Cosmic Buildings’s $279K Tiny Home Recycles Water and Generates Its Own Solar Power

The 380-square-foot prefab is equipped to go in your backyard or completely off-grid.

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Prior to founding Cosmic Buildings, Sasha Jokic had spent 15 years honing his skills in construction robotics, architecture, and academia. "These experiences gave me the privilege of working on highly complex and influential architectural projects on a global scale, as well as developing pioneering products in automated construction," he says.

But these experiences also gave him insight into the entrenched challenges of home construction—namely how expensive, bureaucratic, and pollutive it can be. "Our only shot of meeting global and national net-zero goals is to decarbonize our homes, because the way we build and operate homes accounts for almost 42 percent of energy-related emissions," Jokic continues.

To try to combat these issues, he founded Cosmic Buildings in San Francisco to make prefabs that can generate at least as much energy as they use, while still adhering to a sense of style. Read on to learn how Jokic is trying to meet the moment with his company’s latest ADU, Cosmic One.

Cosmic Buildings newest ADU model, Cosmic One, comes with solar panels and a battery to make it net-zero even without additional accessories. 

Photo courtesy of Cosmic Buildings

Tell us about the most exciting project you’ve realized to date.

For the last year and a half, we’ve been perfecting a new method of building and operating homes in an attempt to introduce the most sustainable ADU on the market. We’ve built a few large-scale prototypes for testing and improvement purposes, and gathered customer feedback during our product iterations, which has allowed us to improve every aspect of our houses.

The Cosmic One has various sustainable features (such as solar-battery systems, water recycling, and air ventilation), and its compact footprint feels large. We’ve applied a scientific approach to the building process that creates a synergy between VOC-free materials, space, typography, and technology. This provides our clients with a living experience that is meant to positively impact their well-being.

Furthermore, the ADU features warm, earthy tones and bright spaces for a natural feel. And a home app allows clients to see a clear picture of the energy they consume, the water they use, and the waste they generate.

The flooring and kitchen cabinetry is made of sustainably-sourced white oak. An integrated refrigerator and freezer with WiFi capabilities hides behind the panels.  

Photo courtesy of Cosmic Buildings

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What does your base model cost and what does that pricing include? 

The Cosmic One comes in three different versions—a studio, one bedroom, and two bedroom—and ranges between $279,000 and $419,000, before taxes or rebates. Each unit is crafted with VOC-free, low-maintenance, and responsibly sourced materials that are produced with digital fabrication techniques to minimize waste during manufacturing and assembly.

The kitchen, which has an induction cooktop and dishwasher, can also be concealed when not in use. 

Photo courtesy of Cosmic Buildings

What qualities make your prefab stand apart from the rest?

We build prefabricated homes that are meant to be self-sustaining. Many startups in recent years have rushed to solve the housing crisis by implementing a modern manufacturing process to build more homes. However, manufacturing the structure of the home, and shipping to the site either as a kit of parts or a module, only solves one part of the problem.

Despite the success of many businesses in factory-based home construction, a reliance on traditional on-site infrastructure development persists. They need foundations and utility hookups for water, broadband, and electricity. These elements undermine the productivity gains achieved in the factory, presenting an obstacle for building more homes and reducing carbon emissions, since these homes still operate on fossil fuels.

Full-length windows illuminate the space during the day, but strategic lighting adds ambiance at night.  The entire ADU's electrical panel can be controlled through an app.

Photo courtesy of Cosmic Buildings

A full bathroom features custom sinks built with Italian limestone, and a vanity accented in white oak.

Photo courtesy of Cosmic Buildings

Where are the prefabs currently available?

Our ADUs are available in California as a limited-edition release. It includes 100 units tailored to meet the specific needs of California residents and to comply with local building standards. Our first pop-up showroom studio is open in downtown San Francisco and available for tours.

A small workspace is tucked into the far wall of the unit, with additional storage. 

Photo courtesy of Cosmic Buildings

Is your design currently pre-permitted in any U.S. municipalities?

We are currently in the process of obtaining pre-approval in various municipalities across California. Additionally, we are undergoing an extensive state-wide certification and pre-approval process to expedite our building permit process. We’ll work with our customers to find the best permitting option based on their property and location.

The cedar wood and aluminum exterior can be customized between four shades: copper, black, beige, or gray. 

Photo courtesy of Cosmic Buildings

How long can a client expect the process to take after they put down a deposit?

It usually takes around seven months or less, from start to finish. This includes getting permits, manufacturing the unit, and installing it on a customer’s property. Each client gets a personalized timeline once they request a proposal.

The smooth-coated aluminum panels never need to be repainted, and the cedar siding never has to be re-oiled. 

Photo courtesy of Cosmic Buildings

What aspects of an install do you manage?

We provide a "concierge service" with an all-in cost to all our clients, which means that we handle each step in-house with our team and a select group of partners. After the client customizes their ADU using our online design studio, our team conducts site feasibility studies, files for a permit, locates contractors, and manages all other aspects of the building process.

Solar panels create a geometric pattern on the roof of the ADU. A half-roof of panels is included in the design, but owners can choose to make the roof fully solar paneled, too. 

Photo courtesy of Cosmic Buildings

What aspects of the design can a client customize?

We offer a range of customization options for our homes. These options include choices for exterior cladding, interior materials, size of the solar roof, battery, and additional features like enhanced water recycling capabilities. These can add anywhere from $1,000 to $35,000 onto the base cost.

Customers using our online design studio can select from various standard and premium materials and color facade options, as well as cabinet materials, to tailor their Cosmic One to their liking. Additionally, Cosmic provides over-the-air software updates, enabling further customization through new features and enhancements.

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