Tuesday, August 28, 2012

In Utah, Affordable Green Homes Teach Green Build Skills

In Moab, Utah, interns from all over the world are gaining an education in people-powered, sustainable housing, while helping to put a green roof over the heads of low-income area residents. Community Rebuilds is a non-profit organization with a mission to build energy-efficient, affordable workforce housing through a volunteer-run program that also provides a basic education in straw bale construction for its worker interns. Call it the straw bale version of Habitat For Humanity.

Homeowners interested in having an old, inefficient or dilapidated home rebuilt through Community Rebuilds must meet a number of requirements. Their families must fall below the low income limits established by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and must reside within Grand County (Moab) or La Plata County (Durango). One member of the family must have had a full-time job in the area for at least two years, and applicants must be income and credit approved via a loan pre-qualification process. Community Rebuilds also works with landowners to construct new homes on similar terms.

During the process of construction, it’s not just interns who learn lessons in green building, but homeowners as well. Homeowners as well as staff members and volunteers get in on the act, working alongside one another to build the home — from foundation to finishes — in just four months. Building interns receive the most instruction on the process, however, working under licensed contractors and under the direction of natural building experts. According to Community Rebuilds, it is currently the only organization that provides this type of hands-on, green building instruction free of cost. Earth Techling