2021 ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATURAL BUILDING CONFERENCE
October 14-16, 2021
A big thank you to all that attended the 2021 Rocky Mountain Natural Building Conference! It turned out to be one of our most enjoyable and successful conferences ever.
Thank you to our conference sponsors: Sustainable Trades + Housing Partners, AE Building Systems, 475 Building Materials, EMU Systems, Verdant Engineering, and LimeStrong Plasters.
A special thank you goes to all the hard-working members and staff of Community Rebuilds. We couldn’t have done it without them!
The next Rocky Mountain Natural Building Conference will likely take place in 2023 or 2024. Please stay tuned for more info and news about other events in 2022 and beyond.
We’re looking forward to it!
Your NaBA Board
Call for proposals - 2021
We are seeking presentation and workshop proposals for the conference. Click the link below for more information and proposal forms. We plan to have several “breakout”presentations and/or discussions in the three rooms provided at the MARC, similar to our conferences in the past. This year, we also plan to have multiple on-site or off-site hands-on workshops, which could occur during the conference or perhaps a day before or after.
CONFERENCE VENDORS AND SPONSORSHIP
Here is an opportunity to step up and help us put on this conference.
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The Virginian Motel: (435) 259-5951, 70 East 200 South
Hotel Moab Downtown: (435) 259-7141, 182 S Main St (ask for Jasper)
The Gonzo Inn: (435) 259-2515, 100 West 200 South
Alternatively, there are a plethora of other hotels and close-in camping options. Remember that the conference will mostly take place at (or very close to) the Moab Arts and Recreation Center (MARC) at the intersection of 100 N and 100 E.
ATC Campground: (435) 355-0355, 1536 Mill Creek Drive
LODGING & RIDE SHARE
We encourage everyone to ride share if possible. If you need a ride or have room in your vehicle to help transport someone, please use our Facebook 2021 RMNBC Lodging & Ride Share group to let others know that you would like to carpool. This group is also available to coordinate with others who are looking to share lodging.
If you do not have Facebook or care not to use it, we have an alternative way to post your carpool and lodging needs and offers. Click the button below to access our Lodging a Ride Share document.
The Project Manager for Community Rebuilds, she works partly with the office team and partly with the build team to organize the pre-construction of the builds, stay on schedule, under budget as well as
guiding homeowners through the decision making
process from foundation to finish. She was an intern in the Fall of 2018, living in the 808 bunkhouse before it was demo’d for the LBC builds. Since coming back to Community Rebuilds in 2021, she has overseen the Performance period of the LBC Homes and is planning to carry the organization through to the certification!
Brad Lancaster is the author of the award-winning Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond and co-founder of DesertHarvesters.org. Since 1993 Brad has run a successful permaculture education, design, and consultation business focused on integrated regenerative approaches to landscape design, planning, and living. In the Sonoran Desert, with just 11 inches of annual rainfall, he and his brother harvest about 100,000 gallons of rainwater a year on an eighth-acre urban lot and adjoining right-of-way. This harvested water is then turned into living air conditioners of food-bearing shade trees, abundant gardens, and a thriving landscape incorporating wildlife habitat, beauty, medicinal plants, and more. The goal of his book series and overall work is to empower his clients and community to make positive change in their own lives and neighborhoods—by harvesting and enhancing free on-site resources such as water, sun, wind, shade, community, and more. It’s catching on, as evidenced by tens of thousands of practitioners and demand for Brad’s work around the world.
Bruce King is the author of “The New Carbon Architecture”, and has been a structural engineer for 40 years, designing buildings of every size and type around the world, from Port-au-Prince to Palo Alto. He is also the author of the ASTM international building standard for earthen construction, as well as the books “Buildings of Earth and Straw”, “Making Better Concrete”, and “Design of Straw Bale Buildings”.
Bruce is also the Founder and Director of the Ecological Building Network (EBNet), a non-profit information resource that sponsors the BuildWell Source (buildwellsource.org), an online library of low-carbon and carbon-storing materials.
Dave is the General Manager at Elevated Design Build, a full-service design, and construction company located in Fort Collins, CO specializing in heavy timber construction and green building practices. Dave has an architecture degree from the University of Washington and has been involved in over 500 projects throughout his career, including a number incorporating straw bale and other natural building techniques. While the craft of timber framing is his passion, he won’t pass up an opportunity to get muddy.
Architect/ Builder Ed Shure has nearly always known that he would follow a career that allowed him to make practical, beautiful things. To that end, he studied fine art and mechanical engineering and completed a machinist certification program. Until a working visit to Scandinavia in the early 1980′s revealed to him his true calling, Ed worked variously as an apprentice toolmaker in Kawasaki, Japan, mold maker in Hong Kong and Harley Davidson mechanic.
Since beginning his design/build practice in 1984, Ed has completed over 150 structures, many of his own design. He is a past president of the International Log Builders Association, was an editorial advisor for Log Home Guide Magazine and has taught, lectured and demonstrated his innovative techniques in timber and log construction for the Timber Framers Guild of North America. He encourages clients to build site-specific, ecologically sound structures using renewable wood sources and reclaimed salvaged materials whenever possible.
Currently the Mayor of Moab, Emily is the founder of Community Rebuilds. She is proud of the accomplishments of the organization and interested in the pursuit of shifting the construction paradigm to be inclusive and regenerative.
Frank started working as a carpenter in the late 1990s, while in high school. He graduated from the University of New Hampshire with a degree in Civil Engineering and a minor in Architectural studies. Later, he worked as a field engineer for a bridge and road construction company. A Natural Building Intensive course at Yestermorrow Design Build School in Vermont set him up for a move to Colorado and an apprenticeship under Ryan Chivers of Artesano Plasters. Frank is now a guest instructor with Tiny Hemp Houses, Yestermorrow, and Community Rebuilds.
Ian SmithNBA - Executive Director
Ian has been on the NBA (COSBA) Board since 2005 and was named Interim Director in 2016, and then Director in 2018. He grew up landscaping and harvesting hay with the family business back east, then came to CU Boulder for an engineering degree. After graduating in 2002, he served as a team member on one of the very first Engineers Without Borders projects in Haiti and found a job in the natural building world that he quickly fell in love with. Ian has been a licensed engineer since 2008 and a husband since 2011, when he and his wife spent part of their honeymoon studying earthen arches in Auroville, India. Ian, his wife, and their daughter have recently built a strawbale house in Boulder, CO.
Jeff Adams owns and operates the ecological design consulting and landscape contracting firm TerraSophia LLC, is director of the Canyonlands Watershed Council, and serves on the board for the Resiliency Hub. Jeff designs, builds, and educates about integrated watershed management strategies in both urban and wildland contexts using permaculture. He lives in Moab, UT with his fiancé Claire and daughter Hazel.
Jessica Retka is a handywoman and natural building consultant in Moab, Utah. Originally from Minnesota, she got her start in construction building grain bins during college summers. Afterward, she moved to Moab to intern with Community Rebuilds, which opened the door for her to work with multiple contractors that specialize in conventional and natural building. She spent several years with Moab-based Eco Logic, where she began site supervising and leading natural building efforts. Now she is still at it, running her own small business. She’s happy to be here.
Currently serving as the Planning & Development Coordinator at Community Rebuilds (CR) in Moab, Joe is intimately involved in the day to day of combating the housing crisis in SE Utah. His current work through CR and the Moab Area Housing Task Force includes advocating for affordable housing policy, developing housing, and drafting new housing designs for future construction. His past experience includes public space landscape design in the Boston area, as well as production & operations planning in both construction materials manufacturing and biotechnology.
Johnny began his career in sustainability in 2009 when he became involved in co-authoring the first Climate Action Plan for The Evergreen State College in Washington State. He collaborated community-scale sustainability plans in the Pacific Northwest before moving to New York City and catching the Passive House bug, joining 475 High Performance Building Supply as it was first beginning. He holds a degree in Sustainability Planning from The Evergreen State College and a Masters of Science degree from The City College of New York’s Sustainability in the Urban Environment program. Johnny is a Certified Passive House Consultant and a life-long music lover, spending few years of his twenties as a full-time touring musician.
Kaki Hunter and Doni Kiffmeyer are the authors of Earthbag Building; The
Tools, Tricks, and Techniques. They have lived in Moab for over 35 years. They have been
learning and teaching natural building techniques for 28 of them.
They specialize in sculpted earthen and lime plasters, cob, adobe floors, light clay straw and
earthbag building systems. Their natural building exploits have taken them to the Bahamas,
Belize, Jamaica, Ontario, upstate New York, Washington DC and throughout the Southwest
Lindsey was born and raised in Maryland where, as a kid, she enjoyed helping her dad with projects around the house. Over the years, those small projects progressed into volunteer work with Habitat for Humanity in college, a dormitory and clean water projects in Thailand, trail building in California, and then Community Rebuilds in Moab in 2014. After some time away, Lindsey returned to Moab to work for Doug Nichols Contracting for two years before moving on to the Housing Authority of Southeastern Utah where she is currently the site supervisor for the Mutual Self-Help housing program.
Lisa Morey is a professional engineer and architectural designer with over 16 years of experience in management, design, and construction, with a background in adobe brick construction. She is an author of “Adobe Homes for all Climates”, a book on how to build with adobe bricks. Lisa also holds a patent on an innovative building system that incorporates reinforcement and scaffolding into the adobe brick wall system.
Currently Lisa is Co-Founder of Colorado Earth LLC, based in Golden, Colorado. Colorado Earth manufacturers compressed earth blocks and adobe bricks, carries out design and engineering services, and constructs earthen walls. Lisa is dedicated to the promotion and realization of natural building.
Miguel Elliott was knighted as “Sir Cobalot” nearly 10 ago once it became cobvious that he was cobcessed enough to develop his own vocabulary. He has been operating his business/service Living Earth Structures based out of the Bay Area full time and has traveled extensively participating and leading workshops. He has published a book of accomplishments and lists the 50 reasons why we should cob.
Reid is in her third year as an AmeriCorps member. She joined CR after a year in West Virginia restoring buildings. She is excited to now serve with CR planning for future homes and helping design some of the most sustainable buildings in the world. September 2018 – present.
Rikki Epperson lives in Moab, Utah and loves hiking near the desert creeks with her pup ‘Henrietta’. Rikki has served on several boards; Moab Arts & Recreation Center, Canyonlands Community Recycling, Community Rebuilds, and Wabi Sabi Thriftstore. She is thrilled to be a part of the Natural Building Alliance board team! Rikki was introduced to natural building in 2012 when she served as chair of Community Rebuilds’ board of directors. In 2015 she took the position of Community Rebuilds program director. During her term as program director, 2015 to 2018, Community Rebuilds built 24 straw bale houses with low income households and educated nearly 200 building interns. In January of 2019 Rikki accepted the executive director position with Community Rebuilds. She is currently building a straw bale accessory dwelling that she will move into in the Fall of 2019.
At 19, Ryan Chivers began working in a relative’s drywall finishing company in his hometown of Salt Lake City until he moved to Colorado in search of more eco-friendly building methods.
Frustrated by the standard practice of finishing straw-bale homes with spray-on cement stucco and latex-painted drywall, he became obsessed with the potential of earth and lime-based plasters. Through trial and error and with intrepid, faithful clients, he researched, tested, and revived this ancient technology, which is now in common practice for straw-bale structures in the western United States.
Ryan’s focus sharpened to development of lime as a high-end decorative finish. He observed that importation of European lime-based plasters at high cost was the norm, and he endeavored to source local materials that could also be applied over drywall.
The early days of the internet allowed Ryan to discover the polished, waterproof, and ancient Moroccan Tadelakt, the ultimate in lime plasters. He scoured the resources available, which were mostly in French and German, and eventually journeyed to Marrakech for training in their traditional techniques.
Ryan was determined to achieve a similar finish with North American materials, experimenting with hydrated lime and limestone/marble mixtures. The correct ratios resulted in chemistry closely related to the Moroccan lime, and he became a busy craftsman and employer adept in the technique.
Ryan’s sought-after skillset led him to Mexico, where he taught a group of local artisans the Tadelakt technique and learned that lime-based materials could be found in the area; in fact, this elemental material could be found almost anywhere. Using locally sourced lime at every location, he has since shared this knowledge across the U.S. and Canada, and as far afield as Colombia, Costa Rica, and New Zealand.
Making plasters from scratch isn’t for everyone, and Ryan’s dream to make available a line of high-quality lime products that were affordable and local came to fruition when he returned to Utah. Colleague Stan Petersen had collaborated with Hess Pumice to create a lime-pumice plaster, LimeStrong. Ryan utilized the locally sourced pumice to formulate and add interior products to create the LimeStrong Artisan line, playing a key role in the product’s development, promotion, and technical support. Ryan also manages a thriving plaster-application business in Salt Lake City and continues to train plaster artisans across the world.