Natural Building and Green Design from the ground up!
July 28th – September 14th, 2013
The Sustainable Shelter Workshop Series is a 7 week course designed to empower participants with the ability to design/build/renovate their own home using simple techniques and natural, vernacular materials. During this course we will start from the ground and move up teaching not only the art/science of natural building and green design, but the corresponding appropriate technologies essential for successfully integrating your shelter into a permaculture landscape.
The course is taught by a TEAM of Pacific Northwest natural builders with over fifty years of experience in the field whose teaching emphasis is direct, hands-on involvement for the students complimented by classroom/theory time when appropriate. During the course we will be constructing a 200 sqft. model home giving participants the opportunity to see the principles and techniques they are learning put into practice. See PHOTOS from last year’s program!
Watch this short video to get a feel for the program and hear from the teachers and past students.
Every home needs a good set of boots. This class teaches you everything you need to know to ensure your home stands on a sturdy foundation. We’ll be working with rock, earthbag, and concrete foundations as well as proper drainage systems to ensure the longevity of your handmade home.
Timber and pole framing is a timeless tradition among the owner/builder. In this class you will learn the craft of joining large timbers and poles in the service of your home. As well, we will cover some modern techniques of “green framing” such as the Larsen Truss and staggered stud framing.
Week 3 A Simple Yurt
Traditional yurts are big baskets covered in woolen felt, and designed for portability. This one, however, is designed for greater permanence, and covered with a durable, insulating, earthen “fabric” made of mud, vegetable fiber, and lime. Add a simple, layered, fabric roof for a quick, efficient, inexpensive, and eminently practical shelter.
Insulation equals warmth. In temperate climates like Oregon’s its necessary for your home to have a jacket in the winter (and to make sure its zipped!) In this comparative workshop we will be covering the basics of Strawbale Construction, Light Clay Straw and Chip-Slip infill, as well as the types of framing and form work required for each system. We will also cover the more conventional green alternatives currently available to the home builder such as Cellulose and Wool. In addition to techniques, be ready to discuss the meaning of ‘R-values’, infiltration, solar potential and thermal mass, and how we can make better use of these principles in our homes.
The hearth is the heart of the home. When you burn wood in the colder months, you are releasing the heat and light that trees have captured and stored during the warmer months. Learning to build heaters and stoves that burn wood cleanly and maximize the heat captured inside the home is our goal.
There was a time before drywall and latex paint when the owner/builder transformed vernacular materials, whether limestone or clay, into beautiful interior and exterior walls. Come relearn the timeless craft of lime and clay plasters and paints.
Earthen floors are rapidly being recognized as a desirable, natural alternative to conventional floor systems. Not only do they capture heat (or cool) increasing the energy efficiency of your home but they are pleasing to both the eye and the soles of your feet. Come explore the potential of earthen floor systems with earthen floor master Sukita Crimmel.
Additional topics include:
Water is the lifeblood of the home. It quenches the inhabitants, washes the dirt, and carries away the wastes. This course will teach the participant how to use water as an opportunity to integrate the home into a broader permaculture landscape from catchment to dispersal. As well, we will be demonstrating how to make your own solar/wood-fired hot water system, making use of local energy sources for your home’s energy needs.
In urban settings, green roofs help mitigate peak rainfall events and the urban heat island effect while increasing overall building performance. Besides rooftop insulation, green roofs provide a pleasant natural contrast to otherwise unused urban space. In a rural setting green roofs offer a sustainable alternative to conventional roofing models. In this portion of the course we will survey current green roof options and finish by installing our own do-it-yourself version.