Episode 34: Sustainable Prefab: the Wave of the Future
This week on the Everybody in the Pool pod, Steve Glenn, founder and former CEO of Plant Prefab, on his journey from tech guy to housing designer to super-automated prefab factories.
We’re back to buildings on the podcast this week. I’ve talked on the show before about how buildings and the built environment are responsible for a huge amount of global carbon emissions and energy demand—almost 40 percent—by some estimates.
In fact, in 2022, when we were all focused on other things, a UN report noted that although the buildings and construction industry has made some investments in energy efficiency and more sustainable processes, its emissions have dramatically exceeded its gains. In fact, they hit an all-time high after a brief dip during the pandemic.
My podcast guest this week, Steve Glenn, has been working on more sustainable and energy-efficient housing designs since 2006, when he helped build the first LEED Platinum-certified house in the world (where he happens to live now), and in the process, started a sustainable housing design company called Living Homes.
As he tells me on the show, Living Homes started as a prefab housing design firm and outsourced its building to factories around the world, but he eventually determined that in-sourcing housing production—and building super high-tech automated factories for maximum efficiency and sustainability—was the only way to go.
So he founded a new company called Plant Prefab that specializes in multi-unit housing, like condos and apartment buildings—helping solve another one of housing’s sustainability problems, which is that denser housing is more carbon-efficient than single-family homes.
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