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Maria Saxton recently received a Ph.D. in Environmental Design and Planning in the Building Construction Department at Virginia Tech. She is a fellow in the interdisciplinary Bio-Inspired Buildings (BioBuild) graduate education program. Her doctoral research involved measuring the ecological footprints of tiny home downsizers. Maria has extensive experience in the growing tiny home research field. In addition to her doctoral research, she has conducted tiny home community feasibility studies and has worked on developing a cost-estimating tool to implement tiny home communities in her home state of Virginia. Her driving interests in the tiny home field include community development, sustainable designs, and solutions for affordable housing.
August 2018 - present
- Research Assistant
- Current conducting doctoral research on the built environment. Specifically looking at the ecological footprints of individuals who downsize to tiny homes (dwellings under 400 sq. ft.)
May 2018 - December 2018
Virginia Community Capital
- Partnered with VCC and Alleghany Highlands Economic Development Corporation to create a cost-estimating tool for design and implementation of a local tiny home lodging facility.
August 2016 - August 2018
- Research Assistant
- Research to explore building systems and biological systems synergistically to discover innovative connections between these two fields.
Mixed methods study to explore and understand the ecological footprints of individuals in the United States who have lived in their tiny homes for a year or more. Footprints were compared to previous footprints in prior housing to understand behavioral changes as a result of downsizing.
Today’s college graduates seek employment that contributes to sustainability, while employers seek new employees who have practical, hands-on experience addressing sustainability challenges. However, few students emerge from university with the mindset and tools to immediately apply sustainability concepts to the challenges they face. A multidiscip...