CNM Students Put Final Touches on Eco-Friendly House

The students, who started working on the house in the spring, have used the project for hands-on learning
September 28, 2021

After months of hard work, CNM students are preparing to put the finishing touches on the eco-friendly house they helped build in the Barelas Neighborhood near downtown Albuquerque. With the roof complete and the exterior walls closed in, the students hope that when others walk inside they’re impressed with the attention to detail and craftsmanship.

“It was one of the funnest things I’ve ever done,” says Moses Turay, an electrical trades student who helped wire the house. “Instead of just sitting in class, it was great to learn with my hands.” 

Students from CNM’s carpentry and electrical trades programs worked to build the house from the ground up, along with ACE Leadership High School students from Future Focused Education’s X3 Internship program.

The project was created through a collaboration between CNM Ingenuity’s Green Building program and Homewise, a non-profit that provides affordable housing and lending options to help New Mexicans become homeowners. 

Through the Green Building program, students work side-by-side with experienced builders and educators on affordable housing projects, while learning about cutting-edge green-building techniques.

“It came to our attention that CNM had this Green Building program and together we determined that it would be a really nice partnership to be able to get students on-site, real-life experience with an actual building,” says Carl Davis, the Community Development and Construction Manager for Homewise. “The project helped the students get out of the lab and into the kind of work environments they’re going to be entering into in the workforce and also allows us to save a little bit on labor.”

CNM President Tracy Hartzler, right, tours the house.

The goal is for the house to achieve a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum Certification. LEED is a program administered by the U.S. Green Building Council and has become the most widely used green building rating system in the world. 

To achieve a Platinum rating, the completed home will boast features such as electric appliances, low flow fixtures, and extra insulation.

“I’m hoping this will be one of the best projects that we’ve ever done and that people will walk in and look at the lighting system and look at the outlets and be like, ‘You know what? This is a great job. I would love for those people to wire my next home or my next project,’” Moses says.

The three-bedroom, two-bath home is expected to go on the market next year. Homewise says they hope to help a low- to moderate-income family already renting in the area purchase the home. Any profits from the sale of the house will then help fund another building project.

This year’s project was made possible through a generous grant from Lowe's. Additional support was received from PNM and the National Science Foundation's Advanced Technological Education Award #1601121.