LivingHomes Founder Steve Glenn has knocked the socks off the eco-conscious world with his modern homes that emphasize beauty + environment.  As I’ve been thinking about how I want to blog about this company, I’ve noticed a flurry of posts and press releases regarding this Ray Kappe-designed abode that was just awarded LEED-H Platinum.  It’s such an incredible home, with that undeniable confluence of modern and sustainability.  Hard to beat that. 

This is the first residential building to receive the USGBC’s Platinum LEED-H rating and it’s raising the bar for residential construction: zero energy, zero water, zero waste, zero carbon, and zero emissions. LivingHomes received a total of 91 out of a total possible 109 points, to barely skirt past the 90 point threshold required to obtain a Platinum rating.  It will be 80% more efficient than similar sized home and was constructed with 75% less waste than a traditional one.

Factory-built v. Stick-built:
With your typical stick-built home, there’s generally about 30-40% more excess materials ending up at the landfill. There’s almost none with a factory built home, so these modern prefab designs are going to get real popular.  The factory prefab movement is taking the waste out of the construction function and making the process better.  And this is all happening in a sexy way.

Attention builders & developers:
LivingHomes is planning a community in Joshua Tree, California.  The company is looking for builders and developers that are willing to purchase (or work with LivingHomes) to get modern, sustainable LivingHomes neighborhoods and communities.  The possibilities of this idea are bold, and pragmatic.  Hey developer/building, would you build one of these in your city?  Let’s take a look at the numbers, back-of-the-envelope-style…

A home like this will cost in the range of $150-$250 per square foot. So, for a 2000 sq. ft. house, we’re talking about a range of $300,000-$500,000. Plus you must pay for the land acquisition and preparation, foundation, transportation, and materials installation.  The factory is in California, so figure also the cost of transportation ($8k per module?).  Land costs can be cheap to very expensive, so that’s up in the air, too.  Thus, depending on where you are, this may end up being a costly endeavor. 

But don’t misunderstand what I’m saying.  Cost is only one aspect to look at.  I love the look.  I love the sustainability.

People that design houses of this caliber deserve to charge a premium for their work.  That’s business. Speaking purely from the consumer side, if you’re barely getting by on utilities and want something that lowers those costs, this may not be the home for you.  If you drive a Prius and are doing pretty well for yourself, this might be the right thing for you.  For now, modern prefab will be a benefit to the mid to upper economic stratosphere, but it won’t stay that way forever. 

++BW Features Living Homes Prefab, CEO Steve Glenn