Construction Details

Spoorhouse is a factory-built modular home with 3 bedrooms for a family of up to 4, built of 5 shipping containers with a floor area of 1,500 square feet. The house is built with off-the-shelf, readily available sustainable technologies, by existing building trades, using conventional building techniques. The structure can be separated into modules for transportation and reassembly. Design and material choices are governed by longevity, environmental friendliness, and strength. Each component is made from a single material, and assembled with screws and bolts for ease of disassembly and recovery of materials. The construction meets LEED for Homes. Level of LEED certification will depend on site selection and design choices.


The walls and ceilings are insulated with soy based insulation foam, with a thermal resistance of R-7 per inch, forming a superior thermal envelope. Soy based insulation is water-blown which is environmentally responsible and does not off-gas hazardous fumes.

See Image 3: Wall insulation

The sub floors and roofs are insulated with rigid foam boards, with a thermal resistance of R-6 per inch.

See Image 4: Floor Insulation

The concrete floors are pored on top of rigid foam panels and the floor edges are setback from the exterior wall. The interior wall studs and ceiling supports are set back from the exterior walls, and cavities are filled with spray-foam insulation. These measures avoid thermal bridging of outside temperature into the structure. The roof is build up with tapered rigid foam to create runoff for rainwater.


FloorRigid insulationR-19
WallsBiobased foamR-40
Ceilingsinterior - Biobased foamR-24
RoofRigid InsulationR-24


Only a small HVAC system is required for this house because the structure is super-insulated. The HVAC system is a high-efficient ductless split heat pump providing cooling and heating to the concrete floors. The compressor will be located on the north/east side of the house to avoid direct sun to the unit.

Floor Heating and Cooling

Floor heating and cooling is the most comfortable way of climate control. Floor heating is a well-established technology, but floor cooling is still in its infancy. When floors become too cool, water condensation will build up on the surface. Since the house is super-insulated, only limited cooling is required, and the floor temperature does not require to be lowered beyond the dewpoint where water would condensate.

See Image 12: Floor Heating/Cooling

Basic Whole-House Heat Recovery Ventilation

A whole-house heat recovery ventilation system transfers energy from exhaust air to incoming air.

See Image 5: Whole-house Ventilation

Passive Solar

The structure is oriented on the east-west axis for maximum solar control. In summer, the angle of the sunlight is high, and the exterior shades over the south windows block sun from entering the structure, keeping the house cool. The low winter sun is able to reach into the structure so that it can warm concrete floors during winter. These warm floors distribute this warmth during evenings.

The exterior solar shades function as light shelves. Sunlight is bounced through clerestory windows against the ceilings, allowing light to penetrate deep into the rooms.

See Image 6: Passive Solar - Summer

See Image 7: Passive Solar - Winter

Water Conservation

The hot water consuming fixtures and appliances are concentrated within a distance of 4' from hot water tank. Hot water will reach a fixture in only a few seconds, avoiding water loss by running a tap waiting for the water to warm up.

All water consuming fixtures and appliances are to the highest efficiency. The standard Spoorhouse does not have a bathtub.

See Image 8: Hot Water

Lighting and Appliances

LED technology is used for all lighting of the house. All appliances are EnergyStar rated, and the cooktop uses induction technology.