What, why, and how.
June 8, 2016
Welcome to the first Cover blog post. This first entry will go over our mission, why it's important, and how our approach is different from what's been done before.
First, a bit about us: Cover is a technology company founded in 2014 that designs and builds quality custom homes. Our mission is to make living in a thoughtfully designed and well-built home a reality for everyone. Homes that improve people's daily lives, reflect our modern way of living, embrace progress, and are uncompromising in their design and performance.
The spaces we live in have a profound impact on us and our environment, yet the way they are designed and built has remained largely unchanged in the last century. Nearly all homes are still built on-site using stick-frame construction with hammers and nails. The design process is more fragmented than ever, with a traditional custom home design requiring the involvement of architects, engineers, consultants, suppliers, general contractors, and subcontractors. This results in an extraordinarily (and unnecessarily) expensive build process, and makes progress and innovation difficult.
There is also the pressing environmental issue of material and energy waste, both in the construction process and throughout the lifetime of a building. Buildings today account for 40% of global energy usage and 30% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Moving the construction process into a factory reduces 80% of material waste and allows us to make spaces that are 80% more energy efficient.
We are not the first to work on a better way of building homes — whether it's Buckminster Fuller's 1930 Dymaxion house or current prefab home builders such as BluHomes. And it's no secret that apart from some minor successes, none of these attempts have changed the industry. Our approach is different from any other prefab, design-build, architecture, or engineering firm that has ever existed.
Up until now, prefabrication has been viewed as a compromise, not a replacement for thoughtful, custom, architect-designed homes. It has always been assumed that building a home needs to be choosing a pre-designed model from a catalog of limited options, or going through the traditional laborious custom design process — a process that usually spans several months and ends up over budget with subpar build quality. This tiring, expensive, and time consuming process is why most homeowners never build a custom home.
Our approach is uncompromising. We embrace the differences in how people live, and understand that good design is specific to each person's needs and property. This is why we are developing the technology to create unique, highly tailored, precision-built homes through an experience as effortless as choosing something from a catalog. In fact, our homes will be more responsive to their environment than designs today; we leverage sun path and geospatial data to computationally optimize wall and window placements for superior interior light conditions and optimal energy performance. Furthermore, because of our shortened design process we'll be able to offer people a more interactive and engaging design experience that will result in homes that more closely suit their unique way of living.
And when it comes to manufacturing, we're not just moving the traditional construction process into a factory. We're redesigning the details that make up a home to take advantage of the precision possible in a controlled environment. This allows us to build homes that are 80% more energy efficient than the average new home, and where no detail is overlooked. It's this combination of design optimization and precision manufacturing that will allow us to make the experience of living in a Cover home better than even the most luxurious homes available today.
Yet our long-term goal is to make thoughtfully designed and well-built homes for everyone, not just the high-end market. This means significantly lowering costs from our first premium product, which is priced on par with high-end home construction today ($250-375 / sq.ft.) to make it affordable for a mass market. We will do this by reinvesting profits towards the research and development of an even more efficient design software, building system, and manufacturing process.
A world where we've succeeded is a world where everyone is able to live in beautiful, healthy, functional spaces tailored to their specific way of living. A world where buildings enhance our environment, not consume its resources. None of this is easy, but it's important, and that's why we're doing it.
More to come soon.
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