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SBIO Extension Professors awarded USDA grant to support the export of wooden modular homes to developing countries

March 18, 2015 – Last October 2014, the Federal State Marketing Improvement Program (FSMIP) at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) awarded a competitive grant to Dr. Henry Quesada-Pineda and Dr. Robert Smith to explore market opportunities for U.S. modular home manufacturers in selected countries. Virginia and the mid- Atlantic region have a number of modular home companies that could improve their performance by increasing the export of homes to developing countries. Since homes can be customized at the factory, it is believed that smaller homes can be shipped in containers and erected quickly by semi-skilled labor at the job site in developing countries in Latin America.

According to the Inter-American Development Bank, one out of three families in the Latin America region lives in an inadequate housing structure. Almost 2 million families that are formed each year are obligated to live in marginal zones in informal housing structures. In countries such as Costa Rica and Colombia there is a high demand for social housing solutions. For example, the social housing deficit in Costa Rica is 1.1 million and in Colombia it is 2.2 million. In both countries there is an important engineering community with growing interest in using more wooden housing solutions to alleviate the current housing deficit. However, in both countries efforts to promote the benefits of using wooden houses needs to be increased to change consumer’s perceptions of wood against other construction materials.

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Winter 2015


Upcoming Events

Category-12 Wood Preservation Re-certification Workshops

Workshops for those needing category-12, wood preservation, re-certification. 

  • Madison Wood Preservers in Madison, VA from 9:00-12:00 on March 25th.
  • Lexington, VA at the Rockbridge County extension office from 9:00-12:00 the morning of Friday, March 27th. 

Pre-registration is required, please contact Dr. Bond at (540) 231-8752 or

Web-Based Unit Load Design Short Course for Pallet Suppliers

“How to Use Pallet Design Differently” Date: April 21-23, 2015
Location: Live Webinar
Topics include: 

  • Principles of unit load design; 
  • Unit load material handling audit procedures; 
  • Packaging design; 
  • Pallet design; 
  • Material handling systems; 
  • Interactions between material handling equipment, packaging, and pallets; 
  • Diagnosing and solving material handling problems; 
  • Stringer and block class pallet design using Best LoadTM

For more information visit or call (540) 231-7673



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