Green Building – Plus House

Posted on March 30th, 2010 in +PlusItBack Get Green & Healthy, All Articles, Green Housing.

In this market one issue is mission critical for buyers. Price. How many builders can offer a home under $150 per square foot that hits a 400 point number on the Chicago Permit Green Score and is finished in luxury finishes with a great modern look?

I am committed to offering the “Green” attributes of energy efficiency, and environment smart materials  and the Healthy attributes in  a home like low VOC paint and Foam insulation at a great price.

Why should a buyer who is focused on frugality and spending what they might on a duplex condo to buy a home have to compromise quality? I want families to stay in Chicago, to fill out schools and streets…to live “better” lives in healthy homes that are bright, full of sunlight and are highly energy efficient… and the way to do this is to offer system built quality and deliver it without a “markup” where the builder pockets the savings.

I believe the condo-buyer who can afford a “luxury” condo “duplex” (which is typically what couples who have kids live in if they are in a condo, if not a townhome) should also be able to afford a green, healthier single family home? This pricing of $150 per sf or less delivers on that promise.

Quality construction and  luxury finishes are not exclusive to  “luxury homes”. Luxury features are and should be available to all. Green aspects of homes should be made affordable. Modern style should be made affordable. Healthy home features (no voc/low voc, solar chimneys, air purifiers, etc.) should be affordable.

The quality of modular homes-which are “system built” in a temperature controlled environment is at or above a “stick built” home that is typically built on site.I am surprised that these homes have not “caught on” because the advantages are so utterly clear.

Caring about quality and greener homes that have healthier and more affordability I have dug into this issue. I have read alot and now gotten out to tour these system built manufacturers. I have been very impressed each and every time at the lack of waste, at the consistency, and the ideal working environments.

Having General Contracted and personally wired, plumbed, framed, drywalled, etc my own personal home(s) and worked with dozens of developers over my seven years in Real Estate selling 75 million  I know quality when I see it. And… I like to see it and sell quality–you make an impact if you do things right.

I see major cost savings in building the modular way–and I see a healthier, dryer, quality-built and precision home that will be more efficient, straighter and built faster on a very predictable budget.  Tony Kovach of the Sun Times March 26th issue hits on many of these points–it’s about time the “mainstream” media delivered the obvious fact.  He points out that system built homes are “stronger, smarter, safer, stylish and saves money”. And he points out that “all” home builders – factory or “stick built” use factory-made components to erect their homes.

Another point of momentum of getting the word out about these homes  is the wide popularity of Dwell magazine and their popularization of the modular movement. Their website is a great resource for all of us who want to share and create… but their website is also all about “higher priced” designed modular. Most of their homes are not built under $150 per square foot. There are few builders offering a good, solid green home product that has a healthier home package for under $150 per sf. … This is why we have worked tirelessly to develop the +Plus House.

Then we have the arrival of a new book that is out this month “Prefabulous + Sustainable” (Amrams $25) takes on the old, tired idea that “factory built” homes are somehow inferior. This confusion comes from trailer homes, which are of course, factory built.  But trailer homes have nothing to do with “Mod’s” or “System Built Homes” .  System Built homes are shipped to the site and secured to the foundation–but are built in a temperature controlled space.

I have toured these “factories” lately and I have seen quality that I have not seen on the typical “stick built” sites. This quality is a result of building in an ideal environment.  When I have toured “stick built” sites I have seen rain drenched, mudded, humidity soaked building sites where insulation, subfloors, lumbed are soaked. In a 65 degree factory space you don’t have those elements to disrupt productivity, quality of materials and healthy aspects of the home (wet insulation, etc). The obvious advantages are immediate, logical and obvious to all.

In my opinion mistakes are made on “stick built” homes at a high  rate .  And, cost overruns are far more likely. Further, stick built homes are usually inspected less. A system built home — is checked at each and every station in most cases. Thus, the framers are inspected before the house “rolls” onto the electrical team’s station. Then electrical manager inspects quality before it rolls forward to the plumbing team’s station.  Etc.

If you would like to learn more about modular quality simple google manufactured homes and read about the hundreds of studies.