Recently I was working out of Page, Arizona when I noticed this headline in the Lake Powell (Page) Chronicle!
Hogan’s Heroes – PHS Students “green” building up for award….
Hogan’s Heroes (get it?) was a nice introduction to this article. Page, a City of only 7200 people in far Northern Arizona is the gateway to Lake Powell, and provides the nearest shopping and schools for many of the students and residents of the Navajo Reservation. The reservation is so remote that many of the Navajos families have no water or power to their Hogans.
A Hogan is a traditional home of the Navajos. The NavajoPeople.Org website says this about the Hogan.
“The hogan is a sacred home for the Diné (Navajo) people who practice traditional religion. Every family even if they live most of the time in a newer home — must have the traditional hogan for ceremonies, and to keep themselves in balance.”
To read more about the Navajo people, go to the following link.
So How did this Green Hogan get built?
Through the cooperative efforts of Sustainable Design teacher Lisa Riedel and Construction teacher Jim Vanderwiels and their students, they planned and constructed a 1600 square foot hogan that features recycled-tire roof tiles topped off with a passive and active solar system, a gray water system, rainwater capturing system, hot water heat throughout the floor, as well as daylight tubing that brings in light but not heat. Riedel who has a straw home herself wanted to pass on energy efficiency techniques to her community. Her vision as well as some grant funding brought this project to life. The solar system has been successful enough that excess energy produced by this system is directed over to the schools Gymnasium!
While not built of logs and mud, this more modern hogan was still built with Navajo traditions wherein the multi-sided design has a door facing to the east. A storm patterned rug is painted on the floor, and a venting pipe stands in the center of the building. This makes it a location worthy of traditional Navajo ceremonies.
To read the Lake Powell Chronicle article go to the following link.
Not only does this type of project help the students understand what a green building is capable of, it provides a model of what can be built in the future for the local Navajo people. If these techniques are used for future construction, many of the remote homes within the reservation could provide modern sustainable ways of living for the people.
So How can you get a Green Building Program going in your Community?
There are several good educational programs that High Schools can model a program after if they are so inclined.
The Green Home Builder magazine points out a program that has been implemented in California.
They point out the affiliation with the Building Industry Technology Academy (BITA). BITA provides training for those who want to work in the construction industry and the construction of a Sustainable home was but one of their projects.
What if you wanted to get your High School students started learning about or building their own Green Building?
If you don’t have organizations like those mentioned above in your neighborhood, EHow Provides the simple steps that you need to follow to start a student project for the construction of a Green Building. Let your school officials know that you would like to see a Green Building Program implemented in your Town!
What are you doing in your Community?