Newswise says the Virginia Tobacco Indemnification Commission and Community Revitalization Commission has awarded a $2,445,000 grant to the University of Virginia (U.Va.) to design, develop and manufacture affordable, energy-efficient and disaster-recovery housing. The focus will be on economic revitalization in formerly tobacco-dependent communities by creating 50 jobs in state-of-the-art facilities that will produce modular homes, primarily in Southwest and Southside Virginia. While U.Va. is the lead partner with its architecture, engineering and applied science departments, it is collaborating with several organizations and agencies, as well as Cardinal Homes, Inc., of Wylliesburg, VA, a modular builder, and SIPS (Structured Insulated Panel System) of Danville, VA. Computer-aided digital fabrication will be used by interdisciplinary students to build three disaster-relief prototype modular houses, including one in Haiti. The dwellings will later be evaluated for energy efficiency. The grant may be extended after two years.