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					                OPEN PROTOTYPE INITIATIVE
                The Open Prototype Initiative is developing a series of four prototypical homes to test a new
                model for the design, fabrication, and assembly of highly responsive places of living. Corporate
                members are invited to collaborate on the development of new building systems, and to explore
                business models for the efficient, cost-effective, mass customization of homes and apartments in
                the future.

Since 1999, the MIT House_n Research Consortium has focused on developing new design tools, customization
and fabrication strategies, sensing, and applications related to energy, health, and communication. During the past
fifteen years, Bensonwood Homes has developed and implemented numerous building systems that deploy "Open
Building" principles in the design and construction of high-quality, energy-efficient homes. The Open Prototype
Initiative brings together advanced academic research at the MIT House_n Consortium with sophisticated design
and production processes developed by Bensonwood Homes and our corporate members.

Achievements of the First Prototype (Open_1)

The first prototype, Open_1, was completed in the summer of 2006 at the Crotched Mountain Brain Rehabilitation
Center, and was featured in the November issue of Popular Science. It successfully implemented the following:

•   Design and construction employed a library of virtual components that could be combined to form unique
    structures, with data flowing directly to automated prefabrication processes.
•   The floor, wall and roof systems - complete with power, data, piping, ductwork, and finishes - were pre-
    built in a factory.
•   The building consisted of distinct, disentangled and accessible layers that allowed for both efficient
    assembly and for change over time.
•   The finished shell, interior fit-out, and mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems were completed in
    approximately 30 days.

Additional Goals for the Second Prototype (Open_2)

Open_2 will be a new home for the President of Unity College in Unity, Maine, a small environmental college. In
addition to further refining the innovations of Open_1, this second prototype will be a “net zero” house — one that
produces as much energy as it consumes. The development of sophisticated but affordable net zero systems and
construction methodologies that could be widely adopted is an exciting and challenging problem. Researchers are
focused on developing a net zero home as an integrated system by taking advantage of new manufacturing
processes, information technologies, multi-functional pre-fabricated assemblies, and economies of scale so that
advanced systems can be affordably integrated into homes using minimal field labor. Specifically, Open_2 will:

•   Incorporate a single prefabricated, volumetric assembly containing all utility-intensive spaces and
    systems, including bathrooms, utility rooms, kitchen, heating equipment, etc.
•   Express, in the architecture and detailing, a new model for design, fabrication, and assembly that could
    establish a system for a series of affordable, high performance, low energy houses.
•   Deploy state-of-the-art passive solar design and energy producing systems.
•   Incorporate interior wall and fit out systems that allow, with a few simple operations, the transformation of
    spaces (such as the guest room converting to a media room to an expanded dining room) so that a
    relatively small house can function as a large house.
Changing Places of Living

Powerful societal forces will trigger a fundamental change in the process of creating places of living. The Open
Prototype Initiative is dedicated to finding solutions that will allow industry to respond to these new pressures:

•    The home is becoming a center for work, distributed energy production, commerce, and learning –
     requiring new design and technology solutions – but the housing industry is decentralized, resistant to
     change, wary of new technology, labor intensive, inefficient, and unresponsive to the needs of individuals.
•    Building material companies are looking to migrate from the low-margin commodities currently used in
     construction to high-value systems and solutions.
•    A shortage of skilled construction labor, identified by 80% of contractors as their most serious problem,
     will force a transition to automated fabrication processes (a site-built new home in the U.S. consists of up
     to 80% field labor and 20% material costs).
•    Baby boomers and GenX homebuyers, with unprecedented assets, are demanding environments and
     products that directly reflect their unique values and needs – rather than the one-size-fits-all approach of
     most new housing.
•    The increasing cost of housing places a premium on multi-use, compact, flexible, high-quality living space.
•    Baby boomer demographics will require a transition to sophisticated, accessible, adaptable architectural
     solutions and supportive technologies.
•    Energy shortages, brought on by an inability to expand the grid and build new centralized plants, will
     motivate home-based renewable production and advanced conservation methods.
•    Companies developing new systems, products and services for home-based health care, work,
     commerce, play, communication, and energy conservation and production are looking for a path to market
     that does not exist in site based, labor intensive construction processes.
•    Affordable sensing and computation will find its way into nearly everything manmade, including building
•    Web-based customer configuration tools, supply chain management innovation, and automated
     fabrication processes are changing how products are marketed, designed, and fabricated.

Overarching Goals for the Open Prototype Initiative

•    To conduct research into new systems and products related to fabrication, construction, and use.
•    To conduct research into emerging next-generation consumer design, configuration, and visualization
•    To actively engage industry in projects that create both market-ready products and prototypes of future
     products that would increase the efficiency, quality, and cost-effectiveness of housing.
•    To deploy new networks, sensors, and applications related to home-based health and energy
     management, as they become available for implementation.
•    To evaluate product viability with respect to business models, build-ability, marketability, cost-
     effectiveness, performance, etc.
•    To define design and performance standards for building systems related to thermal efficiency, hurricane
     resistance, mold prevention, life span of systems, maintenance, air quality, noise, dimensional constraints,
     comfort, etc.
•    To make the public aware of new strategies for creating places of living through such media as
     publications, television programs, and exhibitions.
•    To create a high-visibility project that will have potential public relations value to industry collaborators.
•    To develop intellectual property of value to industry.
•    To organize symposia tied to the 18-month prototype schedule, and to host special topics and workshops.
•    To secure funding for this effort from corporate members and governmental agencies.


Corporate members of the Open Prototype Initiative will be chosen to represent a broad range of construction
sectors, including structural components, exterior finishes, thermal and insulation materials, electrical systems,
plumbing systems, HVAC systems, interior fit-out systems, interior finishes.

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Corporate members execute separate agreements to:
1. Become a member of the MIT House_n research consortium as one of three member types: full, affiliate, or
    OSBA members at a minimum fee of $35,000 per year for three years (see House_n Consortium Membership
    Options for fees, rights and obligations).
2. Support the Bensonwood Homes Prototype Initiative for an annual fee of $35,000. This fee will be used for
    management, overhead, and unusual expenses associated with the Open Prototype Initiative (project
    management, meeting expenses, etc.). Fees would also be used for media relations and marketing of the
    Open Prototype Initiative (web site development, press releases, articles, etc.).

Corporate members agree to participate in three meetings per year, to be held at MIT in Cambridge or at
Bensonwood in Walpole. Some of these will be working meetings, and others will include presentations by industry
experts. Members will also assign staff to interface with Bensonwood project team and MIT researchers and to be
available between member meetings for consultation and discussion about the development of specific systems and

Participation Benefits

Members have an opportunity to work with MIT and Bensonwood Homes researchers to help develop a new model
for housing. The program can be envisioned as a residential construction “think tank” with access to a prototyping
facility. Members will discuss and build on perspectives about the future of residential construction, including the
conceptualization of new integrated product opportunities. Members may feature the prototype projects in their own
marketing campaigns (subject to MIT use-of-name restrictions). The Open Prototype Initiative web site and
collateral materials (brochures, DVDs, etc.) will list the corporate members. Members will also benefit from media
stories about the Open Prototype Initiative. Articles about Open_1, the first Open Prototype project, appeared in
Popular Mechanics, Popular Science, Fine Homebuilding, and Smart Homeowner magazines, as well as in regional
newspaper articles and television programs.

The Open Prototype Initiative welcomes the offer of products and materials for use in prototype projects, but
unlike most “concept” or “model” homes, we cannot commit to using every product offered by Open Prototype
Initiative Members. In order to maintain the integrity of the initiative, products and materials will be chosen on the
basis of how well they “fit” with program requirements, not on whether they can be obtained via donation.

We are excited by the participation of a range of world class companies, and look forward to working together to
bring urgently needed improvements to the homebuilding industry.

For more information, please contact:

Ms. Deenie Pacik
House_n / OSBA Administrator
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT Bldg NE18-4FL)
One Cambridge Center, 4FL, Cambridge, MA 02142 USA
tel 617-452-5676 fax 617-225-0027 email
Kent Larson, Director House_n / OSBA
Tedd Benson, Bensonwood Homes
Document Revision: May 10, 2007

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