EcoNest Natural Building Workshops and Timber Framing Workshops

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Apprenticeship Graduate Brings Experience to the University of Hawaii

Justin Carvalho, a graduate of our 2015 Six-Week Apprenticeship in Ashland, Oregon, is taking the knowledge he gained at boot camp and is adapting it to his position as lead carpentry instructor at Kaua'i Community College in Hawaii.

From a recent editorial for the University of Hawai'i, Kaua'i Community College, Justin wrote:

Where have all the trade winds gone?

Some might say that the world is hotter because of Global Warming. Others will argue nothing has changed. Regardless of your stance on Global warming or recycling, we can all benefit from becoming more sustainable. I have always been a big advocate of recycling, and grew up helping my family with their recycling business here on Kauai. At the University of Hawaii, our Executive Sustainability Policy defines sustainability as "serving the needs of the present without jeopardizing the needs of the future."

This sustainability policy lead me to Ashland, Oregon for 6 weeks this past summer to participate in the EcoNest Natural Building Apprenticeship, led by the renown natural builder Robert Laporte. The training focused on timber framing, light clay straw wall construction, natural wall plasters, natural floors, and a variety of modern carpentry and finish carpentry skills. What's so different about this training from any other training, you might ask? The difference was the choice of natural materials and the integration of tradition building methods with a modern twist. One focus of natural building is to use all natural materials, which eliminates or at least greatly reduces the use of industrialized materials that often come with a host of very toxic chemicals. A second focus of natural building is using locally sourced materials in construction. 

Unlike Oregon, Hawaii does not have an abundance of building grade lumber grown locally. However, we do have the ability to grow construction grade bamboo here in Hawaii. All of these materials are 100% natural and 100% available here on Kauai. As the lead carpentry instructor at Kaua'i CC, I look forward to further exploring natural building materials that can be grown and used locally. 

We love seeing how our graduates bring what they've learned at our workshops out into the world.