A Steel Prefab Treads Lightly on a Desert Floor

June 4, 2009


Steel is just about the most recyclable building material on earth. You could be well reading this in an office building built with steel originally smelted from iron in Julius Caesars day.

So it makes good green sense to build eco prefab houses with steel…

Steel does not spread fire. Building with steel allows for a lighter load, so it does not require a huge concrete foundation. Making concrete is one of the most carbon intensive building industries there are, producing the heaviest carbon footprint.


And steel framing makes for construction simplicity: these homes are able to be erected by hand and do not require welding, special torque tools or specialized inspections. This allows an entire house to be framed and enclosed in less than five days.


The sustainable elements are built in onsite, such as what appears to be an industrial-strength radiant flooring system, (maybe someone can correct me in the comments if I’m wrong in assuming that’s what this is)


Again, it looks like these workers are blowing on a thermal mass to create a warm radiant heated floor for cold desert nights, and this could be powered by a solar thermal system on the roof to heat the water. However no mention of radiant flooring or solar is made on the prefab site at Blue Sky Homes so I could be wrong. But if not, why not? The site looks decidedly off grid.


To grade a traditional home pad would have irreparably damaged this beautiful site, instead the house stands above the terrain on legs, which is becoming an increasingly common new