ecoMOD South is the latest iteration in modular, affordable housing from the University of Virginia team. Students, educators and consultants have been working for a decade to build more efficient, sustainable homes at a reasonable price point. Located in South Boston, VA, these two homes feature almost identical layouts, except one is built to Passive House standards and the other one is built to local code. The ecoMOD team will monitor the homes and determine the effectiveness of the efficiency upgrades as well as asses the return on investment of building to Passive House standards.
The ecoMOD South project is the next generation in a long line of modular houses designed by the University of Virginia team. The two homes look exactly the same on the exterior and have the same floor plan, but the homes are vastly different in between. One home is built to Passive House standards, while the other was built to standard code. The goal is to determine how much better the Passive House performs and to gauge the cost of upgrades against how much it recoups in energy efficiency savings. Students and teachers from the University of Virginia will monitor the two homes and compare their results over the next couple of years. And to provide even more data, a third home built just like the Passive House in South Boston was also installed in Abingdon, VA, which has a slightly different climate zone to further compare the team’s design and construction.
What’s also impressive about the ecoMOD project, besides it being a real-time test to compare building standards, is that both homes were built affordably. The Passive House was constructed and delivered for $105 per square foot and the standard control home was built for $70 per square foot (not including design fees or foundation work.) The modules for the homes were prefabricated just 20 miles away from the installation site, and also feature other locally-sourced products like FSC-certified red oak flooring, bark siding, the decking lumber, SIPs and cementitious fiber board siding with 50% recovered flyash from a nearby coal-burning power plants in Georgia.
Images © Trent Bell and Andrea Hubbell