Simple Homes Partnership

We’re excited to announce a new partnership that will provide redT with an innovative housing solution within the green building space… redT Homes and Denver-based Simple Homes are now working together to Build A Greener Colorado! Simple Homes will provide our framing needs going forward. This is a huge win in our development process and for the development of homes in our community in general. As a “turnkey off-site framing provider,” Simple Homes specializes in optimizing the American home construction process by drawing on innovative European manufacturing standards. This partnership between two local and forward thinking companies will result in bringing more healthy homes to market in our community!

An Innovative Housing Solution

Building in a controlled factory setting increases efficiency in many ways, most notably by incorporating technology throughout the process. Considering the persistent shortage of skilled workers, simplifying the means of construction is more important than ever. Felipe Magallanes, Process Engineer at Simple Homes, described the need for innovation within the construction industry, “There is very little change to how we build houses now as we did decades ago. (Especially) compared to other sectors, via technology and automation that other manufacturers are implementing.” The adoption of digital manufacturing technology is long overdue in an industry that is supposed to be focused on development.


Factory built housing has long been a small percentage of the homes built in the US, but as we continue to see severe inventory shortages, innovative housing solutions are necessary. The Department of Energy realized this looming problem and has introduced public investment in companies with the potential to provide high quality homes on expedited timelines. 

Simple Homes earned the ‘Advanced Building Construction with Energy-Efficient Technologies and Practices Award’ by the DOE’s Building Technologies Office in recognition of their modern production systems in an otherwise antiquated industry. A 2020 press release announced that “The research will leverage Simple Homes’ existing and European-inspired panelized construction system and digital manufacturing platform.” Two years since receiving the award, these two innovations have advanced prefabricated construction to new heights!

Using Technology for Innovative Housing

Digital Thread

Simple Homes continually refines the building process by integrating the digital and physical worlds. The complex process used to frame a liveable space starts as a digital representation. Technology assists workers as the product is brought to life, and information is constantly gathered so that any defects or delays are addressed in future models. When Simple Homes was starting out, co-founder David Schultz explained to Denverite that “The factory will be equipped with European technology that includes computer-controlled saws and a laser system that projects blueprints onto the tables where workers assemble panels that will become homes.” 

Their high tech saw, for example, is programmed to cut lumber to exact dimensions and includes software that monitors the factory’s supplies. In this way, the physical and digital world are not acting independently of each other, but instead building off of each other to create a better product. Using technology to monitor and fix problems that arise in production provides a closed loop feedback system referred to as a ‘digital thread.’

Off-site framing

Both redT and Simple Homes realized there must be a better way to build than the traditional methods. The negative effects that buildings have on the environment, and the overwhelming lack of inventory due to long construction timelines, are not cutting it. Fortunately, Simple Homes CEO and co-founder Jeff Hopfenbeck internalized Sweden’s long-term success using off-site construction and implemented this innovative housing method right here in Denver. The benefits touch every part of the build:

  1. Lower building costs
  2. Better quality control
  3. Faster and more reliable scheduling 
  4. Less material waste
  5. Safer working conditions

We asked Plant Manager Joey Manchego about the main advantage he sees in factory manufacturing compared to traditional, it was an easy answer. “The efficiency, right? We’re able to produce a lot faster in a controlled environment than if you’re on site… Here, we do it all in one step. and so it’s all complete by the time it gets to site”

Panelized Construction

Simple Homes uses a panelized construction technique that is a facet of prefabricated building. Panelization is different from a modular build, which is completed largely in the factory before the structure is transported to the site. The controlled processes and digital modeling that are available in a factory setting assist carpenters in achieving high levels of precision and quality, and the benefits of a panelized method encompass each of the five points above without limiting design flexibility.

Panelized Innovative Housing Method

So how does the Simple Homes way of building actually work? Panelized components are cut to exact specifications by the semi automated saw. The cut pieces then go to the framing table where nearly every part of the framing process is completed, even adding windows. The panelized components are all shipped as a series of flat panels (vertical if windows are included) that are assembled on-site. A crane and a group of framers install the final attachments and seal the building envelope in as little as 4 hours!

Collaborative Design

The comment, “tout ce qui est simple est beau,” appeared on a recent post about one of our projects. The translation? “All that is simple is beautiful.” The benefits of simplifying design go beyond efficiency and resource optimization. A thoughtful design from the beginning creates beautiful homes as well. This is not to say that prefabrication is limited to modular design. In fact, the panelized technique is inherently meant to allow for creative building envelopes. 

Even though Simple Homes operates in the labor intensive construction industry, many employees are actually designers and engineers that aren’t working directly on the line. The in-house design team at Simple Homes specializes in off-site framing techniques. To ensure accuracy, minimize waste, and save time, a digitally fabricated model details exactly how components are to be panelized. The 3D model is referenced and adhered to through every stage of the framing process. This importance means that redT’s Architecture team will send completed structural plans to the Simple Homes design team to confirm alignment with the systems and technology available in a factory setting.

Building Innovative Housing

At redT, we’re committed to optimizing every aspect of development, and construction is obviously one of the most important areas to address. Simple Homes will help our projects to see improved quality, speed, and sustainability measures. We’re not only building better housing, we’re building innovative housing. 


Process Engineer Felipe described his role with Simple Homes as “My main responsibility is to map processes that we have in place, identify opportunities that we can get better at, and then implement those solutions.” Basically, using technology to consistently monitor and update controlled factory processes results in system improvements. This system of ‘process mapping’ is applied in many ways, one of which being material use optimization

Once the design team comes up with a model, a ‘quantity takeoff’ (QTO) is created to estimate the materials needed for that project. There is a small amount of tolerance for waste built into the estimate, but at completion, any excess is added back to inventory and reevaluated. Previously mapped processes help to keep tabs on material that often needs to be ordered weeks ahead of a project, while also tracking the excess. 

According to Felipe, the two main ways that Simple Homes is able to cut down on excess waste is by repurposing for future projects or by selling the material. Unfortunately, contractors working on traditional job sites will often throw away excess material that is in perfect condition because once a bid is accepted and the builder is paid, any excess isn’t considered lost revenue. Reimagining the way we build is leading to a change in how we think about the waste that construction generates. Simple Homes has reduced waste to about 1% of overall material used, compared to a level of 15% that is common at traditional sites. 


Off-site framing is clearly an efficient way of reducing wasted material, but it’s also an efficient way of reducing wasted time. The panelized construction method reduces framing time up to 90% compared to traditional methods. Once on-site, the structural core of a recent Simple Homes project was weather-tight in just four hours! This is compared to weeks or even months that most builders take. 

Shorter production schedules also result in easier project planning. There is greater confidence in the costs and scheduling associated with what is generally a complex building process. In fact, Plant Manager Joey Manchego highlighted that even at a time when material and labor shortages are a major obstacle in the construction industry, Simple Homes is still 100% on time for deliveries. Joey described safety, quality, delivery, and cost as the primary measures that they grade themselves on (along with less waste, these add up to the five benefits of off-site framing mentioned earlier!). As redT and Simple Homes work together to meet the demand for more energy-efficient and attainably-priced LiteHomes, each of these operational goals are positively affected by a more efficient and timely production schedule.

Shaping the Future

redT Homes and Simple Homes are both dedicated to innovative housing in the US. Of course, our LiteHomes are built to the highest energy efficiency standards. Similarly, Simple Homes has experience building Zero Energy Ready Homes (ZERH), a performance standard that the Rocky Mountain Institute estimated only 1% of homes to meet in 2019. Our partnership with Simple Homes means we’ll be able to provide even more of the most energy efficient homes on the market! 

A shift in how we build for the future is key to alleviating both inventory and environmental issues. Simple Homes offers a modern solution that supplies high performing homes through a simplified process. It is clear how our homes shape our lives, therefore, we are adopting a higher standard in how we construct our LiteHomes. At redT, our ability to build better, more energy efficient, and healthier homes is furthered by our partnership with Simple Homes. One more way we are Building A Greener Colorado. We can’t wait to get started.