Gone are the days when manufactured homes were perceived as unpolished and unsustainable. Construction and design advancements over the years have made manufactured homes more modern and energy-efficient than ever. Besides high-quality interior fittings, innovative manufactured homes also come with enhanced energy performance options just like site-built homes. If you are already a manufactured homeowner, there might also be ways to remodel or retrofit with renewable energy equipment to improve energy efficiency in your manufactured home.
Energy-Efficient Retrofit Measures for Manufactured Homes
Experiments conducted on pre-1976 manufactured homes have shown that retrofit measures support an impressive 31% savings in heating fuel usage. Below are several energy efficiency improvements that can significantly reduce heat loss in manufactured homes:
- Add insulation to the belly
- Install energy-efficient doors and windows
- Add insulation to the walls
- Make general repairs like maintenance of ducts, caulking and others
- Install insulated skirting
- Add insulation to the roof and install a roof cap
- Install a belly wrap
There are three common methods to add roof insulation to an existing cavity which are as follows:
- Drilling and tube blowing from the top
- Drilling and tube blowing from the inside
- Rolling back the roof and blowing into the new open cavity
Some installers may make use of roof caps instead of filling the existing cavity for insulating.
Renewable Energy Applications for Manufactured Homes
Renewable energy lets you provide heating, electricity and cooling for your manufactured home. Renewable energy helps you to lower your energy costs while also reducing pollution from fossil fuels. Below are some methods you can consider:
- Add a sunspace to use the passive solar design before orienting the home to maximize solar exposure and using shading devices.
- Install a geothermal heat pump that can provide space cooling and heating. Geothermal heat pumps cannot be moved so they will work for permanent manufactured home sites.
- Install solar electric or photovoltaic systems which can be installed on the roof as they are lightweight.
- Investigate solar water heating. Some manufactured homes have lightweight roofs which may not support heavy solar collectors. You need to make use of lightweight roof-mounted air collectors or install heavier liquid-type solar collectors on the ground.
- Install a micro hydropower system that can produce electricity if your manufactured home has access to flowing water. A hydropower resource cannot be taken away so it is recommended for permanent manufactured home sites.
- Install a small wind electric system that can produce electricity if your manufactured home is located within a rural area with at least one acre of land.
HUD Code Requirements for Manufactured Homes
All manufactured homes need to comply with the HUD code or the Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards instead of local building codes. Each transportable section also needs to display a red certification label on its exterior. The HUD code is a set of industry standards for manufactured homes that are published and maintained by HUD, establishing standards for design and construction, durability and strength, energy efficiency, fire resistance, quality control and transportability. The HUD code also sets performance standards for the air conditioning and heating, thermal, plumbing and electrical systems.