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Sustainable home building is most frequently executed by modular builders or architects of off-grid homes that generate their own power, but production builders have been slow to catch on. Production home builders typically take on multiple projects at once, and in a race to deliver more affordable housing across the U.S., many are slowly discovering that they benefit from offsite construction, The Washington Post reports.

Modular home building not only reduces the waste and demand for labor associated with a single-family project, but it also allows builders to complete homes quickly and efficiently. Van Metre Homes, a Northern Virginia-based home builder, recently put this idea into practice by completing its second “POWERhaus” modular constructed townhouse in Chantilly, Va., which the company hopes will serve as a prototype for future production home building.

“We’ve had a factory in Winchester, Virginia, since 2008 where we build roof trusses and wall trusses, so we wanted to do more in a factory setting for greater efficiency,” says Mike Sandkuhler, vice president of building operations for Van Metre Homes, based in Ashburn, Va. “Also, most people in the building industry understand that the skilled labor shortage we’re all experiencing isn’t disappearing. Modular construction can help us manage that shortage.”

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