Students Gain Valuable Experience Building Eco-Friendly Home

As part of the project, CNM students are operating as paid interns and are offered many opportunities to receive additional trainings and certifications.

The PNM Foundation has provided CNM Ingenuity with a $200,000 grant to fund an eco-friendly housing project that will help CNM students and UNM students get valuable practical field experience.

The grant has helped CNM Ingenuity create a collaborative internship program with the UNM School of Architecture that allows students from both schools to work on the housing project together.

The “ecoMOD” house will be an energy efficient, high-performing and cost-effective modular home that will be placed in the Albuquerque metro as an affordable housing option.

The house is currently being built at the CNM Workforce Training Center. It was designed by UNM’s Architecture program and is being constructed primarily by CNM Ingenuity students looking to enhance their trades skills and students majoring in carpentry, construction management, electrical, plumbing and HVAC.

As part of the initiative, the CNM students are operating as paid interns and are offered many opportunities to receive additional trainings and certifications. For example, Michael Notah, a CNM student in the Environmental Planning and Design program, was able to get OSHA 10 certified in order to work on the project.

“I think a huge benefit is being able to get that certification through working on this project and also being able to work as a group to achieve a goal as a team,” says Michael.

Michael says he was motivated to join the project so he can take the knowledge he’s learning about sustainable building and apply it to his Navajo community.

“My main goal is to bring sustainability to the reservation,” he says. “I’m always looking for ways to create a healthy home using high-quality, environmental-friendly materials that will withstand the test of time.”

The project is “Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design” certified. LEED is the most widely used green building rating system in the world.

Ginger Blaze, a student in CNM’s Carpentry program, says this project has taught her the importance of being able to adapt to unforeseen circumstances in real-world construction.

“When something is not going right, you learn how to think on your feet and fix the problem,” she says.

Before becoming involved with this project, Ginger says she was unsure of what she wanted to do. She and her husband are currently in the process of building their own house so she thought this project was a great opportunity to learn skills that she could apply to her construction project.

Ginger says that being one of the few women working on the project has motivated her to encourage other women to pursue careers in construction.

“The environment here is very inclusive, and everyone is so helpful,” she says. “We all have creative sides and I think sometimes women are taught to repress that. But if they see women like me doing work like this, maybe they will feel more empowered to join this awesome field.”

The project is planned to be finished by end of summer. Once completed, the house being built at the WTC will be transported and placed near CNM’s Main Campus along Buena Vista SE, where there’s currently a dirt parking lot.

For more information about the project, contact CNM Ingenuity. For more information about programs in the trades, visit CNM’s School of Applied Technologies.

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