From the New York Times:
When my wife, Julia, and I arrived in Moab, Utah, to start our four-month internship building a straw bale house, a party was raging in the backyard.
Our internship is with the nonprofit group Community Rebuilds, and on the evening we drove up to the house we’ll be sharing with seven other interns, Emily Niehaus, the group’s founder and director, was throwing a thank-you party for Bike and Build. This pack of several dozen 20-somethings had peddled into Moab a few days ahead of us to help tear out the doublewide trailer that would be replaced by a straw bale house. . . .
Through it all, Emily has become partners with Eric Plourde, a contractor and former Outward Bound instructor. He is essentially our boss on the work site. Eric comes from the conventional building trades, but has become not only a convert to natural building but also a prosthelytizer.
He said he came to Community Rebuilds because he “wanted a change from the cheap and dirty building” of conventional construction. During our learning sessions, he spends a lot of time talking about the “stupid” decisions made by contractors who do not concern themselves with the environmental impact of their work. . . .
But one of the early lessons I have learned from Eric is that while every builder must balance labor against the price of materials with each decision he makes, a builder conscious of what he calls “the true cost” of materials has a whole different vector to calculate.
To read the complete article, click here.