If off-grid homes and shipping container houses interest you, you probably heard of Dvele. Inhabitat covered the company before, detailing its prefab projects and DveleIQ software. But there’s more to the Dvele story. To learn more, I toured Dvele’s factory in Redlands, California and got a closer look at the technology used to create these sustainable houses.
The Dvele logo greets visitors as they arrive. Below the logo, a “Now Hiring” sign hints at the booming business within the factory. Dvele has made a name for itself, and clients flock to them for smart, prefabricated homes. While off-grid capabilities draw many people to Dvele, Chief Innovation Officer Brandon Weiss explained there are many more features that entice customers.
“Whilst Dvele has the ability and technology to build homes off-grid, most of the homes we build are in fact grid connected,” Weiss said in a press release. “However, in a grid outage situation, our homes are able to self-power using integrated solar and battery storage that gets them through an extended outage off-grid. Dvele offers two packages to either accommodate those that just want their critical systems to operate versus those that want to power the entire home in an outage.”
Exploring the factory floor illuminates Dvele’s process for creating these sustainable homes. The factory resembles an assembly line scaled up for shipping container-sized houses. When I visited, there were homes in various states of completion, illustrating each step of the construction process.
Digital design software and automated technology help guide construction. Described as a “digital twin,” a customizable virtual design guides the build for each house. Using this design, automated machinery can produce precisely-sized steel pieces for the project. While Dvele’s process isn’t fully automated (yet), this technology promotes efficiency by using only the exact amount of materials necessary to produce construction elements.
In the future, Dvele hopes to integrate more technology to further automate the construction process. For now, the company is focusing on transitioning from flammable lumber to light gauge steel structures. Sustainability remains a priority as well. All Dvele homes are Passive Certified to reduce in-home energy consumption by up to 90%.
Images by Grae Gleason / Inhabitat and Dvele