A trailer may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of green building—but then again, The Wedge, built by recreational trailer company WheelHaus, doesn’t feel like your typical RV. Company president Jamie Mackay first thought of the idea for these “rolling cabins” while looking for trailers for his Fireside Resort in Jackson, Wyoming. “I traveled around to numerous manufacturers and couldn’t find anyone who would provide the quality and higher standards I was looking for durability-wise and in terms of energy-efficiency and clean living,” Mackay says. So when he couldn’t find what he was looking for, Mackay got certified as a manufacturer and built his own.
The resulting product, called The Wedge, is 400 square feet of well-designed living space that can be rolled into a campground, RV park or wherever else its owner desires. Although the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED program doesn’t certify recreational vehicles, Mackay designed and built his model to LEED Gold standards. “I thought, why not do it right? It’s so easy to make a home or living space healthy to live in.”
Apart from creating a healthy place to live, Mackay also wanted a unit that was architecturally interesting and durable—and one that would last years beyond his competitors’. The Wedge’s angled roof and trapezoidal windows provide modern touches to the overall rustic design. The windows in the rolling cabin also allow for ample natural light, which helps connect the home with nature and make it feel more spacious.
Although 400 square feet sounds small, Mackay was able to fit a full-size living environment inside: a bedroom spacious enough for a king-size bed and side tables; a full bathroom; a kitchenette with enough space for a cooktop, microwave, dishwasher, sink and under-counter refrigerator; and a living space with room for full-size furnishings. Getting everything to fit was tricky, Mackay says. “You steal a few inches for the bathroom or bedroom, and the living area feels too small. It was a balancing act to make it feel more like a cabin and less like an RV.”
The Good Stuff
• Exterior siding is made from reclaimed materials: snow fencing reclaimed from the Wyoming interstate.
• A 120-square-foot private deck expands The Wedge’s living space.
• Instead of vinyl and carpet, which can contribute to poor indoor air quality, Mackay chose low-VOC paints and wood flooring to preserve healthier air for occupants. (See an interior photo in the Image Gallery.)
• The kitchenette features Energy Star appliances.
• A panelized wall system and high R-value windows provide extra insulation for the units.
• A high-efficiency gas fireplace warms the living room in winter.