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‘Cottage Industry’ Thrives in Applied Technologies

The “old” part is the practice of cottage building by CNM students in construction and mechanical trades. According to Carpentry instructor Paul Brownlow, this term’s students are putting together the 113th cottage in a series that’s been going on since the program started many years ago at then-TVI. Building a small residential structure gives students real-world experience and practice using the skills they are learning in class.

Aug 30, 2016

December 2010

ATC Cottage
This story is about something old, something new, something borrowed and something... green?

The “old” part is the practice of cottage building by CNM students in construction and mechanical trades. According to Carpentry instructor Paul Brownlow, this term’s students are putting together the 113th cottage in a series that’s been going on since the program started many years ago at then-TVI. Building a small residential structure gives students real-world experience and practice using the skills they are learning in class.

What’s “new” is that this cottage is different from its 112 predecessors – it’s designed for sustainability in use of building materials and energy efficiency (more details about this to come). The rough construction has been going on throughout the fall term; finishing touches will be added in the spring as students learn the appropriate skills and techniques.

“Borrowed” are the talents of students from six different Applied Technologies programs. Architectural/engineering drafting students redesigned the building plans, specifying the use of finger-jointed 2”x6” lumber that uses scrap wood from the mills, cutting costs and reducing waste of construction materials. Other modifications were made to accommodate the sustainable design features. Carpentry students lead the construction project; in addition to framing, flooring, drywall, windows, interior doors and finishing touches, they will install new insulation intended to save energy and reduce heating and cooling costs.

Electrical technology students will perform the residential wiring and install receptacles, switches, lighting equipment and the like; the electrical system will be prewired to allow the addition of a photovoltaic (solar electric) panel. Student plumbers will put in the piping and possibly add kitchen and bathroom fixtures.

Air conditioning, heating and refrigeration students will install another new feature: a highly efficient heat pump system with panels in each room that heat or cool the space, eliminating the need for ductwork and separate furnace/air cooling equipment. Construction management students balance the construction scheduling with the curriculum, making sure that each team of specialists has access to the project when the time is right.

ATC Cottage Construction
What’s “green” is not just the eco-friendly aspects of the cottage. After completion, it will be auctioned off to bring in enough “green” to recoup the cost of the building materials, ensuring that the project is financially as well as environmentally sustainable for CNM. Earlier cottages are now in use in locations around the Albuquerque metro area and as far away as Los Lunas, Belen and even Las Vegas.

The project is scheduled to be completed by the end of the spring term; then the auction will take place and the cottage will be transported from the building site behind the Ted Chavez portables to its new location, where the new owners will happily settle down in some cozy comfort.