All Blu Homes models, which Container House range from 633 to 3,600 feet, are net-zero energy-efficient and built as much as possible with toxin-free materials. Then there are the motion-sensing faucets, electric car chargers, and state-of-the-art air-filtration system to remove allergens. And with their recycled steel frames, Blu Houses are designed to withstand pretty much any disaster-prone weather that climate change can throw at us.
On a website labeled Columbia House Record Club, the launch is hinted at with an image of a vinyl record on a turntable and the caption "coming soon." The site adds, "One of the most iconic names in music will return in 2016."
Columbia House -- best known for its teaser offers of tapes, records and eventually CDs for next to nothing -- reinvented itself in the 90s as a DVD service, but filed for bankruptcy this year. Parent company Filmed Entertainment filed for bankruptcy protection in a Manhattan court in August, owing as much as $10 million.
Think of IdeaBox as the Ikea of prefab houses. The company refers to the iconic furnishings company in its mission statement, which makes designing your dream house sound as easy and fun as playing with Legos. Having celebrated its 20th birthday, IdeaBox has been in the prefab eco-box biz longer than most; it started as a tiny-house designer in Salem, Oregon. Today the customizable full-size Confluence line offers three models, including the latest c.3, which has grown to offer three bedrooms and up to three baths. The design options for IdeaBox homes are extensive, but sustainable bamboo flooring, VOC-free paint, and energy-efficient construction are universal.
Announced during last year’s Modernism week in Palm Springs, California, Method Homes’ new Paradigm prefab home promises net-zero water and energy use through an extensive array of strategies, from airtight construction and high-efficiency heating and cooling to passive solar. There are three Paradigm models, ranging from a studio at 656 square feet to a roomy three-bedroom at 1,868 square feet, with plenty of design options thanks to the flexibility of the customizable modular block structure. Based in Seattle, Method Homes recently added a New York office and a Pennsylvania manufacturing center to service the East Coast. Method offers net-zero sustainability in many of the company’s other designs as well, and since its founding in 2012 it has won numerous green building accolades, including a 2013 Green Washington award.
If anything, the three lines of modular homes available from Minneapolis-based Hive Modular are even more modern in design than Method’s Paradigm, a grid of sleek rectangles that can be configured to sit neatly on a narrow urban lot or spread across a sprawling suburban plot. Spray-in foam insulation, radiant heat flooring, on-demand water heaters, and a host of other energy-saving solutions make Hive homes über-efficient. Instead of copper pipes, plumbing consists of corrosion-resistant PEX tubing, which can be installed without lead solder and doesn’t lose heat as fast as copper. Hive works with buyers to achieve whatever level of sustainability they desire, including obtaining LEED certification. The Mobile Toilet company also installs solar, geothermal, and rainwater collection systems on demand.