21st Century Housing Manifesto

March 19, 2024

Most of us can recall fond childhood memories about spaces that made us feel safe. A space that allowed us to be kids, inspired us to play and learn. As adults, we often create special nooks in our homes that boost our mood or productivity. Recent studies support that this isn't just an abstract feeling - access to a good home has proven benefits to physical, social, and mental health and well-being for human life.

In the face of the ongoing climate crisis, it’s clear that the way humans build homes plays a significant role in shaping the environment and influencing biodiversity.  Modern construction uses finite resources like energy, water, and raw materials – and these resources can’t be (mass) reproduced. Beyond the construction phase, the environmental impact of residential structures encompasses the entire life cycle of a home. During the last century, we have built a massive infrastructure, like water pipes, broadband, and the electric grid that are all connected to our homes providing resources vital to our existence on this planet.

Confronting the two crises: Housing and Climate

Despite its impact on housing and climate, the construction industry struggles to adopt new technologies to deliver better homes that positively affect human wellbeing and mitigate climate change. As a consequence, productivity in the construction sector has stagnated, contributing to America's affordability crisis with a staggering demand for 4.3 million additional homes. This scarcity, particularly in the realm of affordable housing, has resulted in millions of households being excluded from the housing market. Alarmingly, over two-thirds of these excluded households are median income families that need 27 years to accumulate a 20% down payment for a median-priced home.

Building anything is a challenging task and, unfortunately, much of what is built is not good enough. The simple truth is that our carbon crisis is a housing crisis as most existing and newly built homes rely on the exploitation of natural resources and energy from fossil fuels. A staggering 42 percent of our nation's energy-related emissions are the direct result of choices made at our kitchen tables. As the prevalence of electric vehicles continues to rise and more individuals adopt heat pumps for climate control, residential energy consumption is set on exponential growth. Additionally, the infrastructure required for homes is not only environmentally harmful but also expensive and difficult to expand, creating obstacles to more housing.

The environmental footprint of our homes extends beyond the energy utilized in their operation and spans across all the stages of building life. The construction sector is responsible for a significant portion of resource consumption globally, accounting for half of all material extraction, a third of water consumption, and a third of waste creation.

We believe it is essential to change the way we build and operate homes, as this is the only shot we have to meet our national and global needs for affordable housing and keep global warming under 1.5°C / 2.7°F.

It’s not easy to be green.

Our poor performance in environmental care highlights our struggle to adapt and meet the demands of the growing human population. According to the current UN projections, we will construct 2.5 trillion square feet of new buildings worldwide by 2060 to accommodate a population increase from today's 7 billion to an anticipated 11 billion by the century's end. We stand before a colossal task: to build trillions of square feet of habitable space while also ensuring these homes are powered sustainably, without exhausting our precious natural resources.

‍Traditionally construction projects are built as one-off projects that bring together a diverse team, ranging from developers and contractors to architects, engineers, and investors. Those of us in the industry have disconnected ourselves from the humans we design for, and focused on one singular goal – extracting profit from that specific patch of dirt.

The results of this one-off approach include soaring project costs that make housing simply unaffordable to most people in many parts of the U.S. and a big toll on our planet as well. How do we break this vicious cycle? Everything from ovens to cars was all once clunky prototypes built as one-offs and then mass replicated using manufacturing capabilities. Can we do the same with our homes?

Indeed, many startups in recent years have tried to turn homes into products but have come short as the majority of them have focused only on building itself. Building the structure of the home is just one part of the equation. It’s relatively simple to build homes in the factory, but all the site infrastructure works like foundation and hookups to water pipes, broadband, and the electric grid are still hard to build and expand.

New demand.

The demand for transparency and sustainability in consumer products is not merely a trend but a fundamental shift in consumer behavior.  As consumers, we like to know where and who harvested our morning coffee, and we love our sustainably made, biodegradable shoes. Yet, when it comes to our homes – the single largest and most significant purchase those of us who are fortunate enough will ever make  – we often remain in the dark.  Many of these homes are constructed using materials like concrete, contaminated wood, plastic, and hazardous chemicals or built with workers who worked in inhuman conditions or even risked their lives. What's more, within the shadows of construction, 30% of the materials buyers paid during home purchase, are relegated to unseen building material waste.

It's time to shift our focus from just the products we use within our homes to the homes themselves. We deserve to know who built our homes, the materials used, and the environmental impact of utilities on our homes. Transparency in the way we build and operate homes is not just a consumer demand, it's a necessity for creating sustainable, eco-friendly living spaces that align with our values.

The homes we inhabit should be more than just structures, they should be sanctuaries of awareness and health, where the energy we consume, the water we use, and the waste we generate are laid bare for our conscientious consideration. It is time to redefine the narrative of home ownership, moving beyond the conventional and venturing into an era where sustainability, transparency, and control are not just preferences but intrinsic elements of the spaces we call homes.

The new era.

There's a lot to be optimistic about. Despite the complexities and challenges we face, we know how to build homes that are of high quality, sustainable, and powered by clean energy. We have known this for a long time. We just don’t know how to deliver cleaner and faster construction at the scale and speed our society requires. These issues become even more intricate when we consider the need to adapt new methods and processes to varying climates and geographies.

Over the years, we have seen how world-class architects use new technologies and processes to deliver highly complex, one-off self-sustainable buildings. The challenge now is how we democratize this technology and knowledge, making it accessible to all for homebuilding purposes.

There is no turning back. We are entering an era where homes are becoming more than just dwellings. With all the new tech-enabled capabilities, our homes won’t only meet their own electricity and water needs but produce more than they need laying the foundation for a brighter and cleaner future. In a country as large as the U.S., you might think that rooftop solar would struggle to meet major electricity demands but it actually has gigantic potential according to a 2023 study by Barry Rand at Princeton University.

Architecting homes that truly impact human lives with a harmonious balance between aesthetic appeal and sustainability is a nuanced challenge. Building fully electric, self-powered homes presents unique challenges compared to traditional grid-tied homes due to the integration of advanced technologies and complex nature manufacturing. Self-sustainable, fully autonomous homes have different manufacturing requirements than traditional grid-operated homes. The production of battery packs, electric drivetrains, and other specific components requires investment in new manufacturing processes and technologies.

Our vision

Our vision at Cosmic Buildings is to accelerate the transition from conventional grid-connected, on-site built homes to factory-built, self-powered homes. We are committed to delivering superior and sustainable living spaces that address the worldwide demand for clean energy and affordable housing.

Our mission

At Cosmic Buildings, our mission is to revolutionize the housing industry through developing groundbreaking technologies that enable us to deliver autonomous, fully sustainable homes ten times faster and at half the cost of conventional methods. We are committed to setting a new standard for sustainable housing, as we prioritize wellness and comfort by integrating state-of-the-art building systems that enhance residents' health, safety, and overall well-being. Our goal is to create homes that are good for the environment and good for us and our families – creating a cleaner and more sustainable infrastructure.

The first product line.

Today we're launching an exclusive ADU product line in the California markets for homeowners and developers, the first 100 units available for purchase. Our limited series of all-electric ADUs is designed to use recycled water for all non-potable needs and rely heavily on alternative energy generation.

Our first product is Cosmic ADU, an advanced micro home designed with sustainability at its core. With The Cosmic ADU we provide the quickest and simplest route for existing homeowners and developers to build a high-performance Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU), a primary single-family home, or building blocks for an entire residential community.

Our pledge

At Cosmic, our foundational principles prioritize the well-being of both humanity and the planet we call home. In a deliberate effort to align our operations with these values, we are embarking on a journey toward establishing an internal governance structure that transforms us into a mission-controlled company. In this innovative approach, we are expanding our corporate goals beyond the conventional pursuit of maximizing profits for shareholders and embracing the broader concept of public benefit, making it a charter purpose integral to our organizational ethos.

I was born in today’s Croatia. My early childhood was disrupted by the Yugoslav civil wars in the 90s. My family and I were forced to move to Serbia, leaving everything we knew behind. We had to rebuild our lives in a very short time. These formative experiences have instilled in me a profound appreciation for the importance of housing.

Providing affordable housing solutions to those in need can not wait. We are launching a Cosmic Foundation Initiative dedicated to providing affordable housing and clean energy to children who were displaced by the war. First, we are committing to donate 1% of every sold Cosmic Home to provide all support necessary for young ones to adapt to new situations quickly.


San Francisco, March 19, 2024