Unlike the mobile homes built before HUD Code was set by the Department of Housing and Urban Development in 1976, modern manufactured housing isn’t only built with a strict focus on home construction and safety standards—they’re also built for energy efficiency from the very start. Nevertheless, there are a variety of small tweaks and modifications you can make in your manufactured home to maximize its energy efficiency.
Updates in Manufactured Home Energy Efficiency
Today’s manufactured homes are built to be energy efficient. In fact, the tight HUD regulations on manufactured housing make them just as energy efficient, if not more so, than modular homes and traditional site-built homes, which are subject only to local government regulations rather than federal. The Department of Energy instated new standards for energy efficient manufactured homes as recently as 2016, and improvements continue to be made as new technologies arise.
Changes to Energy Efficiency in Manufactured Housing
Much has changed since 1976, and as technology advances and people try to reduce carbon footprints and hefty utility bills, standards for energy efficiency in manufactured housing continue to rise. Most notably, HUD Code set new standards for construction, durability, and energy efficiency in manufactured housing, rendering the stereotypical mobile home obsolete. Then, in 2016, the Department of Energy made further changes, initiating new efficiency guidelines that can save up to 30% on bills.
In addition, many manufactured home factories are partnered with ENERGY STAR. ENERGY STAR certified manufactured homes include features like high-performance windows, efficient heating and cooling, tight construction and ducts, and advanced insulation, making these homes less expensive, more comfortable, backed by the government, and supportive of a cleaner future.
Today, manufactured housing is designed to be energy efficient with HVAC systems that equalize temperatures, construction materials that improve the home’s R-value (the degree to which insulation resists heat flow), and the incorporation of new technologies like solar power—just to name a few. We’ve compiled a list of our top 10 tips to help you make sure your manufactured home energy efficiency is at its best.
10 Tips for Optimizing Manufactured Home Energy Efficiency
Here are 10 of our best tips to reduce your energy output, from your carbon footprint to your energy costs.
1. Upgrade & Add Insulation
Manufactured homes are built with a certain amount of insulation already installed, but it can be a good idea to have your home checked to see where insulation is sparse or in need of replacement. Consult your floor plans and specifically check the walls, crawl space, and roof cavity of your home. It’s an easy solution to help give your heating and cooling systems a boost in keeping your home a comfortable temperature.
2. Replace Doors & Windows With Energy Efficient Models
Upgrade your doors and windows to models that conserve energy more efficiently, or consider options like adding storm windows—extra panes of glass installed on the interior of windows. While upgraded models of doors and windows can be pricey at times, they help to prevent air leaks and the transfer of heat—and save money for you in the long run.
3. Install Insulated Skirting & Belly Wrap
Adding skirting around your home and insulation underneath can help keep heat from escaping within and around the crawl space beneath the home. This space is a common culprit for causing high energy costs.
4. Add & Maintain Caulking
Keeping holes, cracks, and seams in your home sufficiently sealed is key to conserving energy as well as keeping your home comfortable and pest-free. Make sure existing caulk in your home is maintained and consider adding caulk to immovable components of the home to ensure a tight seal.
5. Upgrade Your Water Heater
Older water heaters used fiberglass insulation, while newer electric models use several inches of more efficiently insulating foam. You may consider replacing your water heater if it’s an older model, or at least installing a water-saving showerhead to save on your hot water use.
6. Install Weatherstripping Around Doors
Consider weatherstripping for your doors and windows, especially if they can’t currently be upgraded to energy efficient models. Installing such a seal around movable components in your home can prevent air leaks and help save on HVAC expenses.
7. Upgrade Appliances & Lighting Fixtures
Saving on your power bill can be as easy as replacing your old light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs, which take up about a fourth of the energy as a normal bulb. Additionally, appliances can likewise be updated to more energy efficient models.
8. Upgrade & Insulate Your Roof
Consider adding a cool roof coating to your roof, which will reflect an enormous amount of sunlight and keep your home from relying too heavily on your air conditioning system. While you’re focused on the roof, also look into the installation of additional insulation in your roof—it can further boost your home’s energy efficiency. For more information, check out What to Know About Manufactured Home Roof Replacement.
9. Update & Service Your HVAC System
Be certain to have your HVAC system serviced on a regular basis, or upgrade it entirely if it is outdated. Alternatively, look into replacing your air conditioning and furnace with an energy efficient electric system such as a heat pump, which shifts heat from one space to another to cool or heat your home. On a smaller but equally important scale, make sure you clean your systems and replace filters in your furnace every month. This will maximize its efficiency and in turn help you save on the bills.
10. Reduce & Repurpose Solar Heat
Solar energy can be an incredible source of power for your home. Depending on your roof structure, you can install a full or partial lightweight solar panel system, or look into a ground-mounted system. For more detailed information on solar panels and manufactured housing, check out our post Can Solar Panels Be Installed On a Manufactured Home?
Modern manufactured housing is built for energy efficiency and is an affordable option for those wishing to contribute to the global effort to reduce carbon footprints. There are many things that can be tweaked in your home to help save on energy costs, and, as small as some of these things may seem, they all add up to save you on average several hundred dollars annually on utility bills. If you’re interested in further modifying your home with easy changes to enhance it, check out our post Improvement Projects That Increase Manufactured Home Value.
Check out our blog. Among helpful posts like The Process of Buying a Manufactured Home and Manufactured vs. Site-Built & Modular Homes, we’ve got lots of great tips and tricks to help save you money and help you get the very best out of your home.