Ecological, Modular And Affordable Housing
Free (open access)
Modular and panelized construction techniques have the potential of significantly reducing environmental impact – although much of that potential is unrealized among prefab homebuilders in the United States today. The ecoMOD project at the University of Virginia School of Architecture is intended to create a series of ecological, modular and affordable house prototypes. The goal is to demonstrate the environmental potential of prefabrication, and to challenge the modular and manufactured housing industry in the U.S. to explore this potential. In the context of this research and design/build project, an interdisciplinary group of architecture, engineering, landscape architecture, business, environmental science, planning and economics students are participating in the design, construction and evaluation phases of the project. The project is imbedded in the curriculum of the university. Working with non-profit affordable housing organizations, the built homes will be sold to low-income families with subsidies for down payments and financing. The first completed house is currently being evaluated as part of a process to determine the environmental impact of the homes during their life cycle; perceptions of the homes by the owners and neighbors; the energy efficiency of the design and equipment; the feasibility of their transfer to the modular housing industry; the life cycle costs; and the financial viability of taking the prototypes into production. The results of the evaluations will influence later designs, and the evaluation methods and recommendations will be made publicly available. The project is mostly funded, and will continue through to 2010 at a minimum. Keywords: prefabricated construction, modular housing, panelized construction, environmental impact, affordable housing, student design / build, post occupancy evaluation, life cycle assessment, energy efficient buildings, structural insulated panels.
prefabricated construction, modular housing, panelized construction, environmental impact, affordable housing, student design / build, post occupancy evaluation, life cycle assessment, energy efficient buildings, structural insulated panels.