From Dean Dowd on February 15, 2011 in Green Remodeling
Last May, a group of 22 dedicated graduate students from the University of Colorado, Denver ventured out into beautiful southeastern Utah. Their mission? Build a totally sustainable rammed-earth house for a low-income family in Navajo Nation. And the results are as stunning as they are groundbreaking.
The Windcatcher House includes local clay for its hand-built compressed brick, as well as the south- and east-facing wall facades. Thermal mass cools the home during the hot, dry summers, and soaks up heat during the very frigid winters. Rainwater is collected from the adjacent carports roof and gets reused for the garden.
As with all Navajo Nation homes, this house is nowhere near a power grid, which makes relying on the surrounding earth even more useful and important. The Begays dont have a car, so they plan to use the carport for an animal barn.
The Windcatcher House incorporates the world around it for its seamless design, which embodies both traditional Navajo spirit of looking to the earth, as well as modern innovation that helps preserve it. Well done, Denver.