Dear EarthTalk: I am looking for a small, modular home to put on a piece of vacation property. What’s available that could meet my needs and be easier on the environment than building a traditional house from scratch? -- Rob Sherman, Minneapolis, MN
First utilized by relief and aid missions around the world to house workers or refugees, self-contained modular homes that can be partially or even fully fabricated in advance are now all the rage among green architects and those committed to more sustainable living—and they’re beginning to pop all across North America and beyond, mostly for use as guest houses and vacation cabins. The benefits of such homes versus their larger traditional counterparts are many. In theory, prefabrication generates less waste, uses less energy, and provides more opportunities for the incorporation of greener construction methods and technologies. Most such buildings are also less demanding on the home site of choice.