Kelly Hart is your host here at greenhomebuilding.com, and has been involved with green building concepts for much of his life. Kelly spent many years as a professional remodeler, during which time he became acquainted with many of the pitfalls of conventional construction. He has also worked in various fields of communication media, including still photography, cinematography, animation (he has a patent for a process for making animated films), video production and now website development. One of the more recent video programs that he produced is A Sampler of Alternative Homes: Approaching Sustainable Architecture, which explores a whole range of building concepts that are earth friendly. Kelly is knowledgeable about both simple design concepts and more complex technological aspects of home building that enhance sustainable living. He has even designed and built a solar-electric car that he drives around his neighborhood. Kelly, and his wife Rosana, live in the earthbag/papercrete home that is profiled on the earthbag page. He is available, at a modest fee, for consulting about sustainable building design, either for remodeling existing structures to more fully embrace these concepts, or for new architectural designs.
Q: I am having such a hard time trying to find out info on companies that build your own green living home (adobe, yurts, home kits). Do you know any companies who will come build it for you? I live in southern CA.
A: Aside from the kits for yurts that several companies manufacture (you can find them by doing a google search on "yurt kits"), most forms of green home building are not provided in kit form. I suggest talking to the owners of any homes that you know about that fit your description to find out how they were built. Also you can contact some of the local contractors and ask them to refer you to a green contractor...keep asking questions and eventually you will be led in the right direction. You might find someone through the directory at http://directory.greenbuilder.com who could help.
sfbanari.com is the San Francisco Bay Area National Association of the Remodeling Industry.
Q: I wonder if you would consider sharing any information with me, regarding 'green' homes in Oregon. I am in a class at college "Introduction to Sustainability" and I am seriously think of writing about the state of 'green' homes in Oregon. Are you aware of any that I may be able to visit in the Portland area? Have you experienced an increase in awareness and people truly interested in building 'green'? I notice that your website and information is far different than the Homebuilders Association of Oregon. It directs me to builders, but I wonder if they can build beyond traditional stick frame.
A:I am not aware of any such homes in that area, but I am sure that they exist. One possibility would be to see if http://www.homes-across-america.org/index.cfm has any listings near you. There is definitely evidence of increasing interest in this topic. My website has over 2500 visitors each day, and the number is growing. A good contractor should be able to build something of alternative design, but many don't have the necessary experience, so it is always better to find someone who has familiarity with any particular technique that you are interested in.
Q: I was curious if you know of anyone who builds green organic homes for people.I'm retiring in a couple of months, and looking to buy some land in Central or South America. I would be very interested in hooking up with anyone who can steer me in a good direction.
A: I'm not sure I know anyone specifically in the business of building such homes down there, but I'm sure they exist. The economies are so different, with labor costs usually quite low, that one should be able to build quite economically there. I live in Mexico, and that is true here. I suggest that you first find the place that you want to settle, and then ask around about appropriate architects/builders to help with the project. Working with locals is usually best, since they know where to source materials, and are aware of local climatic considerations, etc.
Q: I plan on being the biggest contractor on the planet for earthships, sandbag green homes.
A: I think that there are definitely opportunities out there for contractors in the green arena, whether with earthship technology, earthbag building, or other methods. Earthships have established a pretty good reputation on a global scale, and have been built in many localities. Building with earthbags is somewhat newer on the scene and has not been accepted as widely, but the potential of is great indeed.