An earth bag building workshop
This workshop: we envision a diverse collective of people, women and men, young and old, experienced and inexperienced in building skills, joining together to build a sustainable and affordable home on the high desert of northern New Mexico. We invite a motivated, curious, and supportive group of 10 to 12 folks to engage in the various tasks in the building of an earth bag home. The project will be a collaboration of creativity, work, enjoyment, and play. Our vision is to co-create a high vibration, conscious experience — meditation, yoga, tai chi, chi gong, bodywork, and playing music are encouraged. Drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana are discouraged. We encourage participants to camp on-site as this will enrich the community experience.
Our workweek will be Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. We'll break for an hour at noon when a vegan lunch will be provided. Fruit, healthy snacks, and water will be available throughout the workday. The earth bag project is very labor intensive, so be prepared to have a lot of hands-on experiences as you learn. Kenny will be teaching, step by step, as we build from the ground up. We will be sharing our knowledge and our experience of finding the site, creating the design, gathering the team, and how to stay within the local building codes. Questions are welcomed as we co-create. Together, we'll be building a beautiful earth bag building from raw earth to beautiful home within a four-month time frame. You are encouraged to join us for the entire process, but shorter increments are possible.
Univiersity of New Mexico credits are available at an additional charge. Contact us ahead of time if you are interested in university credit.
Earth bag building is an environmentally friendly and affordable building method suitable to most climates and geographies. Building blocks are made with soil collected on the building site and contained in polypropylene woven bags. In certain circumstances the bags are filled with other materials such as gravel, pumice, or sand. The bags can also be made of natural fibers such as burlap. We choose to use the poly bags as they won’t rot. The poly bags come in various sizes and colors. Generally, there are two different styles of bags — cut individual bags and uncut continuous bags, also referred to as super adobe.
In the workshop we will be using two different methods for filling the bags. The filled earth bags are stacked, tamped, leveled, and strapped with barbed wire to keep the wall from sliding.
The continuous bags are typically used for round, vaulted, beehive structures. On our build, we will be using a combination of continuous and cut bags in a more conventional linear fashion. The thick earth bag walls are called mass walls. The mass (thickness) of the wall holds heat in the winter and keeps the house cool in the summer. The bag walls are finished on the outside with insulation and plaster, and are mudded or plastered on the inside.
We will be doing an innovative trench grade beam footing. The south wall is mostly 2 x 6 framing allowing for lots of fixed and operable windows — a key component to the passive solar design. In the winter this wall will allow the low winter sun to penetrate deeper into the house to thermally charge the mass walls and floor.
EARTH AND SUN SUSTAINABLE BUILDERS
Builders, teachers, humanitarians
Earth and Sun Sustainable Builders
EARTH AND SUN SUSTAINABLE BUILDERS specializes in building classic earthship type homes and other structures designed in harmony with their environments.
Kenny Quinn, founder of Earth and Sun Sustainable Builders, is a highly skilled builder. From concept to beautifully finished carpentry, he has the talent and skill to do the job. Caring for the environment is one of the values he holds with the highest of integrity. Helping others to be more self-sustaining in the way they live on this planet is one of the things he does best — sustainable building being key.
OTHER KEY PLAYERS
We'll be building Kelly's home, Miracolo.
After twelve years in Taos, it's time for Kelly's roots to really take hold. She has found land she loves, in the neighborhood where she has lived since 2008. All the pieces started fitting together, with miraculous wonders along the journey ... this is how the land came to be named Miracolo.
Kelly designed the layout of her home, over and over again, until deciding on the final design we'll be constructing. She is the owner-builder-contractor. She's working along side Kenny Quinn to facilitate this Earth and Sun Sustainable Builders workshop.
As a first-time builder she smartly hired a consultant, Mark Goldman. Mark is a nationally registered architect and NM licensed contractor. Mark took Kelly's design and created the architectural drawings necessary for the bank's approval and the permitting process.
Earth bag building is still considered experimental in Taos County, and we're working with the bank's money, so it is required that we have a structural engineer on the team. Bill Druc of Druc Engineering has much experience and a passion for green building. Who better to be part of this project?
ARCHITECT / CONSULTANT
OUR WORKSHOP PEOPLE
CO-CREATE A SUSTAINABLE EARTH BAG HOME
This is a four month project, building an earth bag home from the earth up. As with any creative project, time can be fluid. The building project has variables beyond our control, such as inspections. We'll be going with the flow.
MONTH 1: Building a mechanical room, bag work, perimeter insulation, and vapor barrier. Innovative trench grade beam footing.
MONTH 2: Concrete footings and concrete bond beam. 2 x 6 south facing framed wall. Roof framed and sheathed.
MONTH 3: Installing fixed and operable windows, seal windows, exterior plaster prep and plaster, pouring finish floors, putting up ceiling, building bottle and can walls.
MONTH 4: Plastering interior walls, kitchen and bathroom cabinets, building and installing doors. Finish plaster exterior. Landscaping.
The workweek will be Monday - Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
We want to make this workshop accessible to as many people as possible, while still keeping the group small for maximum learning potential. There will be a maximum of 12 hands-on participants at a time. We encourage you to participate for as much of the building process as possible. We'll do our best to accommodate individual schedules, yet, as space is limited, priority will be given to those wishing to stay longer. We are offering a price incentive for longer stays, as well.
There are a certain number of free on-site camping spots. You are welcome to arrive the day before your workshop begins to set up camp, and to take down your camp the day after your final work day. (See more under The Site.)
A vegan lunch, water, fruit, and healthy snacks are provided during the 5-day workweek.
SIXTEEN WEEKS $3800. (BEST RATE: $238/WK)
TWELVE WEEKS $3000.
EIGHT WEEKS $2050.
FOUR WEEKS $1200.
TWO WEEKS $675.
COST PER WEEK $400.
The building site is located just north of Taos, New Mexico. The mesa’s rolling landscape is swept with sage, dotted with juniper and piñon trees. To the east there are fantastic views of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, the southern end of the Rockies. We are very close to the Rio Grande Gorge, making the western view also quite beautiful. In a short walk you can be at the edge of the gorge walking a beautiful trail through land which has been designated as the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument. Within an hour's walk you can be soaking in one of the region’s best natural hot springs. A 10-minute drive in the opposite direction and you’ll be at another natural hot springs and a great swimming hole on the Rio Grande.
The site will be set up with a large shade tent complete with tables and chairs. There will also be an outdoor kitchen area with drinking water, stove, and a dish-washing station.
The site will be equipped with outdoor showers, port-a-potty, and a hand-wash station.
There will be designated places for a limited number of sleeping tents. Camping on site is free. Being gentle on the land and conserving water is important.
If you would rather rent outside accommodations, we can make some recommendations.
Taos is a unique, beautiful, creative, and historical place — some would say magical. It's about 70 miles north of Santa Fe, New Mexico.
The Taos Pueblo has been home to Native American people for more than a 1000 years. It is a UNESCO Historical Site. The beautiful adobe architecture and peaceful landscape is an outing that is highly encouraged.
The town of Taos is rich in culture and artistic history. It may be a small town, but there is always something to do — music, theatre, comedy, art openings, an abundance of historical museums, galleries, and coffee house culture. We can recommend our favorites.
The geology changes dramatically within short distances here. There are countless day trips we would recommend to experience some of them.
We get an average of 285 days of sunshine a year. The average day time temperature in July is 78°. The nights are cool even in the summer.
The Taos valley is surrounded by mountains. Out here on the mesa, we are at an altitude of about 7000 ft. It is called the land of five skies — the sky can look different in each direction, including over your head. And the starry night sky is beautiful beyond words.
FIND US ON MAP
Earth and Sun Sustainable Builders
an earth bag building workshop
Precise directions will be provided to participants.
TAOS, NEW MEXICO
BECAUSE SUSTAINABILITY MATTERS
If you are interested, we would love to talk with you. Let's set up a time to talk.
If you don't get a response from us within 48 hours, please call us at 575-770-0085.
We will never share or sell your contact information.
We would never spam you.
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EARTH & SUN
AN EARTH BAG BUILDING PROJECT
WORKSHOP MAILING ADDRESS: KELLY PASHOLK
PO BOX 153, EL PRADO NM 87529, PHONE 575-770-0085
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