Coinciding with Good Friday, Earth Day was a great Friday down here in New Zealand as everyone had the day off and Amber Brovelli organized an educational and informative Earth Day event for the Wanaka community.  Along with movie screenings at the beloved Paradiso theater, there was a handful of local individuals and companies that set up stands to talk about various earth related topics such as composting, gardening, tree sponsoring, alternative/sustainable home construction, and a bangin' recycled drum circle.  The AltShiftNZ crew set up a 'desk' composed of 4 straw bales, brought a few examples of materials + visual aids, and staged a small demonstration on superadobe/earthbag construction.  Below are a few pictures from the day's event:

With film showings of the classic "Fern Gully" and a recent deforestation documentary entitled "The Burning Season", many people from the local community participated in the festivities.

Here the beautiful and talented AltShiftNZ (Tom, Diana, Trent, Diane, & Roarke), crew stood on the superadobe/earthbag arch that was created on site with un-stabilized (aka no cement) clay-earth.  People were stoked!  Great gratitude is owed to Nader Khalili and Cal Earth for creating and spreading the method of Superadobe.  We look forward to a community 'Open-house'/hands-on workday next weekend (April 30th), and wish you all (and most importantly, the Earth) a very happy and progressive Earthday!


Tuner Tuesday

With the weather beginning to turn fall-ish and the hours of sunlight are shrinking- but that is the beauty of the earth.  Speaking of which Happy Earthday coming up this Friday- make sure to do something to appreciate the one that provides for us all.  Here is Earth, Wind, & Fire with "Thats the Way of the World"...enjoy!


MO' Strawbale Goodness! + Sneak Peeks

Holy Cannoli!! As fall bears down on the southern hemisphere, the race to close in the home is on and free time is at a minimum-hence the lack in updates here on ye olde blog/website. This post is going to be rather picture heavy and a skim of words/description, so please do write us with any questions you may have on anything from this entry that you would like to hear/know more about (as with any other posting on this site).
This past weekend we were fortunate enough to go and work on a straw bale family home out in Hawea Flat. The owners Nicky and James are very in-tune progressives, and their children Ella and Louis are the site pixies with boundless energy. They have a very detailed and informative blog that you can go check out here. At their awesome and inspiring home we took notes and listened carefully to builder and plastering pro, Greg Tumpy. He is the expert who is describing the process in the video and is pictured below- many thanks to you Tumpy!

Showcasing two different application methods, Trent and Tumpy coat the raw straw with a thin film of clay slip (simply water and clay of cream thickness). Trent uses a brush to apply a slightly heavier more localized area, while Tumpy breaks out the heavy artillery with texture gun for quick, large swathe spraying.

As we haven't had a video for sometime we are quite excited to put another one out there for those of us who are visual learners.   Here is a quick video sum-up of ideas that we absorbed over the weekend with the Nicky, Tumpy, and crew:

There are 3 concurrent components being worked on right now, and all of them deserve their own posting, but until then here is a sneak peak:

1st, we are putting the finishing touches on the pair of massive sliding doors that will provide an incredible amount of solar gain. Here are two shots to give you an idea of their scale.

  A great visual analogy for Doug as a hurtling nugget of power,
centered in his new found interest of woodworking

Up on the roof we have great minds working out the structure and 'foundation' for the living roof.  Engineered beyond to support a mini forest, this roof is a jewel of the home.  As it develops we will point the spotlight in its direction.

Another area where progress is being made, is the layering and leveling of the rammed earth floor.  Over the past week and a half, the master bedroom has had the insulation, radiant heating piping, and base stratum laid for its floor.  Below a layer of earth is being spread over the 100 mm thick (4") XPS insulation.  Again, we will do a 'special' on this aspect in the near future. 

As a parting spark for thinking, we give you some before and after shots of the master bedroom straw bale infill.  All of this happened within an 8 day period!  Well, thanks for your interest and get excited for some more alternative construction action in the not so distant future!