The FabCab is All That and So Much More (VIDEO)

Integrating Douglas Fir timber frames and structural insulated panels, FabCab offers universal accessibility in its eco-friendly homes, cabins and accessory dwelling units (ADUs).

Sustainably built accessory dwelling units from FabCab
Sustainably built accessory dwelling unit © 2010 FabCab

FabCab’s approach to sustainability is simple — design healthy, efficient environments to accommodate varied lifestyles. Dedicated to designing a space that is usable for people with a range of ages and abilities, they are equally dedicated to offering their clients eco-friendly and economically resourceful spaces.

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The FabCab sustainability features include:

  • Efficient design: Open concept layout maximizes floor space.
  • Renewable resources: Constructed with sustainably harvested Douglas fir; timber frames use less wood than stud framing.
  • Less waste: FabCab utilizes state of the art  computerized cutting machines that minimize waste. This creates precise, high quality assemblies, and reduces delays.
  • Reduced transportation: With either product line, the materials are brought to the site in fewer shipments than with typical construction.
  • Energy efficiency: The structural insulated panels (SIPS) walls are extremely energy efficient. Plumbing lines can be built in for optional solar water heaters on the roof and high efficiency hot water heaters will power a radiant floor heating system.
  • Healthy indoor air quality: Low VOC paints and finishes are used throughout the cabins. An anti-microbial glaze on tiles and fixtures reduce the potential for bacteria growth in the bathroom.
  • Water efficiency: State of the art water efficient plumbing fixtures by TOTO reduce the consumption of water. Optional cisterns can catch and store rainwater from the roof.
  • Recycled materials: ‘Green’ materials and components with a high degree of recycled content are used throughout FabCab’s products.
  • Less commuting: In many cases, ADUs are placed in neighbourhoods which are close to amenities so that the occupants may have short distances to travel to frequently-visited locations. Home offices and studios greatly decrease commutes.
  • Higher density: With more housing options for people to live near employment areas, there is less pressure to develop valuable green space in more remote areas.
FabCab didn't stop at environmental sustainability; they also strove to achieve social sustainability by designing highly flexible dwellings
From their website:
"FabCab typically designs flexibility into a home so that its layout can be easily modified when the need arises, which reduces the need for expensive and wasteful remodeling down the road. In this way, the home remains appropriate for multiple life transitions, reduces a person’s need to move, and increases both the longevity and the marketability of the home. This socially sustainable approach is combined with common sense principles of site orientation, energy efficiency, ‘green’ materials, and healthy indoor air quality.

A number of additions can be made to increase the sustainability factor once the FabCab is on site, including:  Solar (photovoltaic, hot water, or both), a green roof, and rainwater collection systems."

While the company is based in Seattle, Washington, FabCab components can be shipped anywhere in North America. The company is expanding to work with suppliers in different regions across the country, so a more local product may be available depending on your location.

FabCab offers prefabricated component buildings in four standard sizes starting at 550 square feet, and also offer custom design work. Different packages are available starting with just the timber frame and shell (walls, windows and doors), up to complete interior packages.

FabCab is not alone in the move towards sustainability in the tiny house movement, but they are a stellar example of what can be accomplished when all things are considered.

Take the FabCab video tour, or visit their website.

Sustainably built accessory dwelling units from FabCab © Dale Lang 2010

Sustainably built accessory dwelling units from FabCab © Dale Lang 2010

Sustainably built accessory dwelling units from FabCab © Dale Lang 2010