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September 2017

Stackable, smart homes offer accessibility affordability "for everyone"

Blokable Multi-Family Home and Floating Home photosStudents, teachers, low-income families and the homeless are among initial targets for a Seattle-based company that manufactures affordable, stackable smart homes.

"Our mission is to make housing accessible and affordable for everyone," says Aaron Holm, a former project manager at Amazon who founded Blokable in 2016. He says he was inspired in part by his long-time fascination with shipping containers.

The units, known as "Bloks" are made of steel at a factory in Vancouver, Wash., and come in lengths from 18 feet to 38 feet. The LEED-ready units may be delivered to job sites as move-in ready building blocks and can be stacked to four stories high.

All units are smart-home enabled with a "BlokSense" control platform so homeowners can easily manage electric, water, temperature, lighting, and security systems through an online dashboard.

Blokable's configurable, connectable modules allow for the creation of single- or multi-story studios, apartments, common spaces and support buildings.

Customers may add basic and premium bathrooms and kitchens, along with stairs, railings, window units or other modular additions. Various upgrades are available. The price per square foot is expected to range from $150 to $300, with finished units projected to cost between $25,000 and $100,000, depending on size.

The Blokable team calls the current built environment an "artificial construct." They believe their company with its "fully integrated design, engineering, and manufacturing yield better quality and will help municipalities and housing nonprofits meet the housing challenges facing cities. Another advantage they cite is the inclusion of modern technology in each Blok.

"For developers, our system give them a competitive advantage, reducing project time which saves huge amounts of money, and giving them a model they can scale," Holm states on the company's website.

The year-old company plans an initial output of 25 units per month, and expects to be able to multiply that output as demand rises. Its first few projects are focused on emergency housing for the homeless.