about

about

ecoMOD
eco: ecology; economy
MOD: modular; modern

ecoREMOD
eco: ecology; economy
RE: regenerate; renovate
MOD: modular; modern

Since 2004, ecoMOD has worked with a variety of affordable housing organizations to create energy efficient and low impact housing units.  The project teams include students and faculty from a variety of disciplines, and collectively they have designed, built and evaluated housing units in eight cities.  In 2007, with the ecoMOD3, we began to work on renovation projects as well, and in 2009 officially launched a sister project, ecoREMOD.

Sustainable residential design has typically been a luxury reserved for the wealthy. The sustainable homes that grace the pages of design magazines are beyond the reach of most Americans. Yet it is individuals at low and moderate-income levels who can truly benefit from the reduced energy, water and maintenance costs associated with environmentally responsible homes.

The projects follow a three phase sequence:  design, build and evaluate.  The added layer of an assessment phase is important because is provides useful data for our non-profit partners to more easily document the value of their work, while it also helps build both confidence and humility in our students.

The project is engaged in two types of design efforts: ecoMOD projects are newly constructed housing units deploying prefabricated construction strategies and ecoREMOD projects are focused on regenerating and adapting historic buildings. Each ecoMOD unit engages the intersection of sustainable design, affordable housing, and prefabricated construction, while ecoREMOD units do so in historic contexts. ecoMOD XS units are small scale accessory dwelling units to be placed behind or attached to existing homes in urban contexts.

From 2004 to 2014, the initiative was located at the University of Virginia School of Architecture and School of Engineering and Applied Science.   Non-profit partners for at UVA included Southside Outreach, People Inc., Falmouth Heritage Renewal, Habitat for Humanity, Piedmont Housing Alliance and the City of Charlottesville.   ecoMOD and ecoREMOD teams built or helped renovate a total of 20 housing units in those ten years.   Graduate and undergraduate students in a variety of disciplines manage projects and participate in all aspects of ecoMOD.  The ecoMOD teams, typically made up of architecture, engineering, landscape architecture, historic preservation, planning, business, environmental science, business and economics students, participate actively in the design, construction and evaluation phases of the project.  Over 420 students have participated since 2004.

In 2014, ecoMOD Founder and Director John Quale took a new job as Director and Professor of Architecture at the University of New Mexico School of Architecture + Planning.  ecoMOD migrated with Quale to UNM, and the project is in the process of adapting to the culture, climate and academic environment.  The first UNM ecoMOD class is being taught during the spring of 2015, and we expect teams to be working with non-profits on prefab and / or rehab projects within a year.

The design process is tied to the belief that some practices within current conventional housing construction can be accepted, while others must be directly challenged.