Natural Homes: Builders Turn To Sustainable Materials

NEVADA COUNTY (CBS13) – In the past, we built homes using whatever materials were around, including mud and trees. In Nevada County, what’s old is becoming new again.

Pablo Loayza has been running the Natural Living School in Nevada County for the past four years. He says he wants to teach the world how to build using nature’s creation – one home at a time.

“It was kind of a dream come true really,” said Bill Wrighy.

It was a labor of love Bill never imagined building – certainly not with natural, sustainable materials.

“The building itself is a piece of art,” Bill added.

Oak trees prop the art studio up. The walls are made of cobb, a mix of clay, sand and straw.

Bill and his family started building the studio by hand in 2013. It was the first natural building to get approved in Nevada County.

“You’re not trying to get this 90-degree exact linear thing, it can be a little curbed and that gives it appeal,” said Bill.

The piece of art only came to fruition after Loayza stepped in.

“The first year we got the foundation the framing and roof up,” said Loayza.

Pablo has helped dozens of homeowners build using sustainable materials. He also runs his four-year program in Nevada County, teaching students to build naturally.

So far, about 50 people have graduated from Loayza’s program and have become licensed contractors. Students practice their building skills from May through October. They’ve taken on about ten projects around the county, ranging from small sheds to spacious homes.

“80-percent of our material is from the land or the area,” said Pablo.

The art studio is just months away from being complete. Conventional living slowly on its way out for the Wright’s, who have a new obsession with mother nature.

“You’ve gotta be in a space like this to really appreciate its really different and it is healing,” said Bill.

Loayza says he hopes his graduates will become ambassadors for the school and teach others how to live sustainably through natural building. Although he and his team build with natural materials, they still follow the county’s building code and make sure each structure is prepared for an earthquake.

More from Angela Musallam
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