Greening in Pieces

Blu Homes brings sustainability to the prefab market through its proven, efficient manufacturing platform.

Who: Blu Homes is a specialized eco-friendly builder focused on designing, producing and delivering beautiful prefabricated green homes suitable for a wide range of buyers. Maura McCarthy serves as vice president of sales and marketing and Bill Haney is the company president.  Prior to co-founding Blu, McCarthy was in the venture funding business with ties to both sustainability and modular housing. Haney enters the equation with a seasoned background in environmental technologies.

Blu Home currently has 80 employees, with plans to double its staff in 2011. Blu sold 35 homes in 2010, is on target to sell 80 in 2011, and has a very scalable process to allow it to continue growing.  “The US home building market represents huge opportunities. We are positioned in a way to produce a product that meets a client need,” she says. “The challenge moving forward is not finding clients, it will be filling our talent needs. Within Blu there is understandably a great deal of excitement about how fast we are growing and the great number of geographies we have been able to touch so quickly.”

What: Blu Home’s claim to fame is its truly unique line of prefabricated green homes, which capitalize on the use of a proven, efficient and environmentally-friendly manufacturing platform. “We did a lot of research as to why prefab has traditionally failed, and often it was the result of a narrow vision and the lack of a scalable platform,” says McCarthy.  “With our homes all Americans can have access to a beautifully designed, personalized, cool custom home that is reasonably priced.”

The average unit sale at Blu Homes is $230,000. There is a balance between a number of $150,000-200,000 units as well as a grouping between $300,000-550,000. Square footage ranges from 400-2300 square feet. Green components include ultra light, yet highly durable recycled steel framing system; rigid foam insulation, heat recovery ventilators and element controlled construction processes for exceptional air quality; radiant floor heating standard throughout all designs to save on energy consumption; high ceilings combined with walls of windows for natural lighting; high efficiency appliances; and cabinets with the highest Greenguard® certification

When: Although incorporated in 2007, Blu Homes took root when its co-founders funded a two-year study at Rhode Island School of Design in 2005-2006. The goal was to look at different ways of building beautiful light filled smaller homes with energy economics. “The feeling was that Americans were overleveraging themselves,” McCarthy says. “We wanted to find a new path to healthy building including indoor air quality. The outcome of the study was to build off-site structures.”

Where: With offices in Boston and San Francisco, Blu Homes has delivered homes to thirteen states, the Virgin Islands, and recently received its first Canadian order. The company has a well-established network of highly trained representatives, and realistic goals to continually expand the operation into new waters.

Why: “We noticed a big opportunity to do something that was more streamlined, thoughtfully designed, more in line with values of indoor-outdoor living,” says McCarthy. “We wanted smaller spaces with higher ceilings, large windows – but not energy sucking houses. There is an interesting dynamic now, where people are going back to basics in parts of their lives yet using high technology to give themselves more time and freedom.”

How: When purchasing a Blu Home, clients are never left to fend for themselves, explains McCarthy. “We take pride in the fact that the client experience is consistent and pleasurable with one company representative staying in contact with the client from beginning to end,” she says. “With Blu Homes, you are never alone. We walk you through each step – purchasing land, selecting the best model, financing, etc.”

The process usually takes six months and includes a 3D representation of the house on the client’s land prior to the client making a final commitment. After all personalization is complete, Blu Homes commits to a final fixed price, and then goes on to handle permitting, fabrication, and delivery using its in-house staff. “We also help coordinate with the local site contractor for foundation, utility connections, driveway and landscape,” says McCarthy.


This article appears in Green Building and Design, October 2011



  1. Greening in Pieces – Peter Fretty | Peter Fretty | Self Sufficiency | Home Efficiency - [...] manufacturing platform. “We did a lot of research as to why … … View post: Greening in…

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