Archive for July, 2010

Green Modular Buildings

July 27th, 2010

As part of its Long Term Plan, Modern Building System, Inc. is dedicated to leading the way for sustainable building practices for the K-12 school districts we serve. We have dedicated our resources to helping our customers by providing within our company structure the highest level of “green” oversight possible. Our High Performance series of modular buildings are being developed in cooperation with many of our current customers. These buildings integrate the features listed below in an economical manner to provide outstanding value to local communities. Never before has the requirement to build resource-efficient, healthy schools been more important. In response, our company is motivated to educate school decision makers, facilities staff, designers, and others to fund, design, and build high performing schools, with our focus being to provide multi-room automated complexes. When compared to standard site built construction, the cost savings to the District and thus the taxpayer can be more than 50% of the cost of a site built structure with a corresponding savings in the time required to have the building in place and operational.

Modern has been concerned with energy conservation and sustainability practices for many years. In 1995, Modern Building Systems was commissioned by the US Department of Energy in conjunction with the University of Oregon to design, build and monitor four modular classrooms. Each building in this program was given a conceptual performance enhancement during construction and had additional monitoring equipment installed to evaluate the heating and cooling performance of the building. A cost analysis was performed on each building at the end of the evaluation period to find which design elements were of the most benefit. These buildings are still in service in the Pacific Northwest and continue to provide valuable information for sustainable practices.

Energy Performance 
Energy-efficient schools save money while conserving non-renewable energy resources and reducing atmospheric emissions of pollutants and greenhouse gases. The energy performance of schools can be improved through the use of energy efficiency measures, alternative energy sources (e.g., renewable energy), building commissioning and staff training. The application of these techniques will lead to the reduction in space heating/cooling, lighting, and other loads in schools and the downsizing of associated equipment. Reduced loads can lead to lower energy bills and reduced capital costs.

Daylighting is becoming more popular and commonly incorporated into many building designs, including those of schools. Recent research has shown that children achieve significantly higher test scores in classrooms that are daylit. Daylighting in the classroom one of the most cost effective investments that can be made in the learning environment. In the past, before the widespread use of artificial light, careful daylighting designs were required for all schools. Modern Building Systems, Inc. understands the principles of daylight design, and combines this understanding with new information about high performance materials and automatic controls to achieve optimum lighting quality and energy performance in new schools.

Water Resources 

Water use is a growing issue throughout the country, as expanding populations increase, the demand for limited supplies of water is placed in higher demand. Many options exist to minimize the use of water by schools, both indoors and outdoors. Some of these water-saving measures include using drought-tolerant vegetation, water catchment systems, low-flow irrigation systems, gray water systems, ground moisture sensors, and water-saving faucets, urinals, and showers. 


Environmental Quality 
Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) encompasses a range of issues affecting occupant comfort and health. Many common indoor building and surface materials contain a variety of potentially hazardous and/or irritating chemicals. When released into the air, these chemicals can cause health problems, especially in children. Acceptable indoor air quality, noise, temperature, humidity, and light all play critical roles in the success of the learning environment. Modern Building System, Inc. builds all of our buildings indoors in a large factory controlled environment. The building is never exposed to the mold causing conditions many contractors encounter on site. The modules are also allowed to openly air out during construction thereby minimizing any contaminants that may otherwise be circulated through the building using other construction methods.

Building Performance and Measurement 
High performance schools are healthy, efficient, environmentally sensitive structures whose performance can be significantly affected if the building has not been designed following the district’s intent or constructed according to the designers’ specifications. Ensuring optimum performance of the systems in a building can help reduce wasted energy and overcome health and safety hazards. Modern Building Systems, Inc. maintains a strict quality control process that constantly monitors and double checks each building component on a daily basis as it flows through the plant. Creating a building that arrives to site fully compliant with the customer’s needs.

Modern Building Systems, Inc. has been actively involved in providing sustainable products to the construction market long before being “green” was a call to the masses. The process of creating a modular building is founded on principles of lean production that by nature minimize waste and maximize production efficiencies. This prerequisite of efficiency is the basis for the current sustainable effort and the model for any successful building project.

Modular construction incorporates beneficial aspects that many people understand to be vital to a green building. Reduce, Reuse and Recycle is fundamental to sustainability, Modern has been proactive in recycling any material not suitable for alternate use in the construction process, as such, we are honored to have been chosen “Recycler of Year” in Marion County. Additionally, our buildings are designed and built using many products that come from sustainable and recycled materials.

Indoor air quality is fundamental to many health issues. Modular buildings are built in a controlled factory environment; the potential for moisture being trapped in a new building is eliminated by virtue of this controlled condition. To mitigate long term chemical toxins, low volatile organic compounds (VOC) are used exclusively by Modern, each product is researched before its use and the application of each product is monitored and recorded for correct usage.

While there are many options available to conserve energy, some technologies are simply too novel to be practical in some situations. By being a fully integrated design/build firm, Modern is able to custom design our structures and systems based on our years of experience to meet an evolving market. Our common sense perspective gives us the ability to recommend products that provide practical solutions to our customers that have long term cost benefits and proven track records.

Now that the general public has embraced a deeper understanding of the livability and sustainability of our surroundings, modular construction as a whole is gaining a new perspective in the public eye. Modern Building System, Inc. is a vanguard of the sustainable movement and has been since our inception nearly 40 years ago, Modern has built it’s reputation on providing sensible solutions to their clients. As the sustainable future becomes more commonplace, we look forward to helping our clients realize the benefits that accompany this change of perspective.


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Modern specializes in the design, engineering and manufacturing of factory-direct mobile and modular buildings.

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