Brief

Offsite builder, architect launch line of energy-efficient prefab homes

Dive Brief:

  • Offsite "high performance" building manufacturer Ecocor has teamed up with Richard Pedranti Architect to develop a line of prefabricated homes that meet the strict energy-efficient requirements of the "Passive House" standard. 
  • The team currently has 11 customizable models that range from 323 square feet to 2,685 square feet, and all utilize Passive House Institute-certified wall assemblies.
  • The Passive House energy efficiency standard has been widely adopted in Europe and, according to Ecocor, can reduce a building's heating and cooling requirements by 80% to 90%.

Dive Insight:

The Passive House standard starts with the concept of an airtight, well-insulated building and then adds efficient "by the numbers" ventilation to keep a building's interior at a constant temperature, thereby reducing the need for traditional heating and cooling. Following the example of Sweden, where Ecocor said 90% of new homes are built in factories, the company said it can ensure a high quality before the homes are delivered and assembled onsite.

Offsite, or modular, construction is gaining popularity in the construction industry. Last month, modular home company Smart Homes announced an initiative to build homes on abandoned lots in Minneapolis, where many homes were demolished after the housing crash. The company said it would cost 25% less to construct its homes than it would via traditional building methods.

However, the surge in popularity is not limited only to single-family homes. According to the Modular Building Institute, modular construction represents approximately 3% of new commercial construction in North America, but the MBI said that figure should increase to 5% in the next five years. In addition, Marriott-brand AC Hotel Bricktown is building a hotel in Oklahoma, the first such modular hotel project in the state. 

In May, modular manufacturer Guerdon's Business Development Manager Randy Duggan told Construction Dive that construction companies can boost profits and reduce project timelines by using offsite construction. MBI Executive Director Tom Hardiman said that modular building is also a way to achieve a more "green" way of building, as offsite construction creates less waste and, depending on the type of building, allows some components to be disassembled and reused elsewhere.

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Filed Under: Residential Building Design Green Building