January 20, 2021
We would like to take this opportunity to provide clarifying information on a current article posted through Castanet Kelowna (and re-distributed through multiple provincial media networks) entitled “Mobile Home Disadvantages” and the comments expressed stating that these types of homes use the most energy out of any type of home. We would like to take this opportunity to provide clarifying information.
The Manufactured Housing Association of BC (MHABC) represents the interests of manufactured home dealers, builders, transporters and many suppliers providing service in BC. We are responding to the recent article written and posted through Castanet Kelowna (and re-distributed through multiple provincial media networks) entitled “Mobile Home Disadvantages” and the comments expressed stating that these types of homes use the most energy out of any type of home. We would like to take this opportunity to provide clarifying information for your readers.
In understanding the evolution of mobile homes, a construction standard was developed circa 1972 by the Canadian Standards Association entitled CSA Z240. This standard defined wheel and axle standards, insulation requirements, approved roofing types and much more. In essence, the CSA Z240 standard was a stand-alone building code that was intended to bring uniformity amongst the increasing construction of these homes. Generally, the homes were built in the range of 3 to 3.5 meters wide and 12-15 meters in length.
When exploring energy efficiency of constructed dwellings, we ask your readers to consider the past standards used in the construction of comparative type, often termed site-built homes. Past BC Building codes at the time had allowed single pane windows, limited insulation and ventilation requirements. In comparing these two types of construction practices, energy efficiency was not paramount in a time of cheap oil or propane prices.
The use of 2”X4” walls was used extensively in both types of construction thereby limiting the amount of insulation that could be installed.
Similar to the evolution of building codes, the CSA Z240 standard has been subject to continual improvement. During the standard’s most recent update in 2016, materially adopted Part 9.36 of the National Model Building Code – the basis for the energy efficiency standard incorporated within the 2018 update of BC’s Building Code. Over time, the standard was also renamed CSA Z240MH (MH standing for Manufactured Home) owing to the increased size and weight of these dwellings that are no longer produced with wheels and axles. In turn, they are now transported professionally to sites to be installed. The term, mobile home, is outdated and no longer is broadly used to describe this type of home.
While our industry readily admits the original 1972 Z240 standard was not focused on achieving high energy efficiency, we take the position that the site-built homes of this era were “in the same boat”. At the same time, these older manufactured homes have now been in place for many decades and continue to provide effective housing options for many, many people. It goes without saying that any type of home requires continual maintenance and upgrading, including replacement of earlier and less efficient windows, doors, insulation, heating systems and so on.
The MHABC has collaborated with FortisBC and BC Hydro in sharing information on how these two organizations can provide incentives to undertake these upgrades. The MHABC applauds both organizations for their foresight and initiative in creating these incentives.
In summarizing our submission, the MHABC asks your readers to take this information into consideration and not automatically adopt the position that mobile homes, and now manufactured homes, are inferior. This type of housing remains a comfortable and cost-efficient housing option.
Attachments: Supplemental Information
The Benefits of Factory Built Housing:
The Home of The Future – Modular Homes:
How Homes are Built:
Manufactured Housing – Leading The Way in Greenstreaming:
For further information, please contact:
Gord Rattray | Executive Director
Manufactured Housing Association of BC
P. 604-466-2006 C. 250.392.0847