If the phrase prefab home doesn’t conjure up images of health and serenity, there’s a reason for that. In Europe, manufactured housing can be a luxury product, but in the US, the concept has taken a long time to shake the stigma of association with low-cost homogeneity. However, the tides may be turning as a new generation of designers explores the possibilities of prefab. This time around, the appeal isn’t just price point—it’s also wellness.
High-end prefab home builder Dvele just got a little more high-tech—and eco-conscious. The San Diego-based company, which is known for its luxury prefab designs, announced this week that it would start exclusively building fully self-powered homes going forward.
Since its founding in 2017, Dvele has branded itself as a sustainable option in the prefab space, but its new initiative takes it a step further with homes that run entirely on solar power and stored energy. Dvele’s models are similar to other eco-minded prefab homes in that a major focus is to limit the amount of wasted energy produced in the first place.
To do that, Dvele developed a new building envelope with a thermal barrier that ensures any heating or cooling produced in the house stays in the house. The company claims its homes utilize 84 percent less energy per square foot to operate than a traditionally built home, which means running totally on solar power is actually achievable. All new Dvele homes will come with solar panels plus a backup battery system to hold any extra energy generated.
Off-grid capability is a way for Dvele to distinguish itself in the increasingly crowded prefab industry—and to get ahead of local regulations. California, no stranger to mass power outages, passed a state building code in 2018 that requires all new homes from 2020 onward to have rooftop solar, the first rule of its kind in the country.