Project Frog, a start-up that designs and builds prefabricated sustainable buildings, recently announced a $22 million investment round led by GE, signaling the multinational company is bullish on not just environmental responsibility but innovative construction methods, too. As part of the relationship, GE will complete a Project Frog building at GE’s Crotonville Learning Center in Ossining, New York by the end of 2011.
The University of Tennessee recently opened the New Norris House, a 21st-century home that revisits the old Norris community project. As background, during the Great Depression, the Tennessee Valley Authority built a model community as part of a water works project in Tennessee. According to the New Norris House site, the old Norris homes were innovative and included electricity and heating systems for the first time in the region.
If prefab connotes the idea that a home is standardized, perhaps this home sheds some of that. It wasn’t fabricated to benefit from scale so much as to conserve resources by building it in the vicinity of people and services. Ruby Springs Prefab was built in Bozeman — roughly 300 feet from both the interior designer Shack Up Studio and architect/builder Medicine Hat Inc. — and installed in a remote location in Ruby Springs, Montana.
This Rocio Romero LV Series home was built in 2007 on Whidbey Island in Washington. The owners have the 11-acre patch of land and home listed for sale for $429,000, which includes 1,190 square feet, 2 bedrooms, and 1.75 bathrooms. The listing says the home has stainless appliances, CaesarStone countertops, bamboo floors, radiant heat, and everything else that comes with an LV model home. Check out this modern prefab:
If you follow the prefab movement or have an interest in these homes, I recommend reading Todd Woody’s recent profile of Blu Homes in Forbes. Blu, which is planning a second factory north of San Francisco, uses software, engineering, design, and technology to make sustainable homes attainable to more people. They’re a “technology company that builds homes,” according to co-founder Maura McCarthy.
Cascade Built just announced a new single-family home in the Madison Valley neighborhood of Seattle, Washington. “Alley House 2” was designed by Seattle-based David Foster Architects and is currently under construction by Method Homes in an off-site factory. The project team is seeking LEED Platinum certification with completion set for about October 2011.