White Pine - The Sustainable Real Estate Journal

Sustainable Design Principles and Innovation,
Merging Building Technology with the Forces of Nature

Net Zero Energy Modular Construction

by Don Kulak

The current state of the sustainable development industry is, in my opinion, fragmented and lacking cohesion and synergy. There are many variables to consider when developing a truly sustainable building development. Rather than trying to position a product or service as the ultimate solution, it is best to consider how each component integrates into the whole, and complements other designs and technologies.

This is time consuming and confusing given the sheer volume of information on sustainable building and land/water management that is available today. Moreover, these products/services are usually presented with a certain degree of bias towards the company delivering their message.

White Pine Journal recently interviewed John Rowland at S2A Modular, a manufacturer of turn key modular homes that are truly sustainable, on many levels. Solar panels account for 100% of electric needs. During extended periods without sun, Tesla Powerwalls efficiently store enough energy for about 2 days’ worth of continuous backup power for each Powerwall.

These low voltage, low amp batteries work on a 30-amp circuit, and are specifically designed to power an entire house, including demanding power usages such as starting up air conditioning compressors. To ensure optimal efficiency, these homes are also divided into zones which reduces electrical demand in unused rooms.

These buildings are perfect for off grid applications. However, if the building is connected to a power utility, net metering will enable the owner to sell excess electricity back to the utility at wholesale rates. Modular construction has three main benefits over traditional construction.

Cost to build at the factory is less than on site construction.
It takes less time to build in a controlled environment
Unfinished materials are not exposed to the elements during construction
In order to better visualize the end result, a 2,600 square foot S2A home required 18 rooftop solar panels and two Tesla Powerwalls, with each being approximately 3 feet tall, 2 feet wide, and 5 inches deep. A 9,000 square foot 4-plex consisted of 16 modular pieces with interior finishing completed before being shipped to the site.

Each S2A modular home also comes with a gray water system which diverts shower and sink into the yard for irrigation purposes. This reduces water bills and is less taxing on sewer systems.

When it is all said and done, these buildings are about 30% faster to construct and cost about 10 – 20% less than conventional building when you take everything into account. The cost per square foot is $165 completely finished inside and out, including solar panels, batteries, and gray water systems.

Net Zero Energy Modular Construction

by Don Kulak

The current state of the sustainable development industry is, in my opinion, fragmented and lacking cohesion and synergy. There are many variables to consider when developing a truly sustainable building development. Rather than trying to position a product or service as the ultimate solution, it is best to consider how each component integrates into the whole, and complements other designs and technologies.

This is time consuming and confusing given the sheer volume of information on sustainable building and land/water management that is available today. Moreover, these products/services are usually presented with a certain degree of bias towards the company delivering their message.

White Pine Journal recently interviewed John Rowland at S2A Modular, a manufacturer of turn key modular homes that are truly sustainable, on many levels. Solar panels account for 100% of electric needs. During extended periods without sun, Tesla Powerwalls efficiently store enough energy for about 2 days’ worth of continuous backup power for each Powerwall.

These low voltage, low amp batteries work on a 30-amp circuit, and are specifically designed to power an entire house, including demanding power usages such as starting up air conditioning compressors. To ensure optimal efficiency, these homes are also divided into zones which reduces electrical demand in unused rooms.

These buildings are perfect for off grid applications. However, if the building is connected to a power utility, net metering will enable the owner to sell excess electricity back to the utility at wholesale rates. Modular construction has three main benefits over traditional construction.

Cost to build at the factory is less than on site construction.
It takes less time to build in a controlled environment
Unfinished materials are not exposed to the elements during construction
In order to better visualize the end result, a 2,600 square foot S2A home required 18 rooftop solar panels and two Tesla Powerwalls, with each being approximately 3 feet tall, 2 feet wide, and 5 inches deep. A 9,000 square foot 4-plex consisted of 16 modular pieces with interior finishing completed before being shipped to the site.

Each S2A modular home also comes with a gray water system which diverts shower and sink into the yard for irrigation purposes. This reduces water bills and is less taxing on sewer systems.

When it is all said and done, these buildings are about 30% faster to construct and cost about 10 – 20% less than conventional building when you take everything into account. The cost per square foot is $165 completely finished inside and out, including solar panels, batteries, and gray water systems.