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Clever Homes and Toby Long Design are an architecture, planning and design firm based in California. They specialize in the construction of unique prefab and modular buildings and their designs frequently incorporate green roofs, water catchment systems and other off-grid features.
What makes them green?
Clever Homes design and build homes that are certifiably green, qualifying for LEED, Greenpoint, Build-It-Green and other certifications. Panel technology, steel framing, and recycled materials are used in some models, which helps to keep environmental impact low. They also make sure to use healthy materials, with no VOCs and many products that have a high recycled content and are cradle-to-cradle (C2C) certified.
Solar panels and alternative energy systems are available for incorporation into the design and Clever Homes love to build net-zero homes.
Although they work with a range of suppliers, their sample catalogue lists Bosch, Wolf, and other eco-friendly appliance manufacturers as options for your new eco-home. They also list Flor as an option for carpeting. This company makes eco-friendly carpet products including low VOC, toxic-chemical-free recycled rugs and carpet tiles.
Most of Clever Homes clients are in California, so if you live elsewhere, they may not be the company for you. That said, Clever Homes have also been working with clients across the U.S. for almost a decade and have done work in other countries too.
What else is great about Clever Homes?
Clever Homes offer support for design, engineering, permitting, and construction, through an integrated system they have continued developing over two decades. This makes them one of the more experienced firms in the prefab industry.
What kind of eco-friendly prefab homes do they build?
The Clever Homes approach begins with your ideas and dreams, then they use their templates to adapt prefab designs to meet your needs and your budget. No two designs end up the same, but Clever Homes suggest budgeting $175-$225 per sq. ft. for the prefab building itself, and budget at least as much again for the total cost of your project (accounting for fees, permits, site work, transportation, setting, and finishing and landscaping). So, a 2000 sq. ft. home would cost around $750,000-$900,000.
Who are Clever Homes and why should you trust them?
Clever Homes have an open-source construction practice, meaning that they’re transparent about who they work with to construct the prefab and modular pieces of your home.
Toby Long, the architect behind Clever Homes, has a wealth of experience in creating prefabricated homes, particularly tiny homes such as the MiniHome and NowHouse. In interviews and comments left online, Long has demonstrated a commitment to “better materials equals a better construction process equals a better end-product” and notes that the affordable housing market is perfect for this paradigm shift, given that ‘cheaper’ housing projects and homes often have huge costs of ownership that do not help residents or communities in the long-run.