Category Archives: In the News

Introducing: The Beta Family

The Beta Family: Steph, Darren and Maggie
Greetings from the Nauhaus

Hello all –

Greetings from the Nauhaus. As a brief introduction, we are the Beta Family – though you can call us Steph, Darren and Maggie (our mutt of unknown lineage). We have dubbed ourselves the Betas since we have taken up residence in the Nauhaus while the Alphas – Jeff, Jeannine and Jackson – have moved further north (for now) to tackle new challenges. As we’ve settled in over our first few weeks, we can’t stop smiling at how lucky we feel to be living in such a beautiful and peaceful place. We’re also humbled by all the blood, sweat and tears that were shed in its construction. We hope to honor every contributor’s hard work by sharing bits of our experiences in living at the Nauhaus while making our own contributions to its evolution as well (we’ve started that endeavor in the garden). We look forward to keeping in touch.


Legalize Industrial Hemp Nau

Well, it’s Hemp History Week.  Here’s the short version of the industrial hemp rant:

If you think the US is a capitalist country, think again. We can buy all the industrial hemp products we want, but we can’t grow the raw material to make the products ourselves. Can you say, “trade imbalance”? To learn a bit more, watch these two short videos we were involved in that discuss industrial hemp generally and then specifically as it applies to our Nauhaus prototype:

Nauhaus and the Feds

Snell Nauhaus
Clarke Snell, Managing Director of the Nauhaus Institute is pictured with Cliff Sterns, HUD Field Director, and Gary Dimmick, HUD Community Planning and Development Director

The Nauhaus Group presented our West Asheville prototype and mixed-use Brevard project at a recent meeting centered around the new Obama Administration’s “Sustainable Communities Initiative”. Regional Directors of key federal agencies including HUD, the EPA, DOT, and USDA carpooled to Asheville for a 5 hour meeting marathon on October 29th. Greg Sills of BluEcon Project Management and Philippe Rosse of Eblen-Kimmel Charities organized the soiree to introduce the feds to the “Asheville Experience”.

Sitting in this meeting, I was once again blown away by how much amazing brain power and passion we’ve been able to cram into this tiny mountain community. The line-up included the Asheville Design Center’s large-scale urban development project for the redesign of I-26; the City of Asheville’s thoughtful Riverfront Redevelopment project; the Nauhaus’ rad model for carbon neutral living; and a (there’s no other word for it) kickin’ presentation from Asheville Go!, our local green workforce readiness initiative. DeWayne Barton closed Go!’s spiel with a passionate spoken word performance that blew me away. (Damn, I love this place!) Maybe the best summary of the Asheville vibe came during HUD Regional Director Chris Stearns opening remarks when he apologized for wearing a suit.

To me, the meeting seemed like a real success. Joe Minicozzi, Urban Planner for the Asheville Design Center, called it a “first date” and I think most people who were there are looking forward to the second. Personally, I love doing these presentations because we always get an enthusiastic response. But fielding intelligent, interested questions from people who really have the resources to make a difference, steps it up a notch. I’m looking forward to see where these connections lead.

Telephone Pole Spliff: CNBC Weighs in on Industrial Hemp

We are presently using a hemp insulation product (Tradical Hemcrete) in our Nauhaus prototype project , but we can’t currently manaufacture hemp-based insulation in the US.  Luckily, this  issue is getting more and more media play. Here’s a very positive little piece from CNBC.

Industrial Hemp fun facts:

  1. The US is the only country in the world in which industrial hemp is illegal to grow.
  2. Industrial hemp is the only plant in the US that is illegal to grow, but legal to buy. We are huge consumers of a variety of legal hemp products.
  3. Industrial hemp is not a drug. Quote from the video: “You’d have to smoke a joint the  size of a telephone pole to experience any effect.”
  4. ______________________________________________________________

Quality Reporting from WLOS

Last Friday while buying coffee, I was told by Jamie at the West End Bakery that he saw me on TV attending a job fair.  So I went online to figure out why.

Video here

And here’s their story about the event: rates Asheville as the sixth best metro area in the nation for business and careers.
One business sector poised for major growth locally is the green energy field.
Alternative energy companies are about to get a major chunk of stimulus money.
And Thursday, President Obama announced an extra $800,000 dollars for the City of Asheville to hire people for energy projects.
“I think it’s the greatest thing to come down the pipeline,” said Judy Dinelle of 84 Lumber.
They met to exchange ideas and talk about how to use Stimulus money.
Many expect to get some of the money by July.
To find out how to apply for jobs, contact the Western North Carolina Green Building Council.

Serenbe Settlement

Let’s say you could create the perfect place to live. Blank slate. Anything you want.

You might want a place where your quality of life was extraordinarily high. Where you felt an easy sense of community. Where the principles of sustainability touched everything from your home’s methods of construction to the organic produce on your table that was grown by one of your neighbors.

Speaking of neighbors, you might prefer an eclectic group, from artists to writers to farmers to business people. You might like to walk paths that take you through both forest and meadow, ride horses along tree-canopied trails, or hear music outdoors in your neighborhood amphitheatre. Maybe you’d just like a place to get away, a place where you can enjoy a simpler life. For miles around you the Chattahoochee Hill Country is protected with a master plan that calls for 80% green space.

Let’s say you’d like a place where you can stroll as well as stride. Where you can spend time being as well as doing. Then perhaps Serenbe is a place you’d be at home.