient heat insulation layer.
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Their post and beam construction is part of the extreme energy efficiency, because it reduces the thermal bridges that can transfer cold into a home.
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As well as mass producing the construction side of home building, they also partner with several appliance and interior design companies so that the interiors are just as beautifully thought out as the “bones” of the home.
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Everything from baths, sinks, faucets, refrigerators, cooktops and cabinetry is coordinated at the factory to be part of a black, gray or white post and beam home. It all works together.
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Solar electricity can be provided from building-integrated solar roof tiles.
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Despite the modular building style, there are many options. Roofs can be a simple gable, or split. Roofing can be tile or solar.
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A variety of color schemes is available for interior finishes. Once chosen the selected color story is coordinated throughout the entire home, in and out.
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Radiant heating is in every floor, run off a separate hot water system from the hot water for washing, so that it can be shut down in summer when it is not needed.
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The principle of the air source heat pump is just as simple as it is ingenious. The heat pump uses the natural warmth in the surrounding air. This warmth is extracted from the air, raised to a higher temperature through compression and then fed into the heating system.
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Regardless of interior choices, PassiveHaus-like levels of air-tightness keeps the warmth in in all these modular homes. But the air tight rooms are healthy, because they are ventilated by warming fresh incoming air using a highly efficient cross flow heat exchanger that extracts heat from the outgoing stale air.

Positively Bentley-like!

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7 Comments so far to “Would You Build a Bentley in Your Backyard?”
  1. mydivabydesign - The Diva's Home Says:

    I find it interesting that all the articles written about solar energy leave out the fact that it has to be supplemented with other types of energy sources.

  2. Frank Hanlan Says:

    I am surprised that you did not use U.S. builder Bensonwood as your example. Their OBPLusWall won a top 10 build product award from BuildingGreen.com . Andrew Dey from Bensonwood also did an interesting article in Fine Home Building Magazine's Oct/Nov 2006 issue about the open building system. In the same article Tedd Benson did a brief history of how he got started on the open building concept when discovered a book by John Habraken, a dutch architect, who became head of MIT's Architecture department.

  3. Susan Kraemer Says:

    Hi Chris, no it doesn't, actually. I have worked in solar estimating for SunRun, and you are mistaken. For typical city or suburban solar systems with an electrical grid in place, extra solar power can be stored on the grid and returned as needed.

    It is simply a matter of sizing the system to make the same amount of power as you use now, over a year. Then what you ship to the grid in the daytime needs to be enough so you get credited back for what you use during the night. Just a matter of calculating the yearly needs, and making that much. (The same way that although you only earn money Monday to Friday, you still have some to spend on Sunday)

    There are large utility-scale solar projects being built now, which can make enough power to run thousands of houses, but certainly if you have a roof or some land space exposed to sun, you can make solar to run all your electric needs.

    We put in a (18 panels) 3.15 KW system this year, we actually didn't have enough space to zero out our use, (ours is sized to eliminate our most expensive kwh. In CA we get charged more for high use). Our bill went from $130 before solar to $9 after the solar. But if we had built our home with a different roof orientation, we could have zeroed out our use entirely, it would have taken about a 4KW system.

  4. 18 GW of Midsize German Solar Installations Due to Feed-in Tariffs – CleanTechnica: Cleantech innovation news and views Says:

    [...] roof of this house from the German prefab company  Huf Haus has been maximized for a 30 KW to 40KW system, to make some serious money by selling power off the [...]

  5. 1.8 GW of Midsize German Solar Installations Due to Feed Says:

    [...] roof of this house from the German prefab company Huf Haus has been maximized for a 30 KW to 40KW system, to make some serious money by selling power off the [...]

  6. Massive PassivHaus Makes Thick Walls a Feature | talkinteriors.co.uk Says:

    [...] the German Huf Haus, chic, large, solar-powered, and adhering to passivhaus design,  this generous and straightforward [...]

  7. Massive PassivHaus Makes Thick Walls a Feature | CENBU (tm) 胜浦 (tm) Says:

    [...] as the family’s needs change, reducing the need to move, which reduces waste generation.Like the German Huf Haus, chic, large, solar-powered, and adhering to passivhaus design,  this generous and straightforward [...]

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