California Gets Instant, Eco-Friendly School Buildings

Let the pre-fab invasion begin. ZETA Communities, a Bay Area-based green building startup, created its first net-zero modular demonstration home last year. Now the company has finished a 91,000-square-foot net zero energy factory, dubbed “z-Fab,” and is moving from the home market to commercial buildings. Its next job is to build three schools in California: the Davis Waldorf School, the Live Oak School District Child Development Center, and Tierra Pacifica K-8 Charter School.

ZETA’s first prefab school building, a 4,000-square-foot structure for the Davis Waldorf School in Davis, CA, was built in just four weeks. It incorporates skylights, Energy Star lighting fixtures, dual-flush toilets, an Energy Star rated cool roof, and eventually, a green roof. According to ZETA, the prefab model is a no-brainer for school districts–offsite fabrication and installation can be completed in 50% less time and with 20% less cost than traditional site-built structures.

This is just the beginning of ZETA’s foray into the educational market. “ZETA isworking on product development innovations with our
architectural partners for continuous improvement in our school products,” says Naomi Porat, ZETA’s CEO. “ZETA
will be testing a variety of high performance and high indoor air quality
materials and mechanical systems for our school projects. While our focus is on
permanent classroom solutions, we also have developed a high quality,
affordable portable facility.”

Don’t be surprised, then, to see ZETA classroom facilities pop up in disaster-stricken locations or other areas where temporarily learning facilities are needed.


Ariel Schwartz can be reached on Twitter or by email.