Commercializing Energy-efficient Affordable Housing: The EcoMOD South Project
This paper addresses some of the recent activities of the ecoMOD project, a research and design / build / evaluate initiative at the University of Virginia School of Architecture and School of Engineering and Applied Science. In 2011, the ecoMOD received a substantial portion of a $2.45 million grant from a regional economic development funder to work with commercial companies and non-profit organizations in the two most economically deprived areas of Virginia, Southside and Southwestern Virginia. The funding is being used to develop a commercially available version of an ecoMOD home design. Since 2004, ecoMOD has designed, built and evaluated prefabricated affordable homes for affordable housing organizations such as Piedmont Housing Alliance and Habitat for Humanity. This recent grant is intended to commercialize a modular Passive House Standard version of one of the previous designs and help develop the capacity for fabricating sophisticated, high-performance homes in the region. The effort is dubbed 'ecoMOD South' because the affordable housing organizations and fabricators are based in Southside and Southwestern Virginia.