Sustainability and Production Innovation in Accessory Dwelling Units  


Interest in Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) and other secondary units has skyrocketed in California in the last few years, thanks to new state-level legislation which makes them permissible state-wide. Paired with a dire need for more housing, many are exploring new ideas in the building industry, which translates to more transparency, affordability, and predictability for homeowners.  

What is an ADU?

An accessory dwelling unit, typically shortened to the acronym ADU, has been called many names — granny unit, in-law unit, studio, or pool house. They are, most simply, a secondary housing unit on an existing single-family property. ADUs are affordable and effective options for adding more housing spaces to meet the need in California. These spaces offer individual buyers more options for how they leverage their property, whether providing living space for family or as a potential short-term revenue source via rental that can positively impact property value long-term. 

Why Choose Pre-Fabricated Over Stick Build?

Secondary structures have a host of unique applications and potential, including different supply chains that improve production time and using new materials or old ones in new ways. Their size (between ~400-1,200 sq. feet) allows for experimentation with pre-fabrication in factories, using new methods like additive manufacturing (i.e. Large –format 3D printing), delivering panels or modular units to job sites for faster construction times on-site, the efficiency of material use for reduced environmental impact, and standardization in product quality and performance. They also create a secondary market of innovation like using technology to batch projects, co-manage construction, and increase transparency in the building process. All of these innovations in pre-fabricated ADUs offer buyers efficiencies in cost and predictability in quality and timeline.  

Group Delphi’s Approach

In this Build It Green panel, Justin Hersh asserts that the challenge in the housing industry is not a lack of innovation, but one of integration. Our goal at Group Delphi is to leverage our production technology, methodology, and deep knowledge of the supply chain to improve the predictability of quality, timeline, and cost of ADUs for every individual buyer. Our approach is to bring together the best ideas in the market, integrate them in a factory environment, and deliver to the consumer in a way that meets the need, while also supporting our local communities and the environment.  

For more insights on how Group Delphi is meeting the gaps, and opportunities present, in the ADU space, view the Build It Green Forum session here

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