Inspired by the concept of making a sustainable lifestyle easier, GreenPod creates low-maintenance modular homes with healthy interiors.
Factory-built kits can be transported to a building site and easily assembled. Using state-of-the-art technology and materials, these homes have a small footprint and conserve both water and energy. The homes, including tree houses and floating homes, are customized to the site, have passive solar features and minimize site disturbance.
The walls, floor and roof of the homes use SIPs (Structurally Insulated Panels), with a rain shield on the exterior. “The homes are precut when they come out of the factory, so they can go up in a day or two on the site,” says Ann Raab, GreenPod’s founder. “SIPs are the best bang for your buck. Although they are slightly more expensive than a stick built home, SIPS have a short 2.7-year payback. They are stronger and straighter than wood, with no job waste [because the SIPs are precut]. Everything about SIPs delivers what we are trying to create.”
Raab has a vision to simplify green building, while making sustainable living affordable for the mainstream. GreenPod homes are customized to fit a variety of budgets, with optional features including: locally-crated furniture containing organic textiles, reclaimed building materials, solar panels and a biofilter refrigerator.
GreenPod embraces the concept "go small and go gorgeous," helping people to downsize with these space-efficient homes that cost between $150 and $200 per square foot. They offer a locally-made, multiple purpose furniture line that seamlessly integrates into these small spaces -- with stacking tables and beds that fold into the ceiling. In addition, the houses feature interior glass to visually enlarge spaces, movable walls, natural lighting and high-transom windows for privacy. To reduce the negative health impacts from the electromagnetic fields generated by some electronic devices, bedrooms have "kill switches" that cut power to specific outlets, creating healthy neutral zones.
Because of their energy efficient features and small size, the heat load of GreenPods is minimal. Raab recommends a ductless heat pump that heats, cools and filters the air efficiently or simple electric wall heaters. A renewable energy system can be installed to generate electricity.
High indoor air quality is another important feature of these houses. Because they have little air infiltration due to a tight building envelope, offgasing from furniture, toxic building supplies and finishes can have an amplified impact. Raab is diligent about using non-toxic materials, such as SIPs with formaldehyde-free glue, and providing sustainable furniture.
Because much of the construction work is realized in an enclosed factory, building site construction work is condensed and streamlined. GreenPod customizes home design for the building site and budget of the project, assists with the building code permitting process, helps coordinate delivery of the pod, and offers technical assistance as needed to the contractor. The contractor prepares the building site, lays the foundation, attaches to the pod to the foundation and makes any needed connections. Building and delivering the pod can take as little as 14 to 16 weeks, saving both time and money in the streamlined process.
GreenPod certainly provides a visionary green product to the market. "I'm excited to take building design and construction to a new level, while using the most innovative and natural materials, that will leave the smallest impact on the planet," says Raab.
Image credit: GreenPod
Sarah Lozanova is a regular contributor to environmental and energy publications and websites, including Mother Earth Living, Green Building & Design, Triple Pundit, Urban Farm, and Solar Today. Her experience includes work with small-scale solar energy installations and utility-scale wind farms. She earned an MBA in sustainable management from the Presidio Graduate School and she resides in Belfast Cohousing & Ecovillage in Midcoast Maine with her husband and two children.
Sarah Lozanova is an environmental journalist and copywriter and has worked as a consultant to help large corporations become more sustainable. She is the author of Humane Home: Easy Steps for Sustainable & Green Living, and her renewable energy experience includes residential and commercial solar energy installations. She teaches green business classes to graduate students at Unity College and holds an MBA in sustainable management from the Presidio Graduate School.