Tech Nation talks sustainable design

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In a new Tech Nation podcast, architect Michelle Kaufmann talks about sustainable modular design. Ah, but what does that mean? To hear Michelle describe it, this approach to architecture is thoughtful and efficient, designed with you and the environment in mind. It’s also the approach Michelle took when publishing her book, Prefab Green, with (you guessed it) Blurb. (As fate would have it, Blurb is also a sometime sponsor of Tech Nation.)

In the interview, Dr. Moira Gunn asks the question we all want answered, but are too shy to ask: How is “sustainable modular design” different from the mobile homes and tract houses of yore? Michelle explains that sustainable modular homes are architect-designed to be elegant, green-friendly and energy-efficient. They’re then manufactured in combinable segments (“modules”) using new technologies, precision cutting, and controlled conditions to avoid waste and save time.

Sounds grand, but how does it work in practice? The architect’s first modular home, the acclaimed Glide House, started out as a traditional site-built house that took 14 months to build. When her firm Michelle Kaufmann Designs created a modular version of the house for a client, it took only 4 months, and cost 20% less. To get the details – and find out how Michelle’s work with Frank Gehry informs her outlook – you’ll have to listen to the podcast, my friend.

When the time came to capture her sustainable approach in print, Michelle had plenty of offers from traditional publishers to release her book. But she says Blurb’s print-on-demand approach won her over because it allows her to avoid waste, update the book often, and make it accessible and affordable for everyone. (Check out the sneak preview.) Congratulations on your book, Michelle – we’re duly honored.

prefab Tech Nation talks sustainable design

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