about

about

ecoMOD
eco: ecology; economy
MOD: modular; modern

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

Since 2004, the ecoMOD Project at UVA 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 twelve housing units on eight sites.  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.

Sustainable residential design has also been associated with new construction, not the preservation of historic buildings. For sustainable design strategies to a broader impact, they must address new and existing building stock. By embracing older buildings, designers can uphold the legacy of historic buildings and landscapes as agents in shaping community.

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.

Since the project began in 2004, ecoMOD and ecoREMOD teams have worked with Southside Outreach, People Inc., Falmouth Heritage Renewal, Habitat for Humanity, Piedmont Housing Alliance and the City of Charlottesville to build or renovate homes, and have also developed prototypical unbuilt designs for the non-profits Jefferson Area Board for Aging and Building a Bridge.  The project is directed by faculty members in the University of Virginia School of Architecture and School of Engineering and Applied Science.  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 and economics students, participate actively in the design, construction and evaluation phases of the project.  Over 400 students have participated since 2004.

ecoMOD was established to build on the University of Virginia’s participation in the 2002 Solar Decathlon Competition, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy.  The UVA team’s design – known as the Trojan Goat – won 1st Place in the Architecture and Energy Balance categories, and took 2nd Place overall. Since the inception of the project in 2004, the project has worked with various housing organizations and non-profits to build and develop prototypes. After the successful renovation of ecoMOD3’s historic house, ecoMOD branched out to include ecoREMOD.

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