CNM student wants to bring ‘eco-friendly’ homes to Navajo Nation

New Mexico

A class project could end up helping a lot of people in need. CNM students are building an eco-friendly home, and one man thinks homes like it could help turn his entire community. 

“I see a lot of struggle,” said CNM student Michael Notah.

Notah grew up on the Navajo Nation.

“The Navajo Nation and any reservation is a poverty-stricken area,” said Notah.

After a lifetime of seeing dilapidated homes he believes were unfit for families, Notah decided to do something about it for his own young daughters.

“Just live in a healthy house where, you know, they can breathe in fresh air, not worry about water, worry about electricity. So, they can focus on their schoolwork,” said Notah.

Notah is one of a few dozen CNM students working on building an eco-friendly home called the ecoMOD. The homes are easier to build and more affordable.

Notah plans to bring the skills he learns there back to the Navajo Nation, to build a kind of home he thinks could change everything.

“It’s a healthy house and it’s building a healthy community,” said Notah.

Notah is hoping to start his own business on the Navajo Nation.

The ecoMOD home the students are currently building will be moved to a vacant lot near CNM’s campus and will eventually be rented out. The project is funded by the PNM foundation.

ecoMOD is a project of the UNM School of Architecture & Planning (SA&P), whose students design the houses in three separate design studios. The UNM/CNM partnership was initiated in 2014 in order to bring together designers and builders.

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