Blu Homes, a startup which makes eco-friendly modular homes, has raised a large round of $60 million, led by Skagen Group in the Netherlands. The four-year-old company bought the designs and intellectual property from Michelle Kaufmann Designs a few years back, and sells a variety of modular homes that are both more energy efficient and more sustainable in their construction than most traditional homes. (Our Q&A with architect Michelle Kaufman back in 2009).
Blu Home’s houses are built in a factory in Vallejo, Calif, and then shipped to the customer’s chosen location and assembled on site. That means the time it takes to fully construct the house is a whole lot faster than traditional methods, and it’s also much more efficient in terms of materials and water usage. The homes themselves also have energy efficient lighting and cooling systems, and can come with solar panels. Blu Homes says buying one of their homes over a more traditionally-built home can drop a family’s carbon footprint, and energy and water use by 70 percent.
Customers of Blu Homes might not even be interested in the green aspects of the homes. They’re also reasonably priced — in the hundreds of thousands of dollars range — and beautifully designed. Modular homes are more of a status symbol in Japan or the Netherlands than in the U.S, given in the U.S. the historic trend is bigger is better (and mobile home usually means trailer). But with the recession, as well as a new generation of urban families, smaller pre-fab homes could become a growing trend.
However, the green construction market has been a difficult one. Serious Energy has struggled in recent months,