Living in a mobile or manufactured home is a great choice. Not only do you have a smaller footprint on the planet by not building a large, energy hog of a stick-built home, but you also learn to live more simply, accumulating less “stuff” (as you have less space to put it in!). Living in these small spaces is a challenge, however, they require less energy to heat and cool if you keep them reasonably well insulated.
We have made so many updates to our home since we moved into our 1994 Fairmont double wide home. Each change we make we do with an eye toward efficiency, sustainability, or our future needs (as seniors!). We are always forward thinking in this regard because we would rather pay for these things now than have a need for them spring up later on in our lives when we are just trying to use our retirement to relax and enjoy ourselves…not spend lots of money on home improvements!
We purchased Thermopane Vinyl Windows that are no maintenance, screened windows that are well insulated and energy efficient. They boast a Low-E rating to decrease heat loss by 70% and they tilt out for easy cleaning. We installed them ourselves, which, seven years ago, was much easier to do. It was a big job but pretty straight forward and easy to plan and complete.
Heating has always been expensive for us with a propane furnace. My dream set up would be to heat with electric baseboard and install solar panels to power them. But, alas, that is a ways down the road if ever. So, we purchased an American Harvester wood pellet stove from US Stove Company. Our model is a multi-fuel stove, meaning it can burn corn, wood pellets, or cherry pits. This stove paid for itself in the first year nearly twice over in propane fuel savings. Our heating went from $2400 a year to $700 a year. Pellets are cheap and with a military discount at Lowes or Home Depot, an additional 10% off helps too. (Do you know that if you have a military ID, you can receive 10% off your purchases at these stores? If you do a lot of home improvements…it’s a great benefit!)
A new roof was a recent improvement we made and we already noticed a difference in heat retention this Winter.
While all of these improvements feel terrific, nowadays, you can purchase a manufactured home that is designed to be eco-friendly. Surprisingly, the prices set in the range of $25,000 to about $90,000. We recently saw an episode of How It’s Made that details how an eco-friendly modular home is built. These eco-cottages are very small, averaging anywhere from 275 sq. ft. to 475 sq. ft., but are perfect for some lifestyles and include a large range of standard and custom details that can make your home even more energy efficient, including solar panels already installed! Take a look at the gallery slideshow on their site. I can easily dream of the Starling model on the beach for our retirement! Ahhh….to dream the impossible dream.
We hope you had some time today to contemplate the ways you have found to be kinder to our Earth. Living in a mobile or manufactured home is a great start! Many folks live in much older mobile homes. This might seem less efficient, but if you think about the benefits of using existing materials that are already together and making a home out of it, rather than building something new that requires the use of raw materials that may not be renewable, the benefits to our planet can be huge- and even much older mobile homes are still standing after 40 years or more!
Our next project, that has been stealing my time away from this blog is a living room paneling project. The entire room, walls and ceiling (good bye popcorn!) are being covered with wood planking in a cottage style look. Interestingly, all I really wanted at the start was a built in book shelf, but of course, that’s not how it ultimately turned out ;-) I hope to get that post up sometime…but first, I need a break from the project itself to enjoy a warm afternoon on the motorcycles. Will it ever be warm? I’m waiting.
Happy Spring everyone! And happy Earth Day! Thank you for visiting and please feel free to comment! How have you improved your mobile/manufactured home to make it more efficient?