December 4, 2013
In a place where the poverty rate is at 90%, unemployment is at 80%, and there is a shortage of 4,000+ homes, the Native American Sustainable Housing Initiative (NASHI) is tackling a big challenge with the Oglala Sioux Tribe in South Dakota. In an interdisciplinary collaboration between four groups–University of Colorado Boulder’s Environmental Design Program, Oglala Lakota College’s Construction Program, South Dakota School of Mines & Technology, and Thunder Valley Community Development Corp–faculty, students, and volunteers have just completed the first of four prototype net zero energy homes built using haybale construction. The short documentary video speaks to the impact the collaboration has had on students, program directors, community members, and the overall mission to improve housing on Tribal lands.
The overall objective of the project will be to develop a comprehensive case study to help inform the future housing choices for the Oglala Sioux Tribe and an “applied research” laboratory to educate OLC and CU students in the design and construction of sustainable, affordable, culturally inclusive and regionally appropriate housing. The primary purpose of the project is to address the need for healthy, sustainable and affordable housing and increase the capacity and knowledge and resources of OLC to build environmentally sound, sustainable and energy efficient homes that are right for its community and region (people and places).