Santa Monica-based architectural firm Minarc has created an energy-efficient modular home that won't break the bank. Plús Hús, meaning "plus house" in Icelandic, is a 320-sq ft (30-sq m) home that is fully customizable and offers a smart and modern solution for a tiny home, guest-house, garden office, art studio or Airbnb suite.
Developed by Icelandic born duo Erla Dögg Ingjaldsdóttir and Tryggvi Thorsteinsson, the Plús Hús was inspired by the current housing shortage in California and the recent changes to building regulations, which now allow homeowners to more easily add a small dwelling to their property.
"Tryggvi and I have been developing our product in anticipation of these regulatory changes for some time, and are beyond excited to introduce Plús Hús to the world," says Ingjaldsdóttir.
Plús Hús is built using mnmMOD panels, which are prefabricated off-site using certified extruded polystyrene and 30 percent recycled steel. The building panels are then delivered flat packed to site, where they are assembled in as little as a few days assuming the site preparation has been completed. The finishes are also delivered cut to size in order to minimize on-site waste, construction time and overall costs.
"The mnmMOD panel system is versatile, recyclable, and extremely energy efficient, and being from Iceland we pay very close attention to the relationships between nature, ourselves, and what we create," Ingjaldsdóttir says. "We are constantly looking for ways to do better, and using mnmMOD to create Plús Hús makes perfect sense."
Replacing traditional timber framing and building techniques, the mnmMOD panels make up the structure and insulation of the home. Windows and doors have been positioned to allow in lots of natural light, in addition to promoting airflow and cross ventilation. Furthermore, owners have the choice to clad the exterior and interior with any finish they desire. According to Minarc, the Plús Hús is designed to last a lifetime and is suitable for any weather conditions or environment.
"The average cost of the entire panel system is comparable to traditional stick-built methods; however, in the long run you'll save thousands in energy bills and maintenance since mnmMOD panels don't mold, support fire, get termites or warp," Ingjaldsdóttir and Thorsteinsson tell New Atlas. "The walls and ceiling are all made from mnmMOD building system, which is made from recycled materials that are recyclable and produce zero net energy."
Furthermore, Plús Hús kits do not contain dyes, formaldehyde, or Molten-Carbonate Fuel Cells, and do not release Volatile Organic Compounds or other harmful toxins into the environment. The homes have a high insulation value, reducing the home's overall power costs associated with heating and cooling. Minarc claims the Plús Hús structure is 40 percent more efficient than traditionally-built homes.
The Plús Hús is available in three different versions: Open, Open+ and a full Plús Hús unit. The Plús Hús Open module includes the basic structure with standard finishes, while the Plús Hús Open+ includes a bathroom, all plumbing fixtures and cabinetry. The full Plús Hús comes complete with a bathroom and kitchen, all plumbing fixtures, appliances and cabinetry.
Plús Hús Open unit prices start at US$37,000, at $42,000 for the Plús Hús Open+ and $49,000 for the full Plús Hús.
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