US modular housing start-up Vantem is planning to build 15 factories in the US to produce affordable and energy-efficient homes following a successful funding round led by Breakthrough Energy Ventures (BEV), a firm set up by Microsoft founder Bill Gates to accelerate low-carbon projects.
Founded in 2020, the North Carolina-based company has already made more than 280,000 sq m of modular units for apartment buildings and single-family homes in Uruguay, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia and the Caribbean.
The modules are based on large structural panels, made from a ceramic-like material, that are fireproof and highly insulated. According to Vantem, its modular units are hurricane and earthquake-resistant, and result in projects that are around 50% faster to deliver and 20% cheaper than conventionally-built housing.
The aim now is to expand in the US over the next seven years with factories capable of producing almost 100,000 sq m of homes a year.
Chris Anderson, the chief executive of Ventem, commented: “We are excited to have the support of investors who share in our goal of meeting affordable housing needs while reducing energy and carbon emissions impacts.
“Construction in this sector has seen the least amount of innovation and productivity gains and is one of the greatest direct and indirect sources of carbon emissions. At the same time, affordable housing is a global need that must be addressed, but if we build with traditional methods, we will solve one problem only to worsen another. At Vantem, we are committed to addressing both challenges on a global scale.”
Carmichael Roberts, an executive at BEV added: “With their proven track record in South America and the Caribbean, we’re confident that the Vantem team can scale their modular approach to ensure homes everywhere can be energy efficient.”
Vantem will build the factories as joint ventures with developers, using its own system to make them net-zero.