The use of modular in commercial and residential construction is well established. But as modular continues to prompt significant advances in the construction process, new industries are embracing the increasingly mainstream building method as a greener, more cost-effective, and efficient solution. Here we’ll shed some light on a few industries that are taking modular building techniques in new directions.
The growing demand for cheap, reliable, and abundant energy has led to the U.S. expanding its nuclear facilities. This growth in nuclear power has resulted in a U.S. investment in standardized modular nuclear reactors that are capable of generating enough power to run 45,000 homes.
In-factory construction is more efficient than onsite construction, so multiple reactors can be delivered within a short time. Construction and operating costs of these small nuclear reactors (SMRs) makes them more cost-efficient than traditional large-scale reactors. And standardized modular design means they be returned to the factory for dismantling after use — a big plus given the hazards related to nuclear waste.
Yes, modular for residential is not new. But Ideabox, an Oregon-based modular home company, is turning the modular home paradigm on its head with the Aktiv, a Swedish-inspired prefabricated home that was designed around IKEA furniture. For about $86,000, this 745-square-foot residence is equipped with eco-friendly materials and energy-efficient appliances.
Ideabox’s prefabricated home is an example of just how far modular has come. Due to the modular nature of the home, the Aktiv is more eco-friendly, efficient, cost-effective and sturdier than traditionally built homes. Ideabox isn’t the only company getting in on the action. Residential modular homes are gaining in popularity in the U.S., including luxury homes.
Modular is also seeing new use for infrastructure, as in the case of repairing Boston’s River Street Bridge. Traditional construction for a bridge repair commonly involves time delays, increased traffic congestion, expense overruns, and other unforeseen issues. Using a technique called “accelerated bridge construction”, months, if not years, were deducted from the building process. With this type of modular construction, the bridge is created in a factory and delivered to the site. It is then moved into place and secured over the original bridge’s substructure, usually in just a few days.
With more industries exploring new ways to use modular construction, new efficiencies and cost savings will likely be realized across the modular spectrum. Have you seen modular construction used in an unconventional way? Let us know your thoughts.