Blu Going Green in Bay Area

SFGate reports a Massachusetts company is opening a factory on Vallejo’s Mare Island at the site of a former naval base just north of San Francisco. Close to the port of Oakland, and drawing on a nearby workforce of people skilled in home construction and high tech manufacturing, Blu Homes is opening a 250,000 square foot facility to manufacture energy efficient modular homes. Blu sells about a third of its homes in California, has already hired 50 workers, and anticipates its work force may grow to several hundred. Blu President Bill Haney said, “We found this really magical combination here. The notion of combining the white-collar, technology-embracing people on the Peninsula with the blue-collar workers of the East Bay is perfect for us.” Based in Waltham, Mass., a suburb of Boston, Blu has been in business since 2007, using steel for framing instead of wood, and follows green technology in cutting utility costs up to 70 percent. Once used for making submarines, the old hangar is so large that workers use blue bicycles to get around. Modular studios start at $120,000, and the largest model with five bedrooms goes for $500,000, not including the land or the concrete slab. Says Haney, “The trick is not just to do green, but to do green in a way that’s fun to live in and fits the way you live.”

(Photo credit: Brant Ward: The Chronicle)

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