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manufactured homes are energy efficient

Ever since the early days of mobile homes, housing that is built off-site has made vast improvements in energy efficiency. In fact, with a modern day manufactured home you’ll find the energy efficiency to be on par or even better than some site built homes.

These improvements in energy efficiency are due to standards enforced by the federal government, changes in how homes are built, and the equipment used for heating and cooling. With those government guidelines and high quality building materials, each home provides its owners with a comfortable, cost-effective place to live.

Currently over 20 million U.S. residents live in a manufactured home making up about 6% of the country’s homes. This gives manufactured homes a great influence on energy use across America and is why they are held to such high standards, as covered below.

Government Standards for Energy Efficiency

Every manufactured home built after 1976 is held to standards established by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. These standards cover many aspects of how manufactured homes are built and seek to assure the quality, durability, safety, and affordability of manufactured homes to their homeowners and renters.

Also included in these standards, referred to as the HUD Standards, are specific rules around Thermal Protection, meaning heat loss and gain, cooling effectiveness, and condensation control. All of these aspects work to make sure every manufactured home is as energy efficient as possible. A few examples of rules within the HUD Standards include -

  • The manufactured home’s heat loss or gain must fall within an acceptable range and is based on the heating equipments ability to maintain a temperature of 70 degrees fahrenheit, without producing excess heat on it’s own. As heating equipment increases in temperature, it becomes more inefficient as that heat escapes into the atmosphere versus your home.   

  • All manufactured homes are required to have thermal insulation in the ceilings and cavities in exterior walls and the floor to ensure uniform heat transmission.

  • The materials used for insulation must be proven effective and durable to assure their ability to comply with limitations on home heating and cooling

Once the home passes HUD standards, which it cannot be sold without doing so, certificates are issued for both Heat Loss and Comfort Cooling. Both of these certificates show that the home complies with the standards set forth by the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Looking to the future, the U.S. Department of Energy is moving forward with proposing even higher standards for energy efficiency for manufactured homes. Under these new standards, manufactured homes purchased between 2017 and 2046 could cut energy use by up to 30% over a 30 year lifetime. This could save homeowners $4,000 in energy costs while also preventing 18.1 million tons of carbon dioxide from being produced due to electricity consumption.

The changes focus on the materials used for construction as well as stricter limitations on a homes ability to keep heat in during the winter and maintain a cooler temperature in the summer.

Energy Star Certification

Outside of mandatory government regulation, there is also the Energy Star standard for manufactured homes. Energy Star is a voluntary program established through the Environmental Protection Agency with the goal of helping individuals save money through superior energy efficiency.

For a manufactured home to be Energy Star certified, it is required to be substantially more energy efficient than a comparable standard code home. The requirements include the thermal envelope of the home as well as the estimate of total energy for heating, cooling, and water heating.

Energy Star certification begins the moment a home is being built. At the manufacturing plant, a third-party inspection agency is used to make sure the home is being built to the standards outlined by Energy Star with a specific focus on the duct systems during this phase.

Once the home is built and ready for move-in, it must go through a review that follows the Installation Checklist. Any items that are non-compliant are fixed on-site and once the home is approved, the documentation is signed by a certified representative.

Benefits for Homeowners

Purchasing a manufactured home will allow you to live comfortably in a home that uses less energy and is more efficient with its cooling and heating. Because of this, you’ll experience:

Greater Comfort - By utilizing insulation and minimizing drafts, your home will be more comfortable, with more consistent temperature between rooms

Lower Energy Expenses - an energy efficient home will save you money on heating and cooling costs by using less electricity to maintain a comfortable temperature year round.

Government Support - All manufactured homes must follow the strict HUD standards and some manufacturers take it a step further with Energy Star certification. Both provide government backed support at the federal level, unlike site built homes that only need to follow local government guidelines.

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