Patrick and Pippi wrote, "We have just bought a house in the artist colony of Marfa, Texas. It's actually a compound of several 100+ year old adobe buildings in various states of repair. We would love to be able to include some sustainable building practices in the remodeling of the buildings, the problem is that we have absolutely no idea where to start. Are there consultants out there that could help us? Who are they? How do you find them? How are they qualified?
Read on for our ideas, and please take a moment to post yours.
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The good news first: your compound of adobe buildings is made of one of the most venerable, inert, and unquestionably natural building materials: mud.
Once mud is crafted into adobe, though, it demands expert advice. For information on adobe itself, we recommend without hesitation Preservation of Historic Buildings
, published by the National Park Service, which publishes a slew of such briefs on other topics
that your project will certainly touch on, like roofing
So we'd start there, and then read everything else you can find about adobe; then you'll know if which consultants you find (and we'd recommend an architect who belongs to the USGBC
for a project of this scope) is knowledgeable... or not. Tread carefully.
OK, so now you're an expert, or at least you know a thing or two. What next? We'd throw a party! Invite all your new neighbors, pour some drinks, and ask for stories about architects, consultants, and contractors... people are sure to come if you promise to circulate a list of sources after.