ZETA Communities isn’t wasting any time in rolling out its “net zero energy” modular multi-family homes in California. The San Francisco-based startup, which opened a 91,000 square foot net zero housing factory late year, is already working on 132 factory-built housing units. The goal is to build 2,800 housing units in four factories by 2013–an objective made significantly easier by a $5 million venture capital investment this week from Black Coral Capital. That brings ZETA’s total funding to $10 million.
The company claims that its homes offer a number of advantages for
energy-minded customers : ZETA’s modular housing uses 40-60% less
overall energy than traditional homes thanks in part to a passive solar
design, energy-efficient windows, and strong insulation.
In the short-term, ZETA mostly plans to stick to the multi-family housing niche. The company has already build a townhouse in Berkeley, and it is working on numerous 310 to 340 square-foot studios in San Francisco and Berkeley lots. Zeta also recently built a seed and plant lab at the Presidio Stewardship and Sustainability Center in San Francisco.
ZETA does have some competition in the energy-efficient modular home market. Clayton Homes’ modular i-house, for example, also boasts efficiency and low cost. Unlike Clayton, however, Zeta sells its wares directly to developers and architects looking to turn existing projects into modular designs.
And ZETA eventually plans to use its newfound cash to expand outside
of its multifamily housing comfort zone and into low-energy modular schools, public
housing, mixed-use buildings, student housing, and even military base
conversion. All ambitious stuff, but we’ll reserve our judgment until Zeta rolls out its multi-family homes en masse.