Profile: 1970s South Dakota mobile home converted into energy efficient model
A local South Dakota couple had the idea to transform an inexpensive, old trailer into a highly energy efficient mobile home that relied on little or no energy. They felt that by insulating a home with spray foam insulation, heating and cooling expenses can be significantly reduced, reliance on energy can be decreased and that using sustainable energy sources such as the sun could help create a comfortable home. The couple took an old 1970s trailer and set about converting it.
The trailer - 14’ wide and 63’ long - was completely stripped and gutted with only the frame remaining. The couple chose to have Icynene Classic™ (LD-C-50®) spray foam insulation sprayed into the wall cavities and Icynene MD-C-200® sprayed on the ceiling and under the trailer’s floor. The couple hoped that the strength of the 2lb. closed-cell Icynene MD-C-200® foam would add extra stability to the trailer. A thermal solar panel system was installed on the south side of the home to connect to PEX lines as the primary heat source for infloor heating. Since there is no true furnace, only a propane tank unit provides back-up heating in case of emergency.
The couple lives comfortably all year round in their home affectionately called “Ruby”. The infloor heating system helps bring the home to a comfortable 74oF only aided by an occasional electric heater. Additionally, the couple use an automated flourescent lighting system for flower pots that they bring into the mobile home’s enclosed porch during the colder months. By keeping the room at 60oF with a small electrical heater, the flowers bloom all winter long.
Their sustainable solar in-floor heat source and Icynene spray foam insulation prove that transforming a old, rundown trailer into a modern, energy-efficient home is possible for anyone looking to make the change to green, sustainable living.