The i-House Is Breaking New Ground

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Recently, I posted an article about what it takes for a home to be ENERGY STAR-rated. One of the latest green prefab homes in the works and being made available for purchase in the near future is the i-House. It is designed and built by one of the nation’s largest makers of manufactured (mobile) homes and prefabricated houses,  Clayton Homes of Marysville, TN. It’s an ENERGY STAR rated home, so there’s nothing ordinary about it. You may not believe your eyes!



 “Vintage mobile home”

No, the mobile home you see in the photo above is not the Clayton Homes i-House. It’s a far cry from it. I wanted to show the sharp contrast of manufactured mobile homes of days-gone-by vs. what is available to consumers today (see the photo of the new and improved version of manufactured housing further along in this post).

I also wanted to remind everyone (reading this) that some people’s pre-conceived notions of the neighborhood and surroundings you might find yourself in could change dramatically, if you chose to do so, if you owned a home like the I-House.

Or, you might really enjoy the countryside with all of the fresh air and wonderful views, day and night, as opposed to a more urban setting to set up camp.

Either way, mobile homes (a.k.a. manufactured or prefab homes) have come a long, long way from their humble beginnings back in the 1950’s, folks. Below is an artists’ rendering, although, there are interactive photos of the real thing in the I-House virtual tour. By the way, Clayton Homes builds the full-blown traditional style of homes that just happen to be manufactured in a central facility.

Clayton Homes I-House


Photo Credit: © Clayton Homes/Popular Mechanics


Why Was The i-House Created?

Clayton Homes President, Kevin Clayton, told his team of architects to design a home incorporating as many green products and ideas as possible. The only limitation he put on the team was that the home could be built in Clayton Homes existing manufacturing facilities. They went all out in designing a 992 sq. ft. expandable green oasis.

What Is So Green About The i-House?

Where to begin?

For starters, they claim it can be “powered” for about a dollar a day due to Low-E windows, solar panels, outstanding insulation materials and high-efficiency appliances. The floors are constructed of fast-growing, replenishable bamboo and the walls are painted with low- or zero-emission paint (low voc content). A tankless water heater cuts costs and saves energy while the cistern collecting rainwater from the roof supplies grey water for gardening and washing cars or the dog.

A tight fit throughout eliminates drafts and an energy-efficient HVAC system will keep you comfortable while using as little energy as possible.


Customize the i-House to Suit Your Family Needs

This is not a one-size-fits-all prefab home. It is meant to be customized by the customers that purchase them by changing the room configuration as desired, adding rooms, step-stacking it if your lot is on a hillside…and more. In fact, Clayton is exploring the idea of a partnership with Ikea…yes…Ikea…where you would be able to customize and order it from the Ikea showroom.

Are you thinking…Ikea and mobile homes??? That’s like trying to combine oil and water..right? You’ve got it all wrong! I mentioned earlier that manufactured homes have come a long way. The i-house can be placed on a variety of foundations giving it yet even more versatility. Clayton Homes has visions of the i-House being sold to younger, more affluent customers and I think they’re onto something there. I see the i-House in the same respect as Toyota’s Scion brand of cars. They’re all meant to be customized when you order them. That keeps the potential aftermarket dollars on the frontside of the deal. Very wise approach.

It’s all-around green appeal and efficiencies in more than one respect gives it a hip…even chic appeal to it.


How Much Will the i-House Cost?

The basic configuration (which is loaded with all of the cool, green features) will set you back approximately $100K. Seem a little steep for a manufactured home? Not when you consider that your annual energy costs will be minimal and you’ve got the coolest trailer on the block. That didn’t come out right. Sorry. From everything I’ve read, it’s a quality home built in a facility that has been a leader in the industry for decades. I’m serious about that.

What’s my favorite part of the i-House? Why it’s the HUGE party deck on a portion the roof, of course. See photo 6 of the slide show.  Why has it taken so long for them to figure this one out? A reinforced roof structure makes it possible.

Don’t miss the virtual tour (mentioned at the top of this article) for a viewing of this home of the future…here today (soon).



MSN article

Clayton ENERGY STAR manufactured and modular homes

Popular Mechanics article on the Clayton I-House

Clayton Homes



IdeaBox of Salem, OR (another great prefab)

Portland Monthly Magazine article on IdeaBox

IdeaBox prefab home features, design and materials