Greenfab is a Seattle-based developer of modern, sustainable, prefabricated homes. In 2010, it made news for installing Washington State’s first prefab, modular home to earn LEED Platinum certification. Since then, it has built affordable, energy efficient, and beautiful single and multifamily modular dwellings.
It took less than six hours to install this 1700-square-foot home Greenfab completed in Seattle’s Greenwood neighborhood. The home’s four modules, constructed in the company’s offsite production facility in Burlington, were delivered and then assembled atop a foundation with a full basement. The home offers ample living space with three bedrooms and two bathrooms, as well as a lower-level massage studio, and a mother-in-law apartment outfitted with a kitchen, laundry, and full bath, suitable for use as a short- or long-term rental.
Founder and president Johnny Hartsfield describes installation days as “some of my favorite days ever.” It’s the culmination of the building process and a celebration that is equal parts construction feat, neighborhood block party, and housewarming reception. “Installation day is one of the most gratifying aspects of my job,” Hartsfield said.
Greenfab aims to be a one-stop shop that makes the process as simple as possible for homeowners and guides them through every step of the process, including site selection and analysis, project feasibility, permitting, home design, project management, module fabrication, and installation. Hartsfield and his staff maintain a network of real estate brokers, architects, contractors, and designers who are experienced in modular home construction.
Though the process can take about five months, Hartsfield says that most homebuyers find it to be faster, less stressful, and more rewarding than conventional building methods. “Because we build in the factory, all the decisions are made at the start of the project. It’s more intensive initially, but once homebuyers make their selections, they can feel more confident in the project budget, as they know all their costs upfront,” Hartsfield said. After that, homeowners can simply anticipate installation day.
At the outset of each project, Hartsfield introduces himself to neighboring homeowners and offers them a letter describing Greenfab’s modular construction process. He gives them his cellphone number in case they have questions or concerns. Hartsfield said that, for the most part, neighbors appreciate that the process yields considerably less construction noise and traffic. They look forward to installation day, and often bring their children to watch the cranes in action, he said. Greenfab even supplies a tent with coffee and cookies and hard hats to wear for fun.
In addition to simplifying the home-building process, sustainability is at the core of Greenfab’s mission. In 2010, Greenfab worked with HyBrid Architecture to build Washington state’s first LEED Platinum certified modular home.
Hartsfield said that Greenfab’s clients for the 1700-series home in Greenwood were very focused on energy efficiency and sought to minimize the home’s operating costs. An energy model determined that the biggest gains could be made through investing in triple-pane windows instead of increasing wall insulation. The home’s mechanical systems are designed to be energy efficient and cost effective. They include ductless mini-splits heating and cooling units, which are healthier because they offer improved air quality and can cut energy use by 30 percent. Other efficiencies include radiant wall heaters and an energy recovery ventilator that exhausts contaminants, cycles in fresh air, and circulates heated or cooled air. The bathrooms feature energy-efficient NuHeat radiant floor mats and a GE Hybrid Heat Pump water heater, which reduces heating expenses by about two-thirds.
“One thing I really love about this home is that it has a small footprint but feels expansive because of an open floor plan and large, south-facing windows. Inside, it’s bright and airy,” Hartsfield said.
Architect HyBrid Architecture
Interior Design Modernous