Tuesday, December 30, 2014

An Interview with a Modular Visionary

This caught my attention as I was reading Multi-Housing News about modular applications in that industry. Brice Leconte, an entrepreneur from Washington, DC has started a company called iUnit. His concept of using modular construction to build apartment buildings is not unique. His idea of the potential energy savings and green benefits are not new. What is is interesting about the interview he recently had with Leah Etling of Multi-Housing News is the way he describes how we are currently using modular construction and what the future could hold for it. Here is the article:

                MHN Interview: Brice Leconte, Founder, iUnit
By Leah Etling, Contributing Editor  Dec. 29, 2014

Believe it or not, iUnit is not the next device a certain ubiquitous technology company wants you to run out and buy. Rather, it’s a new modular housing project coming to Denver in 2015, blending smart energy use, wireless connectivity, green construction and the urban living preferences of American Millennials. iUnit is intended to challenge the way we think about apartment living today, says founder Brice Leconte.

Brice Leconte, iUnit
A Washington, D.C., entrepreneur with a passion for startup technology, Leconte is currently an Entrepreneur in Residence at the University of Maryland as well as an advisor and mentor at Georgetown University.

“iUnit is really a reflection of how I see the world and what I want to do with commercial real estate,” said Leconte, who worked on large single-family home developments early in his career. iUnit at Highland Park is his first foray into the multi-family space.

MHN recently spoke to him about the project and what makes it unique.

MHN: Tell us about iUnit. What’s it all about?

Leconte: There are a lot of things in real estate that don’t make sense to me. One of them is on the modular front—why we are still building buildings out in the elements, while they are being rained and snowed on. I’ve wanted to build differently for a long time, and modular construction has always made sense to me. Building in a controlled environment, we end up with a much better, greener product and better worker safety. That’s the method we’ve chosen for our multi-family building. We will use a factory in Idaho for the module construction.

The other thing that has never made sense to me has how commercial real estate has lagged behind in integrating technology into its buildings. How can we introduce technology into buildings and achieve different things? Our goal is to use technology to empower tenants to be more energy efficient.

The analogy I use is to the Prius. In the real estate industry, we know how to build an energy efficient building, but we don’t have a dashboard for the tenants like the dashboard inside the Prius, which lets the driver know how their behavior is affecting the vehicle’s efficiency. Our goal is first to educate the tenant, and then empower them to make better energy choices. The No. 1 priority is energy efficiency.

CLICK HERE to read the rest of the article

No comments: