Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Nauhaus Group Breaks Ground on Historic Prototype Home

Billy Schweig

Asheville, NC–The Nauhaus Group has officially broken ground on its historic prototype home. The Nauhaus Prototype, or NHP, is set to be one of the most radically sustainable homes ever constructed in the US. The design for the NHP boasts a unique combination of energy efficiency, traditional (or “natural”) building materials and aesthetic appeal.

Members of the Nauhaus Group believe that the NHP is on track to be one of the first ten Passive House certified homes in the US, garner the most LEED points of any residential building on record, and be the first house in the US to utilize Tradical®Hemcrete® (a recycled hemp shiv insulation) as its wall system.

Organizers of the project decided not to hold a groundbreaking ceremony as most high-profile building projects do and, instead, opted to hold a “Carbon Capture Ceremony” later in the process of building.

“We thought it would be more appropriate because our building’s paradigm is constructive, not destructive. Considering the unique features of the home we decided to hold a public event at a time in the construction process when participants could view and experience some of the more exciting features of the prototype,” said Michael Figura, one of the organizers of the event.

Whereas a normal groundbreaking ceremony might involve a commemorative shoveling of soil, organizers at the Nauhaus Group hope to time their November 6th Carbon Capture Ceremony to coincide with the actual installation of the hemp wall system so attendees can participate.

After years of planning, the NHP is slated to mark a prominent shift in the way people think about homes and building in general. “The strength of our approach,” says managing director Clarke Snell, “is that we draw from a variety of methodologies and perspectives. We’ve got high-tech systems working with low-tech materials. Art in league with science.”

It’s no secret that the Nauhaus Group is out to save the world.

“The Nauhaus prototype is only part of a growing movement in the US to act responsibly when it comes to our carbon footprint,” said Snell. “The result of our approach is not only the most efficient, low-impact, durable, healthy, beautiful and affordable housing system we can muster, but a system that will continue to change, improve and grow.”

The house is owned by the Nauhaus Group itself and will be open for regular tours, workshops and other visits upon completion. It will, in the meantime, be occupied by chief engineer Jeff Buscher to do energy efficiency analysis, systems testing and other research before it is sold.

The Nauhaus Group is a newly formed organization composed of designers, engineers, and builders at the top of their respective fields in Asheville and beyond. The group engages in for-profit activities ranging from design to sales but is also in the process of founding the non-profit Nauhaus Institute to house research and education activities such as the NHP. For more information on attending or sponsoring the Carbon Capture Ceremony or for information on volunteering for community workdays at the NHP, contact Billy Schweig (billy@thenauhaus.com).