Report Number




Buildings; Disaster Relief; Energy Efficiency; Photovoltaics; Disaster relief housing; Indoor air quality; Sustainable construction; Renewable energy integration


The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) uses ruggedized manufactured homes to provide short term housing solutions during the repair and rebuilding phase after a natural disaster.

Federally procured manufactured homes are currently constructed in accordance with the Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) manufactured housing standards and typically built to the minimum code requirements. These homes can consume more energy than their site built comparatives and use materials and mechanical systems that can potentially contribute to poor indoor quality and low durability. Two improved specifications are presented in this report to enhance energy efficiency, sustainability, indoor air quality and provide back up power, without compromising human health, safety or comfort, in typical ruggedized temporary housing.

Starting with the specifications from the base case or typically procured ruggedized home, two specifications were developed, the EnergyStar (ES) and the Building America Structural Insulated Panel (BASIP) manufactured home. These were evaluated using the FSEC developed ENERGYGAUGE USA (Version 2.5.6) software which, predicts building energy consumption. The ES home saved over 15% in energy and with a lower first cost than the base case, which would save the government over $3 million per year when financing 25,000 temporary procured manufactured homes. The BASIP home, which has a roof integrated, 3.25 kWp photovoltaic (pv) array, projects energy savings of 76% or $20.2 million over the base case. The BASIP without the pv array would be over 35% more energy efficient over the base case (analysis based on units located in New Orleans, LA and utility rates of $0.13/ kWh). The annual equivalent life cycle costs for the base case and the two alternatives were calculated to be $5,460 per year, $3, 698 per year and $3,685 per year for the base, ES and BASIP respectively.

Analysis considered not only tangible benefits such as having back up power capability for essential loads during extended power outages but also intangible benefits like more daylit spaces and potential mating of two units. This report also generated areas for further investigation of innovative technologies and construction methods.

The improved specification presented by this work will allow for better quality control of construction and also include renewable energy strategies that encourage occupants to take ownership if the situation warrants. The inclusion of renewable energy would create a self-powered strategy that would provide power for essential functions during power outages and interferences associated with neighborhood reconstruction following a natural disaster.

Date Published





Emergency housing; Energy conservation; Indoor air pollution; Sustainable buildings; Renewable energy sources

Local Subjects

Disaster Relief; Buildings - Energy Efficiency; Photovoltaics


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FSEC Energy Research Center® Collection



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