How energy efficient is a mobile home?

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

The statistics are not wonderful: heating and cooling an older, pre-1976 mobile home can cost twice as much as a site-built home of a comparable size and age. Energy efficiency of manufactured homes has improved over the years, but the minimum standards set by HUD are still less than those for site-built homes. An analysis by the DOE (U.S. Department of Energy) in 2010 determined that the average mobile home owner spends approximately 50% more for energy per year than a comparable site-built home ($1.76 vs. $1.17 per sq. ft.)

    There are three eras that determine the level of energy efficiency of a mobile home: 

1) Before July, 1976 - There were no national standards for mobile home construction. Insulation and weather-sealing of the exterior of the home varied widely, and was often poor.

2) July, 1976, to October, 1994 - The “Federal Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards Act of 1976,” which created the “HUD Code” as a nationwide standard for manufactured homes went into effect in July, 1976. While standards for weatherization and insulation were nothing to rave about, it was a big improvement. Also, the requirement for review of the design of a manufactured home and factory inspection by independent inspectors meant that the new requirements had to be met. 

3) October, 1994, to Present - The “Energy Policy Act of 1992,” which went into effect in October, 1994, required HUD to upgrade its standards, and the minimum R-value of insulation was raised by approximately 50%, along with other energy efficiency improvements. Also, Climate Zone 3, which sets the highest level of insulation and was formerly limited to only Alaska, was expanded to include most of the Northern United States.

     At some point soon, the DOE will issue new energy standards for manufactured homes, which was mandated by Congress several years ago. The final comments and reviews appear to be winding down now. In the meantime, there are EnergyStar certified mobile homes offered by some manufacturers that give you not just more energy-efficient insulation, windows, and duct-sealing, but also high efficiency water heaters and heating/cooling equipment.

   In the meantime, if you want to know what you can do right now to have a more energy-efficient manufactured home, go to our blog post “How can I make my mobile home more energy efficient?”

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Here’s links to a collection of our blog posts about MOBILE/MANUFACTURED HOMES:

Where can I file a complaint if I have problems with my new or used manufactured/mobile home in Florida?

 What are the most common defects in mobile/manufactured home foundation piers?

How do I determine the age of a very old mobile home?

What is a "HUD label verification letter" for a mobile/manufactured home?  

When did a ground cover vapor barrier (plastic sheet) become required under a mobile/manufactured home? 

Is it safe to go under a mobile home? 

Are older mobile homes unsafe? 

What do I need to know about buying a foreclosed mobile home? 

Does it make sense to buy an older mobile home and remodel it? 

Where do I find the vehicle identification number (VIN) on a mobile home? 

How do I find out how old a mobile home is and who manufactured it?

What is the right price for a used mobile home?

When were the first double-wide mobile homes manufactured?

How do I upgrade my old (pre-1976) mobile home to meet HUD standards?

What size air conditioner is right for my mobile home? 

Can you move an older mobile home in Florida? 

What does the HUD tag look like and where do I find it on a mobile home? 

Can you put a zone 1 mobile home in Florida?

How can I remove water under my mobile home?

What's the differences between a trailer, a mobile home, a manufactured home, and a modular home? 

What is a D-sticker mobile home? 

What are the tie-down requirements for a mobile home?

How fireproof is a mobile home?  

Can I install a mobile home myself?

What is a Park Model mobile home?  

Does an addition to a mobile home have to comply with the HUD Code? 

What walls can I remove in a mobile home?

What can I do to prevent dampness and mold in my mobile home? 

How can I tell if a mobile home is well constructed?

• How can I tell the difference between a manufactured home and a modular home?

     Visit our MOBILE/MANUFACTURED HOMES and ENERGY EFFICIENCY pages for other related blog posts on this subject, or go to the INDEX for a complete listing of all our articles. 

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