Growing straw at Pine Ridge and in turn using the crops as building material is part of the educational program developed to meet the growing housing needs of the reservation.
Equally important is the exploration by the students into the social and environmental needs of the Pine Ridge residents. Through a partnership with NASHI, the Native American Sustainable Housing Initiative, and Oglala Lakota College are exploring the built environment in South Dakota and analyzing sustainable construction techniques in order to update the housing stock of nearly four thousand structures.
The first phase of the projects looks at the embodied energy of the materials used, from straw bale to SIPS (structural insulated panels) and compressed earth blocks. Analyzing the fully burdened cost to the environment of the materials sourced and the recurring energy requirements of the different materials deployed is critical to meeting Pine Ridge resident’s current and future housing needs. While sourcing materials locally, in the case of straw bale, is environmental friendly, equally important is energy efficiency, so the project will further analyze the fully burdened energy costs of the homes.
To assist in funding the project, the University of Colorado and the Native Sustainable Housing Initiative have teamed up with Conscious Alliance. Conscious Alliance is renowned for assisting communities meet their dietary needs through food drives and awareness campaigns at concerts.
Work previously on view at the Dairy Center is now on view at the CU Heritage Center
About Conscious Alliance and NASHI
About Oglala Lakota College
Photography by Lynn M. Lickteig, College of Architecture and Planning
University of Colorado
To volunteer or participate in the CU Boulder Design Build Program:
University of Colorado Boulder
Rob Pyatt, Instructor & Research Associate
Architecture Studies, Boulder ENVD Program, Department of Architecture