Project Frog Rethinks Construction With Smart Component Buildings
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hospitals, specifically doctors’ offices and urgent care-style clinics. “Depending on whose stats you look at, 30-50 million uninsured will be coming into system over the next several years,” Hand says. “There will be an explosion of need for facilities.”
The company also offers what it calls “flex” buildings—structures not intended for a specific purpose like education that can be tailored to individual needs. San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge Pavilion, for example, functions as an information center and store, while the Jim Russell Racing School at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma has features like a café and media center.
All of Project Frog’s buildings meet the most stringent green certification criteria, the company says, including LEED. They also generate only one-sixth of the waste that comes from standard construction sites, integrate recycled and environmentally responsible materials, and use fixtures and equipment that will save water and energy over time. On average, a Project Frog building uses approximately 87 percent less fossil fuel use and causes 82 percent less air pollution and 73 percent less water pollution than a comparable, standard construction building, Hand says.
Initially, the company tried to sell the buildings based on their reduced energy footprint and and other long-term savings. After all, even if a Project Frog structure cost the same amount as a portable building, buyers would still save money over time. But, Hand says, the company quickly realized that the people in charge of putting up a facility’s buildings aren’t necessarily the same people paying the electric bill five years down the line, so it wasn’t the best great selling point. As building materials have gotten cheaper and Project Frog has created new designs, the cost of structural components has fallen, and now its buildings are 30 to 60 percent cheaper than standard construction products, Hand says.
As business has grown, so has the company. Now that Project Frog has reached 50 employees, the company is planning a move from San Francisco’s Jackson Square to a bigger facility in the South of Market district. It’s an older brick building—not one of their own designs—but the landlord is allowing them to build their own componentry into the interior, so that visitors can get a sense of the company’s products. “We want them to feel the volume, the light, the buzz the same way you do in a Project Frog classroom,” Hand says. “A lot of essence will be there.”