A “Wrapped Investment” is a strategy that repurposes the process of “boatwrapping” to improve the performance of the mobile home. Through our analysis of the structure, we identified that we could get the biggest return on our investment if we addressed the infiltration of exterior air and the leaking conditioned air. “Boatwrapping” is a process of heat forming a protective membrane around boats before they are shipped long distances. We have readapted this process to improve the performance of the mobile home by creating a seal around the building envelope that will minimize air leakages and allow for controlled air exchanges in the interior spaces to improve performance.
Initially, we remove all of the low performing casements (doors and windows) that will be replaced at the end. R-21 rigid insulation is then installed on the outside of the building envelope to reduce the heat transfer between the interior and exterior space that the membrane would fall short on. Next, the boat wrap is then heat formed to exterior and opening are cut open and peal back through the opening to ensure a tight seal. Windows and doors are then installed. The process is simple, straightforward, and very effective, as it pays itself off in about 2 years.
We have also looked at mobile home parks at a larger scale and how they can make an impact as a system of pieces. The concept of turning a mobile home park into a solar farm was an issue we found could be very intriguing and impactful. It can reduce a significant amount of energy that is relied on from the electrical grid, especially for a home that moves from place to place. We also looked at how this heat formed membrane could provide an opportunity for owners to pursue a customizable graphic exterior. In our modern age of graphic design and branding, this can potentially allow for these structures to take on an identity beyond our current perception of mobile homes. We feel all facets of this strategy make mobile home living a more sustainable and desirable place to live.
This Project won first place in the South Carolina’s Clean Energy Buisness Alliance’s mobile home retrofit design competition.