modular construction

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Robotics Comes to Homebuilding

A Baltimore company is pioneering the use of industrial robots to build single-family homes

Posted on Apr 21 2017 by Scott Gibson

Fast, precise and uncomplaining, industrial robots revolutionized the automotive industry with production lines that rarely needed a break and mechanical employees who never filed an insurance claim. Now, a group of Baltimore-based entrepreneurs is betting the same approach can work wonders for the U.S. housing market.


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Image Credits:

  1. Spencer Cooper / CC BY-ND 2.0 / Flickr

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Coming in From the Cold

What happens if we bring the Northeast’s craftsmen inside to work?

Posted on Mar 24 2015 by Phil Kaplan

In the Northeast, there is a proud history of the craftsman, the homebuilder, the DIY hero and heroine. They work with sturdy tools, with local materials, with real wood. They brave the mean winters, cut each stick with caution, are frugal with lumber. They measure twice, and cut once. They have done this the same way over many years and the product is consistent, steady, exactly the same as it would have been, had it been built in 1953.

There’s only one problem. We live in a very different world than we did in 1953.


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Image Credits:

  1. Trent Bell
  2. Phil Kaplan

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Factory-Built Wall Panels

Panelized construction allows walls to be built in a controlled environment and speeds the construction schedule

Posted on Mar 12 2013 by Roger Normand

[Editor's note: Roger and Lynn Normand are building a Passivhaus in Maine. This is the 25th article in a series that will follow their project from planning through construction.]


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Image Credits:

  1. Chris Briley

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Affordable-Home Development Uses Net-Zero Prefabs

In California, a community developed by ZETA combines energy efficiency and renewable-energy systems to shrink energy use in 22 modular homes

Posted on Jan 2 2012 by Richard Defendorf

ZETA has put its core building strategy to work in Stockton, California, where the company used modular-construction techniques to produce 22 energy efficient single-family homes for an affordable-housing project.


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Image Credits:

  1. ZETA

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The i-House Finds Its Way to Market

Clayton Homes has delivered energy-efficient modular homes to customers in 10 locations across the country

Posted on Aug 29 2011 by Richard Defendorf

By spring of last year, manufactured-home specialist Clayton Homes had formally rolled out its i-House line of modular homes, whose basic $75,000 model features one bedroom and one bath in 723 sq. ft.

There’s also a 1,023-sq.-ft. two-bedroom version that starts at about $94,000, and buyers looking for yet more space can prep their building site for a Flex Room – a detached 268-sq.-ft. module with a full bath and a deck but no bedroom or kitchen, for about $30,000.


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Image Credits:

  1. Clayton Homes

Solar Decathlon 2011: Team New Jersey’s Seaside Hideaway

Featuring a precast concrete shell and an inverted hip roof, this solar-powered home aims for durability, quick assembly, and high performance

Posted on May 17 2011 by Richard Defendorf

The target market for Team New Jersey’s entry in the 2011 Solar Decathlon is a couple (perhaps retired) who wants a small, durable, energy-efficient house suitable for the Jersey shore. And in practical terms, trying to appeal to home buyers longing for respite somewhere along New Jersey’s long, lively, and mostly pleasant Atlantic coastline probably isn’t a bad idea, provided you’re willing to put up with allusions to MTV’s “Jersey Shore.”


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Image Credits:

  1. Rutgers: the State University of New Jersey and the New Jersey Institute of Technology

Solar Decathlon 2011: Parsons and Stevens Institute Team Up

Using Passivhaus modeling software and feedback from residents of the Deanwood neighborhood of Washington, DC, to design a house destined for an urban lot

Posted on Mar 29 2011 by Richard Defendorf

As the Solar Decathlon has evolved, the intended users of the homes in the competition have increasingly, even if only tacitly, become partners in shaping the finished products. Many Decathlon entries are not only climate-specific, they are designed to reflect regional architecture and to accommodate local culture and customs. Empowerhouse is one such entry, with design and performance features targeted for a specific lot and community environment in Washington, D.C.


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Image Credits:

  1. Parsons The New School for Design, Milano the New School for Urban Management and Policy, and Stevens Institute of Technology

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Touting a Hotel with High (Energy Efficiency) Standards

A hotel designed for Passivhaus performance is being developed in Oroville, Washington, using prefab containerized components

Posted on Nov 22 2010 by Richard Defendorf

Green-building advocates are paying attention to the Green Built Hotel planned for Oroville, an agricultural community in north central Washington. The hotel is unusual not just because its prefabricated panels will be shipped in containers to its destination at the south end of town and then assembled in fairly short order.


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Image Credits:

  1. bôd Structures

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A New Prefab Rollout from Michelle Kaufmann

The Bay Area-based architect announces a line of modular single-family homes designed to provide net-zero-energy performance

Posted on Aug 4 2010 by Richard Defendorf

As she made clear last fall when she sold the assets of her firm mkDesigns to prefab specialist Blu Homes, Michelle Kaufmann wasn’t done with green modular construction. The architect and green-construction advocate has continued designing single-family homes, eco-resorts, and multifamily communities for a range of clients. Most of the projects incorporate modular construction.


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Image Credits:

  1. Michelle Kaufmann Studio

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Striving for Zero in New York City

A modular-construction project underway in Brooklyn’s Red Hook neighborhood aims to be one of the first live-work structures in the city to achieve NZE performance

Posted on May 12 2010 by Richard Defendorf

The Red Hook section of Brooklyn isn’t what it used to be. Less than 20 years ago it was regarded as a desolate patch of New York City borough that was no stranger to urban struggle.


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Image Credits:

  1. Garrison Architects

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