Durango Telegraph - ?A Systems Approach to the Perfect Dwelling:? Conference comes to FLC June 14-15
?A Systems Approach to the Perfect Dwelling:? Conference comes to FLC June 14-15

There’s more to building green than straw bales and solar panels. At least that’s the message of the Colorado Straw Bale Association, which will be hosting its seventh annual Natural Building Conference on June 14-15 at Fort Lewis College. This year’s theme, “A Systems Approach to the Perfect Dwelling,” takes a wholistic approach to natural building, according to Kelly Mathews, a local builder and key player in developing this year’s theme.

“With every structure I build, I learn at least one new technique, one superior material to use on that never-ending approach to building the perfect house,” Mathews says. “Based on feedback from last year’s participants, we’ve designed this conference to look at more than just straw bale walls, more than passive solar design. We’re looking at all the systems of home build

ing so our guests can see how each system affects the other.”

This year’s speakers include:

- Randy Udall, of Aspen’s Community Office for Resource Efficiency, who will speak on America’s coming energy challenges.

- David Eisenberg, of the Development Center for Appropriate Technology in Tucson, who will talk about how developing standards for alternative building methods that can be adopted by local building departments

- Brian Fuentes, a Boulder architect, who will talk about how a systems approach to building can be projected onto the bigger environment in which a home exists.

The conference will also include breakout sessions

led by regional natural builders who will cover the main systems of home building and offer natural, sustainable and energy-efficient alternatives to conventional methods and materials.

Sunday will feature an eclectic, natural home tour, which will end at a load-bearing straw bale home where participants can try their hands at clinics on straw bale wall-building, earthen cob and plaster, and plaster maintenance.

– John T. Rehorn