Next meeting:
Monday, October 17, 2005, at the Hooker-Dunham, 7 p.m.

A very, very special presentation is coming on October 17.

--"Sustainable Built Environment" presentation by David Eisenberg, for all audiences

(BRATTLEBORO, VT) - In a thought provoking and entertaining presentation, David Eisenberg, co-founder and director of the Development Center for Appropriate Technology (DCAT) based in Tucson, Arizona, will explore the larger context for design, construction, development, and regulation of buildings and the built environment in a time when the need for fundamental change in all human systems is becoming ever more obvious and urgent. Ranging from the use of alternative materials and appropriate technology to issues of security and the health of communities, the talk will weave together many crucial elements, developing the foundation for an emerging set of criteria for our decision-making processes. The presentation is appropriate and valuable for all audiences, including laypeople, building professionals and tradespeople, and regulatory and enforcement officials. It will take place on Monday, October 17, at 7:00 p.m., at the Hooker-Dunham Theater � 139 Main Street in downtown Brattleboro. Donations will be accepted to benefit the Development Center for Appropriate Technology (DCAT); $5 minimum suggested.

David Eisenberg's credentials are impressive. He is a two-term member of the Board of Directors of the U.S. Green Building Council; serves on the Advisory Board of Environmental Building News; and is a member of the Tucson/Pima County (Arizona) Joint Building Code Committee. A widely published expert, he writes a regular column for Building Safety Journal (the magazine of the International Code Council), is co-author of The Straw Bale House book, and helped write the first load-bearing straw bale construction building code in the United States.

His twenty-plus years of construction experience includes troubleshooting the fabrication and installation of the steel and glass cover of Biosphere 2 in Oracle, Arizona; building a $2 million structural concrete house, and a hypo-allergenic structural steel house; and building masonry, wood, adobe, rammed earth, and straw bale structures. He wittily characterizes himself as a "recovering contractor," and devotes much of his time to developing awareness and relationships among members of the building, development, design, building science, and building regulatory communities seeking to create a sustainable context for building regulation. He is a popular speaker in the U.S. and abroad on issues of sustainability and building codes, alternative building technologies, and addressing institutional barriers to sustainable building and development.

For more information about David Eisenberg and the Development Center for Appropriate Technology, see

Download the flyer (.PDF)
Download the Press Release (.DOC)

Not to be missed!

Last-minute flash Tanya Balsley, BANG member and director of The Mountain Brook Center for Sustainable Living, has arranged to bring talented Ithaca-area timber-framer and natural builder Sarah Highland to town on October 12th. She'll be giving a slide presentation at 5:30 p.m. sharp at the stone church on Main Street, across from the Savings and Loan. Sarah has built a number of houses and structures in the Ithaca area, and has taught straw-clay at events such as Natural Building Colloquia and Timberframers Guild Conferences. She's also a co-founder of the natural building group in Ithaca that inspired the creation of the Brattleboro Area Natural-building Group (BANG).

Here's some shots of we took of her own house under construction... almost a couple years ago now, I think:
Download a flyer if you'd like (a pretty big PDF).

Putting it all together now, here's a picture I took of Sarah Highland with David Eisenberg at Building With Spirit...

The October 2nd meeting was the smallest BANG meeting ever by almost half, with seven people (two of them new)—and it was one of the most interesting. We spent most of the time grilling Erich Krueger (the guy from ReNew Building Materials & Salvage on Putney Rd), who built his strawbale house about five years ago and has a lot of really great info to share. Excellent stuff. Plenty of laughs, too.

Attendance was likely sparse because we didn't decide when the meeting was going to be until a few days before the meeting, and didn't put up flyers, and didn't post it to iBrattleboro. Yeah, those things probably had something to do with it. But it turned out great! It was a shame that we were derelict in our duties, and more people didn't get to come. We'll try to be better about that. And maybe Erich will be into giving us a full-on actual presentation sometime.

Andrea alerted us to what promises to be a fabulous one-day workshop in early November. It probably will seem expensive for people who aren't architects or engineers—until you consider how much you can save (for your pocketbook and the environment) in the long run.

"Towards Zero Net Energy Homes" will be taught by Marc Rosenbaum, P.E. of Energysmiths, Inc. Learn about the planning and design of environmentally friendly homes that can produce as much clean energy as they consume. Participants will be given a thorough understanding of the methods and details for achieving micro-load homes that require little or no non-renewable energy. Energy supply and the available sources will be presented and evaluated; the magnitude and distribution of solar and wind resources presented and compared. Technologies including biomass-fueled appliances, solar thermal, ground source heat pumps, solar electric, and wind turbines will be presented, with sizing guidelines in order to assess feasibility early in the design process. The workshop includes handouts describing design strategy options. Friday, November 4, 2005, at the Brattleboro Savings & Loan in Brattleboro, Vermont from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm. (Break refreshments provided; nearby restaurants available for lunch.) It costs $195 if pre-registered, or $245 if postmarked within 14 days of each scheduled workshop or at the door. AIA Continuing education credits and certificates of attendance will be available. All proceeds, after overhead expenses, will benefit the Vermont Green Building Network and the Vermont Builds Greener programs.

Marc Rosenbaum, P.E. owns Energysmiths, an award-winning sustainable design consulting firm in Meriden, New Hampshire. Marc, an M.I.T. graduate, is a frequent presenter on sustainable design at many conferences, with audiences that include architects, engineers, construction professionals, facility managers, planners, educators, utility professionals, and those working in the public sector.

For more details, see
This is Mark Piepkorn, who writes these webposts, stepping briefly out of the royal we to comment about this workshop. The presenter, Marc Rosenbaum, is on the advisory board of Environmental Building News, a monthly publication read by architects and engineers for over a decade (and where I've been an associate editor for the past couple years). Every time I have a conversation with Marc or attend one of his presentations, I always come out the other side inspired and smarter. The depth and breadth of Marc's knowledge and experience amazes.

I am a Bennington student, curious about Tanya Balsley's Bennington College history. PLease contact me.


— Joshua Goldstein,
Nov 18, '05; 11:50 AM

The commenting function is now closed. Feel free to join BANG's email list — — or contact <mudhome [at] netzero [dot] net>

— Mark Piepkorn,
Feb 28, '06; 6:15 PM

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photos by Mark Piepkorn
and Sarah Machtey