CNM Ingenuity Provides Internships to Build Eco-friendly Homes

‘ecoMOD’ Homes to be Provided as Affordable Housing Options in Albuquerque
March 02, 2018

With the help of a $200,000 donation from PNM, CNM Ingenuity is launching a program to provide paid internships for CNM students and Albuquerque-area job seekers to build “ecoMOD” homes – energy efficient, high-performing and cost-effective modular homes that will be placed in Albuquerque as affordable housing options.

CNM is partnering on the effort with the University of New Mexico School of Architecture, including professor John Quale, the founder and director of the award-winning ecoMOD Project.

The first prefabricated ecoMOD home as part of the CNM-UNM partnership is currently being built at CNM’s Workforce Training Center and, when complete, will be provided to Habitat for Humanity for placement in the Barelas neighborhood. Then, one home per year over the next two years of the grant will be built by paid interns. These homes will be placed in the vicinity of CNM’s Main Campus as affordable housing options for community members.

The UNM School of Architecture will provide construction drawings and documents for the ecoMOD homes and CNM’s School of Applied Technologies will oversee the construction of projects and the internships. Quale’s ecoMOD Project, which started when he was a professor at the University of Virginia, won the Research and Development Award in 2013 from Architect Magazine, published by the American Institute of Architects, and was a finalist for the World Habitat Award.

“When I started the ecoMOD Project at the University of Virginia in 2003, I wanted to partner with a community college with construction trades courses,” Quale said. “Despite my efforts, I wasn’t able to accomplish it there. In 2014, when ecoMOD moved with me to UNM, I learned that CNM has an excellent selection of relevant courses. Over time, I got to know faculty and administrators at CNM, and it ultimately led to this great collaboration.”

“I firmly believe that UNM architecture and engineering students will benefit from their interaction with the CNM students. Our focus is on creating sustainable, affordable and prefabricated homes. This generation of students is enthusiastic about this mission, and in particular its relevance in New Mexico. I’m looking forward to a long-term partnership.”

The long-term goal for this collaborative effort is to make it sustainable for the future by establishing a network of partners across the state, including homebuilders, contractors, state organizations and non-profit housing organizations, that can work with CNM Ingenuity and ecoMOD to build and distribute units while incorporating paid internships. In addition to providing much-needed affordable housing options in New Mexico, the internships would bolster the pipeline for a highly skilled construction workforce with experience using cutting edge, sustainable construction materials and technologies.

“This model has tremendous potential to grow and have positive impacts in so many ways,” said Kyle Lee, executive director of CNM Ingenuity. “We have high hopes to expand this collaborative model across the state. It would provide more opportunities for students and boost the quality of our construction workforce while helping more New Mexicans live in high-quality, affordable homes.”

CNM students majoring in plumbing, carpentry, construction management, electrical and HVAC will be eligible for the internships. The two-year grant will fund 15 CNM interns and five community members who are seeking work in the construction industry.

The $200,000 grant from PNM stems from its “A New Century of Service” grant opportunities.