Modular Building Institute

INDUSTRY HEADLINES | Summer 2010                                                                                                                             Archives

Breakthrough Modular Folding Technology
Green, Modular Town Homes Reshaping Industry
Developer and Architects Discover Greener Features Using Modular

Breakthrough Green, Modular Folding Technology  

Blu Homes' video of a Blu Element eco-friendly home unfolding at a customer site in Rhode Island.  Cold temperatures and two feet of snow were no deterrent.   A Blu Element home is also featured on the left.

Blu Homes, Inc., a Boston-based prefab design and manufacturing company, features unique new products that are a combination of modular and panelized buildings, connected by hinges. The new technology came out of Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2008. The idea was to create small homes and buildings that could unfold to create a wider space than the traditional 12’ or 14’ module. Blu units are factory-built and are able to ship at either 8 ½’ or 11 ½ ’ wide, which is under the typical 8 ½’ x 60’ legal shipping limit. Blu’s products then unfold to be up to two modules that are 17-21’ wide and 48’ long, with 16’ high ceilings. 

The units can also cost effectively ship anywhere in the country on one or two trucks. After the trucks arrive at their destination, Blu aims  to complete the home or small commercial building - including all finishes, fixtures, drywall patching, etc., (excluding utility connections and other site-driven work which needs to be completed by a general contractor), with just three workers in five days.

In addition, the company uses an advanced 3-D computer modeling system typically used in aerospace and automotive engineering–allowing for products that are customizable. The interactive features include Google Earth Site-ing to envision what the home will look like on a client’s lot, as well as a virtual walkthrough of the designed building. View the technology here.

All Blu homes and buildings are LEED certifiable. Buildings are designed to maximize the air flow and natural light and minimize toxins like formaldehyde and VOCs in its materials.  The foam insulation helps energy efficiency and minimizes opportunities for mold growth and makes the space quieter and vibration-resistant. Whenever possible, the company incorporates previously used materials into its buildings, and its off-site factory construction also allows them to reduce waste and use fewer materials overall – approximately 50% to 75% less waste during construction. They also choose products for durability and low maintenance – materials with longer lives mean less work for owners and less waste. In addition, they provide energy savings with efficient HVAC, fixtures and appliances, and energy monitoring systems that let clients know how much energy they’re using. Moreover, their proprietary steel & wood hybrid framing help make their homes “solar ready.” Blu also allows for water conservation by use of low-flow fixtures and have optional grey water, living roof, and rainwater catchment systems.

Blu Homes has built commercial buildings for corporations such as Warner Brothers, which bought four homes for use as dressing rooms and waiting areas for its Lopez Tonight Show.

The organization also purchased the intellectual assets of Michelle Kaufmann in 2009 and will be rolling out four mk Designs models, beginning later this year. 

For more information on Blu Homes, visit

Blu Homes is a member of the Modular Building Institute (MBI), the international trade association for commercial modular building.  For more information on MBI, visit

© Modular Building Institute. Images and media courtesy Blu Homes. All media copyright of their respective owners and no portion of this story may be reconstituted or printed without owner permission.


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