Canadian Contractor

Mobee brand of eco-school-portables launched by Ontario builder

Contractor Ben Polley, Evolve Builders Group, may be onto something with his straw bale construction technology, now being applied to the commercial market for schools

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March 13, 2014 by Steve Payne

Editor’s Note:

We try to keep the “product pitches” down to a minimum on here, so that this site isn’t just an “Infomercial.”

However, here’s one product we are really curious about. Ontario contractor Ben Polley (Evolve Builders Group), a loyal friend of Canadian Contractor over the years, has moved the “straw bale” technology he has used to built super-ecologically-minded houses for very happy clients into the commercial arena. He’s launched a brand of “eco portables” for schools.

Here’s his press release:

Brand of eco-portables launched by Ontario builder for scholastic market

A unique portable classroom that merges straw bale building and other natural building techniques with state-of-the-art construction technology was launched Ontario-wide today as a standalone product line by award winning green builder, Evolve Builders Group Inc.

Dubbed “mobEE” – mobile eco-enclosure – the product was originally developed in conjunction with the Facility Department of the Upper Grand District School Board. The first prototype was delivered to Rockwood Public Centennial School in 2010 while the most recent awaits class at Westwood Public School in Guelph. Constructed in Mount Forest, ON, and now deliverable across the province, mobEE provides premium, permanent-quality space at a fraction of the cost of a school addition and earns plaudits from all stakeholders.

“Parents and School Board officials are impressed every time they visit. We’ve even had local politicians come to see it,” says Meghan Mintz, Grade 6 Teacher, Rockwood Centennial Public School of their prototype mobEE, received in 2010.

“We saw a straw bale insulated portable as a natural extension of our Environmental Learning Centres” says Paul Scinocca, Operations Manager, UGDSB, and early proponent of these alternative structures.

In addition to walls constructed with straw bales, mobEE integrates healthy, sustainable and efficient components such as naturally anti-microbial linoleum flooring, mineral based paints, energy-mizing warm-white LED lights, high efficiency fiberglass window frames among many carefully selected features.

Evolve Builders Group Inc is an award winning, innovative boutique building firm frequently sought out by academic, government and industry partners to help bring great new ideas to market. mobEE is Evolve’s first foray into manufacturing of products in which it led development.

“Price, people, and planet. Schools may never have another opportunity to meet so many goals with one easy decision. New classroom space must be found across Ontario to make room for full-day kindergarten beginning this September. mobEE can satisfy enrollment needs to the praise of parents groups, teachers, custodians, and students alike” asserts Ben Polley, President, Evolve Builders Group Inc.






Steve Payne

Steve Payne

Steve Payne is the editor of Canadian Contractor magazine
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3 Comments » for Mobee brand of eco-school-portables launched by Ontario builder
  1. chris coysh says:

    Not sure where they get portable from ?, but lets hope the floor structure and plaster is tough enough to move ? .Have moved 2 bale buildings now and not impressed.

  2. Ben Polley says:

    Hi Chris, your concern is a common query. As with construction of all methods and materials, it usually comes down to appropriateness of construction details and workmanship.
    Our portables are just that – portable. And intended for multiple relocations if desired. Built on a steel undercarriage in two halves – the building is shipped identically to conventional school portables and then assembled on site. The shipper we have used noted that as compared to conventional portables our exhibit no deflection whatsoever when being lifted and placed on site. This is no surprise to us given the strength of the engineered undercarriage and the potential strength in properly built/designed bale walls: approximately 10X stronger for vertical dead loads and 4x stronger for lateral loads based on reams of test data.
    Am not sure what/where your experience lies with other buildings constructed with bales but you would have left with different impressions if moving ours.

    • Robert Koci says:

      Hey, Ben. Nice to see you posting on Canadian Contractor. Thanks for keeping us up to date on the latest in truly environmental building methods and techs. Stay in touch!!