2019 Fall, Winter, and 2020 Spring Term

This year we have the opportunity to open the program to a fall, winter, and spring term for the first time in our school’s history. During these terms we will be building a 2 car garage with an apartment above, a 900 sq ft single-family home with a loft, and a 1500 sq. ft. greenhouse.

The 30′ x 30′ garage with an apartment above it will be conventionally framed with sustainably harvested and locally milled lumber. The walls will either be filled with strawbales or light clay woodchips and then plastered with a heavy straw-clay leveling coat. The apartment above the garage will be insulated with straw bales. The structure will be finished with natural earth plasters on the inside, and lime plaster on the outside.

This project will be built to code and will use conventional building alongside natural building techniques. The construction of the garage is likely to start in October and be completed by March.

In January we will begin the construction of a 900 sq ft home with conventional framing and straw bale infill. This unique project, designed by the homeowner, will feature natural plasters on the inside and lime plasters on the outside. The home will have one bedroom on the main floor, and a second bedroom in the loft. It will include a kitchen, bathroom, living room, and a big deck.

During the construction of this project, participants will learn how to build a natural structure on a slope. The foundation will be stair-stepped to follow the contour of the land. The home will be built to code and construction will likely be completed by May.

The 1500 sq ft. greenhouse will be built using natural building materials such as sustainably cut cedar, straw bales, local clay, and sand. Three of the walls will be infilled with straw bales. The South wall will be infilled with cob. In this project participants will have the opportunity to learn about natural geothermal ventilation systems that can be used to heat and cool the greenhouse using minimal solar power. They will learn how build roof trusses to support snow and wind loads. The greenhouse will be plastered with lime on the inside and out to protect the straw bales and the cob.

Participants joining us on these projects will have the opportunity to see the whole construction process, from foundation to finishes, depending on when you join us. Other learning opportunities include volunteer days and monthly workshops. We will also be offering an online course that details the entire construction process, a great option if you can’t join one of our onsite programs. The online courses can also be paired with our monthly workshops to create a cohesive learning experience.

We are excited to offer many opportunities for learning natural building, for those with or without building experience. To find a program that fits your experience level and availability visit our programs page. Join us to learn everything you need to know about building a natural structure to code.