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.
The idea here is both to reduce the costs of construction and use the construction process itself to teach the art and craft of energy efficient straw bale building. Community Rebuilds connects families with low interest rate loans, uses volunteer labor, and constructs each home to spec based on a simple architectural plan, thereby limiting architectural and engineering costs. During the construction process, the organization also makes use of as many recycled and donated building materials as possible.
More information on the program is available online.