Advanced Envelope Research for Factory Built Housing, Phase 3 -- Whole-House Prototyping

E. Levy, M. Mullens, P. Rath

Research output: NRELSubcontract Report


The Advanced Envelope Research effort will provide factory homebuilders with high performance, cost-effective envelope designs that can be effectively integrated into the plant production process while meeting the thermal requirements of the 2012 IECC standards. Given the affordable nature of manufactured homes, impact on first cost is a major consideration in developing new envelope technologies technologies. This work is part of a multi-phase effort. Phase 1 identified seven envelope technologies and provided a preliminary assessment of three methods for building high performance walls. Phase 2 focused on developing viable product designs, manufacturing strategies, addressing code and structural issues, and cost analysis of the three selected options. An industry advisory committee helped narrow the research focus to perfecting a stud wall design with exterior continuous insulation (CI). Phase 3, completed in two stages, continued the design development effort, exploring and evaluating a range or methods for applying CI to factory built homes. The scope also included material selection, manufacturing and cost analysis, and prototyping and testing. During this phase, a home was built with CI, evaluated, and placed in service. The experience of building a mock up wall section with CI and then constructing on line a prototype home resolved important concerns about how to integrate the material into the production process. First steps were taken toward finding least expensive approaches for incorporating CI in standard factory building practices and a preliminary assessment suggested that even at this early stage the technology is attractive when viewed from a life cycle cost perspective.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages60
StatePublished - 2014

Bibliographical note

Work performed by Advanced Residential Integrated Energy Solutions (ARIES) Collaborative, New York, New York

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/SR-5500-61625

Other Report Number

  • DOE/GO-102014-4404


  • advanced envelope research
  • advanced wall strategy
  • Building America
  • continuous exterior insulation
  • EE
  • energy efficiency
  • envelope technology
  • factory built housing
  • manufactured housing
  • modular housing
  • research, design, and development
  • residential
  • residential buildings
  • walls with exterior sheathing


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