You may not know this, but I grew up in New Mexico . . . the Land of Enchantment . . . until I moved to Washington, D.C. to pursue a career in politics and law. In fact, I just had my 20-year high school reunion back in Albuquerque this past week. Do you know how hard it is to get seven of your favorite restaurants into only two days worth of mealtimes? I managed.
Coincidentally, right before my trip, I received an email from an acquaintance who I met during one of my seminars at the Falmouth Institutes’ Construction in Indian Country conferences a few years ago. Donavan Natachu, Project Manager for Zuni Housing Authority, wrote:
As far as our construction we are turning towards green building. So far we have built 4 units. We use ICF’s, low–e rated windows, energy star appliances, light fixtures, and bulbs. The ICF’s that we are using are Quad-Lock and they are very simple to set up. . . . There is so much and different new materials coming out for green building that it’s hard to make any decisions on whether to use them or not.
Donavan also said that the Zuni Housing Authority is currently seeking additional HUD funds in the stimulus package that will include green construction. I was glad to hear back from Donovan and the Zuni’s commitment to best practices in construction.
I wonder what resources are available to Indian Country for green construction projects? Here are a few of the more interesting tidbits:
- Building and Buying Green in Indian Country: A Practical Guide for California Tribes
- A great article by Dean Suagee on tribal sovereignty and the green energy revolution
- A residential project in Window Rock, Arizona that was designed by Keya Earth with the "hopes of becoming a trend across Indian Country."
- A short 2006 case study by Shelley McGinnis on sustainable design and green building in Indian Country.
- Indian Gaming magazine’s article on Architectural Design in Indian Country
The California Guide is the most informative resource for providing an overview of “green” building practices to help tribes evaluate and choose sustainable options as they develop projects with architects, contractors, suppliers, or other building professionals. The Indian Gaming article really highlights the desire to maintain a tribe’s cultural heritage with sustainable design and building practices.