Decarbonization During Predevelopment of Modular Building Solutions

Noah Klammer, Zoe Kaufman, Ankur Podder, Shanti Pless, David Celano, Stacey Rothgeb

Research output: NRELTechnical Report


Off-site construction methods offer the opportunity to compress costs of net-zero energy (NZE) housing using the advantages of mass production. There has been limited investigation on trade-offs between site-built and industrialized construction from the perspective of reducing the incremental cost of NZE strategies and reducing greenhouse gas emissions during embodied and operational stages. Blokable, LLC, a vertically integrated modular builder, wanted to know how the learning curves of mass production would help them decarbonize their existing modular housing prototype at a relative cost advantage. The method developed for this question looked at the life cycle assessment of an individual apartment and used learning-curve efficiencies to approximate the relative advantage of construction-at-scale. Greenhouse gas emissions were quantified by a learning-affected, whole-life carbon emissions model and demonstrated a path to a 60% reduction of whole-life CO2-equivalent in the 2030 production year. The resultant roadmap considers a best-first approach to decarbonizing a modular building product line, and the method can be replicated for other modular builders.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages89
StatePublished - 2021

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/TP-5500-81037


  • advanced building construction
  • buildings
  • cost
  • decarbonization
  • embodied carbon
  • energy modeling
  • industrialized construction
  • life cycle assessment
  • manufacturing
  • modular construction
  • net-zero energy
  • operational carbon
  • solar photovoltaics


Dive into the research topics of 'Decarbonization During Predevelopment of Modular Building Solutions'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this