The U.S. Department of Energy on May 31 published to the Federal Record its final rule on the much-debated energy requirements for manufactured homes. The new standards will be effective Aug. 1, and compliance is anticipated by May 31, 2023.

There are concerns in many parts of the industry about the changes, particularly in regard to implementation costs for manufactured homes — from the cost of materials to financing — and how it may affect availability for consumers who already rely on new energy-efficient manufactured homes as the best option for affordable home ownership.

Manufactured Housing Institute CEO Lesli Gooch said the new energy rules for manufactured homes shows a lack of understanding about the industry’s unique building and delivery process, and undermines the White House plan to “Ease the Burden of Housing Costs” that was announced days prior to DOE’s publishing.

“Manufactured housing is by far the most affordable homeownership option in America – and the industry is currently building quality affordable homes that are already energy efficient and resilient,” Gooch said. “Instead, the significant cost increases to actual manufactured homebuyers far exceed the speculative energy savings the rule claims will take place.”

Manufactured homes have been regulated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for more than 40 years. Industry leaders believe energy standards for manufactured homes should derive from the industry’s longtime primary regulatory body. A contingent of manufactured housing industry professionals convening with lawmakers carried that message with them during the Innovative Housing Showcase and Homes on the Hill events June 7-12.

Energy efficiency is a strong point for manufactured homes, particularly homes built during the last dozen years. Nearly every builder of HUD-code homes has improved its standard energy efficiency and rolled out myriad options for products that help with sustainability in energy transfer and cost reduction.

Builders today pack every bit of R-value they can into a home, knowing it will be a prime tool in marketing the homes because it will help reduce monthly costs for the buyer. The industry hits the mark on efficient housing, including when it comes to energy, from the way materials are shipped and stored at a manufacturing facility, to efficiencies on the line, and the quality of products used within well-designed floorplans.

By Patrick Revere, MH Insider