The Waterhaus, a tiny sustainable prefab home | GreenPod
GreenPod Development is a prefab home builder in Port Townsend, Washington. As the name suggests, GreenPod places an emphasis on sustainable and healthy homes. Their houses are built from structural insulated panels, ensuring a well-insulated and tight building envelope. All the interior finishes are chosen to promote healthy indoor air quality, avoiding any product that might outgas volatile organic compounds. Clay wall finish is an option for customers who want to avoid paint entirely. The fabrics are made from organic naturally antimicrobial plant fibers that won’t support the growth of mildew or mold.
With the requirement that the homes be narrow enough for road transport, many one-bedroom prefabs end up with similar rectangular floor plans having an open living area at one end, the bedroom at the other end, and the bathroom in between. GreenPod’s 450 ft2 (41.8 m2) Waterhaus model follows that formula but with a couple of novel twists.
Rather than a normal rectangular bathroom, the Waterhaus architect designed a T-shaped layout. The bathroom is narrower at the shower, giving a bit of extra space to both the bedroom and the living area. The extra space in the bedroom corner creates a reading nook by the window, while a niche in the living room can be used for an optional fireplace or storage cabinets. Check out the floor plan in the gallery to see how this was done.
Corner windows are great because they let daylight reflect off the flanking walls, lighting the room more evenly, and because they emphasize the long diagonal dimension of the room, making it seem larger. A unique aspect of the Waterhaus floor plan is the small inset area at the back of the house. This indent allows both the living room and the bedroom to have corner windows that are located towards the middle of the house rather than at the far corners. One benefit is that the view is directed away from any neighboring houses. A second benefit has to do with furniture placement. With the windows pushed towards the middle of the house, you can still enjoy the view from a couch or bed placed against an end wall. That helps to shorten circulation paths through the house.
Clerestory windows are another way to get more even light levels while maintaining privacy. Both the living area and the bedroom have clerestory windows bringing in daylight from three sides. Optional translucent glass panes in the passage doors help with lighting the hallway.
The United States has seen a lot of prefab and modular home builders come and go over the years. GreenPod Development has bucked the trend, surviving even the 2007-2009 housing market crash. That may be due in part to their flexible approach, offering customers the option of either factory-built modules or on-site construction using prefab panels. A modular build could be the better choice for remote locations where skilled tradespeople are hard to find, while a site-built home might be the only choice if lenders are unwilling to finance a modular home, as happened following the housing crash.
You can learn more about the Waterhaus and other GreenPod models at the GreenPod website. Enjoy the photos!
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Photographs courtesy of GreenPod Development, LLC.
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