Garfield-based affordable homebuilding startup Module Design Inc. has opened the doors to its latest home model during a national future-of-housing event that’s taking place in Washington, D.C.
Module Co-Founder and CEO Brian Gaudio said the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development invited Module to take place in the 2023 Innovative Housing Showcase on the National Mall to highlight Module’s new all-electric Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU), a type of smaller home that can be placed on already-occupied housing lots depending on local zoning ordinances.
“You can place a home in the backyard that is smaller as an accessory dwelling unit; it’s a great tool for affordability,” Gaudio said. “HUD and the National Association of Homebuilders, which is hosting the show, they think that ADUs are the future as a tool for affordability.”
The ADU designed by Module meets the U.S. Department of Energy’s “Zero Energy Ready Home Program” standard, which requires that most, if not all, of a home’s annual energy consumption be offset by a renewable energy system. Module’s ADU features a kitchen and full bathroom packed into 275-square-feet of space and comes with an energy recovery ventilator to provide fresh air into the tightly sealed home.
Gaudio said the unit on display in Washington will cost a homebuyer roughly $100,000 to obtain. He said that cost would include the unit itself and not items like foundation work or utility hookups.
It’s the first time Module has designed and built an ADU, though it used the same modular-based construction techniques to build it for which the company lends its name. It marks the 14th home that Module has built since its founding in 2016.
ADUs are not permitted in Pittsburgh, a challenge Gaudio said he hopes Module will overcome after more elected officials see the potential benefit that these homes have in addressing the city’s housing shortage. He said Module already has interested customers for its ADU in Prince George’s County, Maryland.
Gaudio said Module built the home out of its local Last Mile Lab facility with help from students at the Trade Institute of Pittsburgh before the home got trucked down to the nation’s capital for its display as part of the multi-day event. Module is one of more than three dozen companies and organizations from around the country that are showcasing homes on the National Mall for the event.