Last week, I highlighted a German company, HIB-System, that’s making green, LEGO-esque strides in the world of self-build kit homes. Fantastic ... but are there any homegrown companies out there offering green DIY kit-homes?

Let me introduce you to Shelter-Kit, a New Hampshire-based firm that’s had a formidable presence in the kit home building industry for the last 40 years. Just this year, they’ve teamed up with TimberLogic LLC, a Certified Green Professional company, to give inherently greener kit homes even more eco-appeal.

Here’s the basics behind Shelter-Kit’s Green Home Kits. Ranging from 875 to 2,500+ square feet, the fully customizable, quick-to-assemble homes can be as green as you want ‘em. Shelter-Kit provides all the green building/design options (assessed by TimberLogic) so that your self-built home can qualify for the National Association of Homebuilders’ (NAHB) National Green Building Certification Program (NGBP). Essentially, when customizing and designing their Green Home Kit, DIY builders can pick and choose green building options — water- and energy-conserving features, indoor air quality, materials, etc. — that score them “green points.” The more green points scored, the closer the home gets to NGBP certification. Green Home Kits are similar in design to Shelter-Kit’s Barn-House Kits that start at $26,345.

And, if you’re like me, you’re probably curious as to what exactly comes in a Green Home Kit. The answer? Everything needed to construct a weather-tight shell on top of foundation: hardware, floors, roofing, fasteners, framing, sheathing, framing, and, of course, easy-to-follow instructions. Materials are precision-cut to eliminate waste and are renewable/indigenous whenever possible. Most homes can be assembled by two people in around 15 days sans power tools, cranes, etc.
For someone like me who struggles (sweats a lot, screws up and throws things, etc.) with IKEA furniture, Green Home Kits are still a bit advanced despite their easy-to-assemble nature. But for control freaks, committed DIYers, and anyone interested in giving green self-building a go, they’re worth a look-see. 
And on a related note, check out this fascinating post from Old House Web on how to identify Sears Catalog Homes. Yep, Sears sold tens of thousands of mail order DIY kit homes from 1908 to 1940 and a whole culture of Sears Home-spotters has emerged in recent years. 

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