Getting Back to the Basics – Sustainable Building and Living

Hands-On Workshops and Classes Offered

by Dan Payne, Deborah Payne, and Kella Unnerstall
Environmental Energy Consultants

In the U.S. we overlook some basic, sustainable, inexpensive and energy efficient owner-built building techniques found around the world. Dan’s goal is to teach/provide the resources to individuals to be more sustainable and self-sufficient in constructing homes of local, inexpensive, sustainable materials. Homes and other structures that can be owner-built without long-term payments. Materials that must be purchased can be done so locally, keeping our tax dollars at home, supporting local business, schools and jobs bringing communities, neighbors and families together.

Beginning in 2013 in Bourbon, Missouri, Environmental Energy Consultants will be holding hands-on sustainable building workshops in Strawbale, Cordwood and Earthbag Construction techniques. There will also be classes in Solar Electricity, Cob Oven construction, Rubble Trench Foundation, Living Roof, Survival Skills, Cheese Making, Basket Making, Soap Making and Natural Paint and Finishes.

EDUCATION Basic Skills:
June 2013 Workshop
Learning the ancient ways can re-awaken our awareness of how little we really need to live, and be mentally, physically and spiritually nourished by that knowledge. Recognizing the sacred gift of our food, plants and animals and simply even living outside and sleeping under the stars can re-acquaint us with the miracle of “the spirit that moves in all things”, and help guide us toward a healthier relationship with our world. Ancient skills such as:

  • Friction fire (bow & hand-drill),
  • Cordage (string and rope from plant fiber)
  • Emergency survival shelter
  • Primitive survival traps
  • Wild edible/useful plant identification
  • Water procurement and treatment

Advanced Skills:
August 2013
Workshop covers:

  • Weaponry (atlatl, bow and arrow, blowgun construction)
  • Advanced tool making and hafting
  • Glues and adhesives (pine pitch, hide and fish glue)
  • Advanced techniques for basic skills.

SOLAR Workshop
July 2013
Photovoltaics provide the electrical energy that we can use to power our appliances and our dreams. PV is a long-term, reliable investment that will buffer you from a volatile energy market. Since most people in America are already connected to the electric grid, photovoltaic grid intertie makes a lot of sense. However, in remote locations, or if you wish to remove yourself from the electric grid, PV solar panels combined with batteries will provide you with energy independence and years of off-grid pleasure!

Future classes will include: Self-Sufficient Aquaponic Greenhouse design, Food Preservation (canning, root cellaring, smoke house design), Frugal Cooking, Cob Mass (Passive Heating and Cooling), Earthen Floors, Earthen and Lime Plasters, Roof water Collection (Cistern Systems), Rocket Mass Heater Construction and home school group art/craft classes.

Most individuals at this point are saying “What type of Construction”? Here is some basic information regarding the different types of Construction mentioned.

Straw-bale construction uses bales of straw as either structural-load bearing material with high insulation value or infill building insulation using a frame interior such as timberframe or post and beam as the building support. Advantages of straw-bale construction over conventional building systems include: the renewable nature of straw, availability of low cost straw being a waste material of grain production, naturally fire-retardant, ease of homeowner construction and high insulation value.
Building with straw meets the standard for sustainability, with low-impact, non-toxic, low-embodied energy and the potential for using simple construction techniques.
Strawbale Construction, Rubble Trench and Living Roof Workshops:
October 2013

Cordwood construction (cordwood masonry or stackwood construction) is a term used for a natural building method in which “ cordwood” or short pieces of debarked tree are laid up crosswise with masonry or cob mixtures to build a wall. Cordwood construction is an economical use for log ends or fallen trees.
Cordwood Sauna Design – September 2013 Workshop

Earthbag Construction: One of the most practical structures is a multi-purpose structure that can serve as emergency shelters, temporary or permanent housing, root cellars or any conceivable structure.

Earthbag Cellar Workshop
June 2013
Earthbag construction is an inexpensive method to create structures which are both strong and can be quickly built. It is a natural building technique that evolved from historic military bunker construction techniques and temporary flood-control dike building methods. The technique requires very basic construction skills and materials: sturdy sacks, materials usually available on site (such as sand, gravel, or clay). Walls are gradually built up by laying the bags in courses forming a staggered pattern similar to bricklaying. The walls are almost always curved to provide improved lateral stability, forming round rooms and domed ceilings like an igloo.

The skills you learn will serve you well no matter the structure you plan to build.

<h3>Other Scheduled 2013 Workshops not to Miss!</h3>
Natural Paints and Finishes July 2013 Workshop
Cheese MakingJuly and August 2013 Workshops
Basket MakingSeptember and November 2013 Workshops
Soap Making – December 2013 Workshop

Instructors in some of Environmental Energy Consultants classes are local experts in these fields who, through mutual interests and like mindedness, have become friends, further bonding a community of sustainability, self-sufficiency and support.
Be sure to check out their web site frequently or request to be added to their mailing list as they add additional workshops throughout the year! www.environmentalenergyconsultants.com. Or call Dan Payne at 636-399-3227.

Dan Payne, managing member of Environmental Energy Consultants, is a Building Performance institute Certified Building Science Profes-sional and holds certifications in Green Building, Solar Water Heating, Indoor Air Quality, Indoor Environ-mentalist, Microbial Investigation, and Sustainability.

Dan is also an Adjunct at East Central College in Union where he teaches Energy Auditing and Home Weatherization courses and has taught building science courses at Missouri Botanical Gardens Earth-ways Center, John Logan College Carbondale, IL, Southwest IL Community College, Lincoln Land College Springfield, IL., STL Community Action Agency, and Urban League of St. Louis.