Like every other advanced city in the world, Los Angeles has begun to embrace the Sustainability Movement. In an era where ecological concerns lay at the forefront of our awareness, one of the biggest areas where we can improve energy efficiency and reduce deforestation is through the smart design/build systems and methodologies in the construction industry. Erla and Tryggvi founded mnmMOD in 2007, with the stated objective of changing the way that people build. It was as if they were preparing to be poised for the moment. Visionaries are that way.
“We wanted to encourage the utilization of steel and foam, and reduce the utilization of trees,” Erla explains. “Traditional wood framing is prone to termites and fire, requires more energy to heat and cool, and contributes to the continued deforestation of the planet.”
Their modular construction technology uses panels that are a blend of recycled steel and EPS (Expanded Polystyrene) insulation, making the system extremely energy-efficient, fully customizable, modifiable and affordable Green-alternative to traditional home-building techniques. In the distinctive dialect he shares with Erla (they both hail from Iceland) Tryggvi chimes-in on the challenge of introducing change to the traditional American construction industry: “In the beginning, there was a constant, ongoing educational process that we needed to support; with architects, engineering firms, developers and owners. After 12-years of this, we feel like there now exists a base-level of knowledge about who we are and what we do, in Los Angeles, and the world. We can feel the wind in our sails. We’re answering inquiries every day.”
When talking with Erla and Tryggvi, one clear and recurring theme is a “creative minimalism” that characterizes not just their panels and construction methodology...but also their work. “In Los Angeles, Designers, Builders and Owners want to work with a system that is straight-forward, cost-effective, ecologically-sound and with a long life,” Tryggvi explains. Complimenting the simplicity, efficiency (and energy efficiency) of this modular system is the fact that mnmMOD’s manufacturing process is environmentally-friendly. Their panels utilize “cradle to cradle” certified, extruded polystyrene and 30% of the steel used is recycled. As confidently humble as Erla and Tryggvi are, this writer wouldn’t fault them for boasting proudly about the fact that there is zero waste generated throughout the panel-fabrication process. Such a positive production process compounds the original earth-friendly benefit of countering the demand for wood as a primary building material in the first place. With the number of traditional construction firms in Greater Los Angeles - and the world - continuing to deal in practices that threaten to dramatically reduce our precious forests, and remembering as well that these forests are also habitats for many creatures, Erla, Tryggvi and mnmMOD are the best news we could have. With their design having been tried, tested and true on projects over the last 12-years, mnmMOD is poised to continue meeting the demands of green-building initiatives of Los Angeles...and the world!
By Patrick Pitre