Green Prefab Homes: Will They Save You Money?

Would home buyers be enticed to invest in a prefab house over a custom-made one if the home had all they ever wanted in a sustainable home: from solar panels to a green roof and LEED certification?

As the greening of the real estate market continues, and buyers scale down their square footage and focus on energy-efficient living, prefabs are entering a new phase of potential popularity.

But these aren't the cheesy, cookie-cutter prefab (aka modular) homes of the 1970s and 1980s.

Consider Nationwide Homes' Eco-Cottage, a 523-square-foot, one-bedroom, one-bathroom dwelling that boasts bamboo floors and a tankless water heater. It has a base price of $59,500. Then there's the solar-ready mkGlidehouse from Blu Homes, with its formaldehyde-free cabinetry, for between $250 and $350 per square foot.

Good prices, to be sure, for all those premium green extras that can jack up prices on any house. But are these prefabs a bargain -- and greener -- than custom-built homes?