Channeling IKEA, Project Frog is constructing efficient buildings with pre-fab parts

October 16, 2012

As the U.S. economy continues to recover, the construction industry is looking to capitalize on the calls for innovation and a move toward energy efficient building technology.

One of the priorities of the current administration has been the introduction of sustainable and green policies across a number of industry sectors, with federal initiatives spurring the development of a clean-tech economy. With non-residential construction expected to increase in the next financial year, companies are expecting that the next generation of buildings will be energy efficient and able to match the demands of an evolving workforce.

Commercial real-estate has always relied on the speed in which a building can be constructed. Traditionally, the combination of an efficient building with an aesthetically pleasing appearance can take anywhere from between 6 months to two years to produce, but with the economic memories of the last four years still fresh in the minds of business analysts, the desire to build quicker has never been stronger.

According to, San Francisco-based Project Frog could be exactly the sort of innovative technology startup that can allow the commercial real-estate sector to grow, while fulfilling the expectations and aims of federal government initiatives such as the Energy Efficient Buildings Hub (EEB Hub). Backed by a number of high-profile investors, including a $22 million investment round led General Electric and Rockport Capital Partners, the six-year old company provides "component buildings," a series of prefabricated parts that are assembled onsite and in a fraction of the time.

While the idea of constructing a non-residential building using the IKEA rulebook may be unusual, Project Frog is determined to shake up the industry and prove that a new energy efficient building can be possible. The company is determined to provide not only better buildings for the healthcare industry or for an educational facility, but could be a part of government initiatives such as the EEB Hub, the consortium of institutions that is transforming the commercial real estate industry in Greater Philadelphia.

"We’re trying to change the game," says Ann Hand, the CEO of Project Frog. "We give people a better-looking building in half the time at the same cost or less. It’s amazing what happens when you put people in the right environment. Test scores go up, customer satisfaction and loyalty go up, absenteeism and employee turnover go down."