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Home Forums General Discussion Do pre-fab off-grid homes exist?

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    I’ve searched and I’ve found “examples” of pre-fab off-grid homes… unfortunately I have yet to find any for sale? If they do exist, how much do they cost? Please let me know.


    What I’ve experienced is that you can just get what’s called a “Modular Home.” You can probably find about a very basic 1,200 sf. home on sale for around $45k relatively easily. Used, much less. then, if you’re not a do it yourselfer, have a few different companies come in for things like electircity and water.

    My ideal would be to compost my waste, both bodily and organic food, rather than having a septic system. But in our area, a stander septic will run about $1,500 installed. If the ground doesn’t “perk” for it, you’re looking at about $5k.

    The solar system we bought for our place was too small. We spent about $5,000 on three panels with an OutBack inverter and charge controller, up to 8 panel rotating stand, miscellaneous wiring, breakers and hook-up. We transported, set it up in the ground, and connected the stuff to our home ourselves (after the company we used hooked up all the guts). We should have spent the extra $3,000 and got all the panels we needed. If you want to have someone come in and do everything, we were quoted $25,000 for enough power to maintain a travel trailer.

    Our water comes from a cisturn that cost I think around $500 with a 1,500 gal. capacity. Since we don’t flush and do laundry in town we have water hauled in only every several months at about $100 per load. We are sill very ‘back woods’ with the whole water thing, but expect to spend maybe $5,000 if you want to have a plumbing company come in and get a functional system working for you. (uneducated estimate!!!) When we do it right, we will put in a well, water filtration system, and top of roof solar water, gravity feed for in-house water.

    For heating our very small cabin, we got a wood burning stove 2nd hand for $100, plus and additional $100 for piping. You can easily spend $3,000 on a new wood stove, but shop around. There are lots of dead wood junipers on our property, so heating is free. :)

    I would consider setting your home on a fixed foundation, like a concrete slab, for investment purposes. In finance terms, a modular home set on concrete is considered “site built” and has a much better resale value, with better financing terms.

    Not including the land, you can spend $100,000 easily on a very nice off-grid set up with little of your own labor involved. If you shop around, go 2nd hand, and do a lot of things yourself, take off at least 40%, maybe much more. Getting a construction loan would be a nice way to go if you don’t have that kind of cash lying around. After construction is complete, you would change the financing to a conventional loan. If you don’t know of a good loan officer in your area, and that’s the way you want to go, let me know. :)

    Hope this helps!



    I’m looking into purchasing land in Montgomery County and building a house. I’m not looking to build anything outrageous. (Thinking 1500-1800 sqft rancher)

    1. Has anyone ever built a house here using a panelized house or a modular homes?

    2. How much did it cost you?


    Mobile, modular or prefab homes are often sold in regions where the work force is employed mainly in resource extraction such as forestry or mining. The nature of the work is such the work force is highly mobile. Thus the need for homes that can be transported and set up on short notice.

    Where building codes permit it park model trailers are also a posibility.

    The most obvious distinction between the various kinds is width. Trailers that can be towed behind your own truck is limited to whatever the Highway regulations permit. Mobile homes are typically wider but can be transported by road in one piece as long as specialized transport companies do the work and have the requisite permits for over sized loads.

    Modular homes tend to fall in the catagory of being precut but is delivered to the home site in pieces and require assembly on site.

    All of them can be off grid. Sanitation is likely to require the biggest change because composting toilets would not use the regular flush and discharge pipe provisions. Some very compact bathroom layouts may not readily accomodate a composting toilet without major re-arrangement of the wash basin tub and closets in the factory design.

    Heating systems would also require making large changes. Quite often these homes have gas furnaces or electric baseboard heating. Neither system lend themselves to off-grid installation.

    Park model trailers seldom have sufficient width to accomodate a conventional wood stove while maintaining safe clearance between stove and furniture and cabinets. Double width mobiles would be fine dependent on interiro floor plan. There are pellet stove that are constructed for zero clearance installation meaning they have radiant heat shields included in the design. Unfortunately pellets are more expensive than solid wood thus reducing your options and increasing your costs.

    Another option is the solid wood outdoor boiler. The actual boiler is located outdoors of the home and heat is brought indoors via hot water piping.

    One drawback to boilers is their size. Most of them are sized to heat a home plus shop totalling 4,000 square feet or larger.

    If you install one of these boilers that are sized for 4,000 S.F. and heat only 1500 S.F. the fire will be banked and smouldering the majority of the time. This creates lots of creosote and chimney build up compared to a boiler running more time with draft fans going.

    It is also worth noting that wood fireplaces must be specificaly certified for trailer or mobile home installation in order to be safe.

    The differences include more radiant heat shields and longer double walled chimney pipes. These details involve fire safety protection not simply code compliance.


    They’re called RVs :)

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