There are several well known principles that guide the design and construction of most zero energy homes. One that’s often overlooked is “right sizing.” Right sizing involves designing the home to meet the occupants’ needs in as little space as possible in order to reduce energy and material use while maintaining all the amenities and functions of a larger home. Another overlooked principle is efficient, high-precision production that reduces waste and enhances air tightness. Increasingly contractors and home buyers are taking advantage of the many benefits of factory production. Many conventional designers and builders consider these key principles of small size and factory production to be outside the box. One company that has pulled them into the box is Nevada-based Boxabl

While panelized construction has been around for decades, Boxabl takes the prefabricated,  flat-pack construction package three steps further. Panels for all six sides of their box are hinged together allowing for deployment on site in a matter of hours. Their homes are small and easy to transport, while including all amenities; and they should meet the zero energy ready standards for energy efficiency in most climates.

Boxabl’s first product is the Casita, a 20’ x 20’ home fully equipped with a kitchen, appliances, bathroom, water heater, and mini-split heat pump. All electrical and plumbing is installed.  The flat roof is strong enough for a rooftop deck and future models will combine two or more basic boxes for larger footprints and multistory buildings. 

The building envelope is made from steel, concrete, and rigid expanded polystyrene (EPS) insulation. Walls with six-inch thick EPS insulation, no thermal bridges and few air leaks promise a very low heat loss rate. Space heating and cooling is provided by a highly efficient mini-split heat pump. The building shell contains no lumber or drywall, which reduces the probability of moisture damage, decay, and mold. Boxabl is built to withstand hurricane force winds and the exterior cladding is fire resistant. The standard package is intended to be zero energy ready in most climates, and with the addition of solar panels would reach full zero energy status.

The Casita is being introduced at a price of $49,500, not including permits, site work, utility hookups, or a foundation. The company estimates this work would add about $50,000 or more to the total package, but this figure will vary with the location. Solar panels would also be an extra cost. 

Packaged at the factory, the box is 8.4” x 20″ x 11″ and rides on a trailer that can be pulled by a large pickup truck. The small package can be delivered anywhere in the world. Boxabl estimates transportation costs anywhere from $2 to $4 per mile from the Las Vegas factory. 

Each Casita is built to the local modular home code and complies with local zoning requirements. Customers need to own a small plot of land and engage an approved local installer referred by the company, who facilitates site preparation and the unfolding process. Additions, such as a garage or pitched roof can be connected after the box is set up. 

Boxabl’s first factory in Las Vegas, Nevada, is gearing up and should begin shipping production models soon. It already has over 40,000 on its waitlist. The company is looking for investors and partners to establish other factories around the world — so hopefully the Casita will be available soon in your area.