Natural Building N. E. Gathering ~ details

Share your most advanced sketchup models, techniques and resources. After the earthship tour we will have a virtual tour with questions and answers of the behind the scenes 3-D designs that we have been working on with a focus on how all that magic actually gets done. Bring prints of plans that you have made with sketchups layout software.

Heating Systems for Natural Buildings facilitated by Steve Paisley

How well do various heating systems integrate into natural buildings with different heating loads? Is a wood stove just as good as (or better than) a masonry heater for low-load, high-mass buildings? Should we all be just adding PV and heating (and cooling) with ductless mini-splits (or ground-source heat pumps)? Are boiler-heated radiant floors dead (as one article in GBA suggested)? What about indoor wood boilers?
Please feel free to share specific experiences of systems in terms of how they fit into the design of a natural building, costs, comfort, sustainability, and user happiness. If a picture or slide or two will help us all visualize your system – please send to Steve

Natural Kitchens, presented by Diana Katzmann

Green kitchen designer Diana Katzmann will offer tantalizing images of non-traditional kitchens, layout recipes of what you need to make them work for your clients, and lead us into a discussion of more natural kitchen materials options – from countertops to finishes. Feel free to bring samples of materials or products you’ve used and enjoyed.

Creative Inspiration, breakout lunch discussion, facilitated by Diana Katzmann

Where do you look for creative inspiration? Nature? Travels? Blogs? Let’s share inspirations!

Straw/Cell Systems: Design & Construction, presented by Aaron Dennis with Deva Rascusin, Ace McArelton, & Ben Graham

Aaron, Deva, Ace and Ben will share their designs of strawcell wall systems – the new kid on the block. The basic idea of adding a framed wall filled with cellulose insulation to the outside of the bale wall in place of exterior plaster opens up new possibilities for creating walls that meet rigorous building standards, allows for extended season construction, provides easy attachments for siding and more. A discussion of design will be followed by examples of recent, real-live strawcell buildings that have been built and what we have learned from it.

Assigning Market Values to Natural Homes presented by Brent Katzmann

How do you determine the value of a natural home? Green builder and local realtor Brent Katzmann will briefly present some examples of natural homes that have gone up for sale in recent years – what was original building cost? how was it appraised/what was used for comps? how long was it on the market? what did it sell for? etc. If you have similar info on buildings in your area, please bring it to add to the discussion.

Pecha Kucha

Up to 20 slides of your most recent work x 20 seconds/slide = 6 minutes & 40 seconds of natural building fame & glory! If you’d like to participate, please send copies of slides by March 25thto (Please label slides as: yourname1, yourname2, etc…) Max 20 slides/person.

Small Business Forum, facilitated by Brent Katzmann

Facilitated group discussion on running small construction company – from business structure and organization options to managing a small business (time management, scheduling, site management, risk management, personnel issues, dealing with subs, etc ), along with shared advice on how-to-stay-sane-/-enjoy-a-family-life-/-find-time-and-money-to-afford-an-occasional-vacation-/-etc-while-running-your-own-natural-construction-business-with-constantly-either-too-much-or-not-enough-work-and-meanwhile-your-new-carpenter-hire-who-took-a-week-off-to-visit-friends-in-chicago-just-called-to-say-he-won’t-be-back-to-finish-out-your-current-over-deadline-project-cause-he-just-joined-a-rock-band sort of thing.

Building for the 99% facilitated by Maria Klemperer-Johnson

All of us want to be paid a fair wage for our time and expertise, as well as pay our labor a living wage for their work. When building a home of quality, even a modestly sized one, labor costs push the price of that house to a level only the 1% can afford. Discussions about building affordable housing usually center around modular design, lowering quality, and paying labor less. Is there another way? Can we change the system so the 99% can afford a well built, carefully thought out, custom home.  Is it possible to simplify design and reduce size enough to build an affordable home that still has character, craftsmanship, and fairly paid labor? Is the only way to offer the 99% something of quality to teach them how to do it themselves? This will be an open ended discussion.