Prefabricated houses: the new trend in sustainable architecture

Victor Navarro

October 26, 2022
prefabricated house

Prefabricated homes gaining ground in the real estate market

Since the pandemic, the commitment to prefabricated houses has continued to grow. These houses are built by combining different prefabricated modules that are assembled in the factory before being moved to the final location. Many consider them as a necessary alternative for the real estate market. This is because these architectural models considerably reduce construction times and are more sustainable, having a lower environmental impact.

The time it takes to build a prefabricated house is between three and nine months. This makes its cost much lower, since the amount of labor is drastically reduced, and is reduced by more than 30%. Regarding their relationship with the environment, they are houses that consume very little water, light and energy. But their greatest advantage over traditional construction and architecture is based on recycling: These houses are designed so that the materials with which they have been built can be reused once the useful life of the construction is over.

What materials are used to build prefabricated houses?

To reduce the carbon footprint of the sector, prefabricated houses use sustainable materials in order to be more efficient and save energy easily. These materials are:

  • Concrete
  • Wood
  • Steel
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The most popular option is the prefabricated concrete house.

Concrete is one of the most widely used materials for the construction of prefabricated houses. It is chosen ahead of other materials because of its long durability, high fire resistance and good acoustic insulation. With this material, modern designs can be made that can last up to 60 years without having to make any repairs. One of its major disadvantages is that it does not provide good thermal insulation, and this sometimes makes it necessary to include materials to solve this problem, such as aluminum.

But undoubtedly the main disadvantage, which can be applied to all materials, is the difficulty in finding any financing. Banks willing to offer a mortgage loan for a prefabricated house are very limited, because they are still considered as movable property and would only offer a loan for use instead of a mortgage.

Wood is the most sustainable option for a prefabricated house

Wood has positioned itself as the best material to take care of the environment. They are houses with a zero carbon footprint, and with a lower weight. This is because wood is a lighter material than its competitors. Besides, it is an insulating material that allows to maintain a constant temperature inside the house throughout the year and thus save energy.

The main disadvantage of using wood for this type of construction is its maintenance. Wood is a material that can be found directly in nature, and therefore it is necessary to monitor possible pests or fungi that can damage the structure.

Steel is another great alternative for a prefabricated house

Steel is also considered a great building material for prefabricated houses. It is chosen for its high resistance to corrosion and fire, its good thermal and acoustic insulation capacity, its extreme hardness and its resistance to earthquakes. Its main disadvantage is its price. To use this material requires the use of more expensive parts, which means that it loses one of its competitive advantages over traditional construction. In addition, it is not a great thermal insulator, and must be used together with other materials to improve energy efficiency.

Sustainable architecture is here to stay

In recent years, this type of architecture has made its way as a response to the global trend against climate change with a society more aware of the environment and sustainability. Its basis is to construct buildings that minimize their carbon footprint by optimizing natural resources. And another important point is its life cycle: sustainable architecture is concerned about the future use of materials for the construction of infrastructures. 


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