About

The Ann Arbor Class

How do conventional and sustainable building methods compare? What energy is embodied in building materials and processes?

In this class we explore how climate change, energy, materials, personal space and material culture intersect. We will look at several natural building methods and compare their advantages and disadvantages. You will learn about building envelope energy efficiency (and what that phrase means!).

We will conduct several site visits in Southeastern Michigan looking at alternative energy use and construction. These include a net zero home and an off grid straw bale home.

In preparation for building a prototype straw bale wall, you will learn how to use tools safely as well as the specific construction details of straw bale construction.

The UMBS Extension

While living in residence at the University of Michigan Biological Station in May 2017, we will create a strawbale structure on site from the ground up.

This will be an intensive, hands-on construction project: tools, troubleshooting and teamwork in abundance. You will learn how buildings are engineered and constructed to be aesthetically pleasing and structurally sound while withstanding physical demands and stresses (snowfall loads, wind, mice!).

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