Nathaniel Steinrueck

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since Nov 04, 2013
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Recent posts by Nathaniel Steinrueck

Students at Green Mountain College are currently working on an exciting re-vision of the OTIS (Optimal Traveling Independent Space) tiny house previously completed by the Renewable Energy & Ecological Design (REED) program. The survey questions below are intended to inform our design process so we may gain a clearer understanding of the wants and needs in a small mobile space.

The idea is to create a DIY kit of parts consisting of digital fabrication cut files, a list of components and suppliers, and build instructions. By offering cut files in lieu of shipping parts, the DIY maker is able to work with a local CNC company to source the structure and shell components. Specialized components (solar panels, heat pumps, etc.) can be shipped from distributors, and instructions, in both print and digital media, will guide the maker through the fabrication process.
8 years ago
RTF Natural Building School is now offering reduced prices for their specialized course in bamboo building. For more information visit:
10 years ago
To make the lime mix: We used raw lime slacked (wet) it added 2/3 of sand and then a week later we knocked it up and added the rest of the sand). The wall is also really heavy!

What is lime parging ? From what I understand it is a mix/process used between/ or the surface of brick, stone or concrete.

Not only is it energy intensive to make but the process actually releases CO2. However, self healing concrete is pretty interesting: "uses microfibers in the place of coarser bits of sand and gravel that traditional cement mix uses. The fibers allow the final composite to bend with minimal fracturing and if fracturing does occur, the cracks tend to be less than 50 microns wide..."

Also there is geopolymer concrete by using waste byproduct from coal fired power plants and help curb carbon dioxide emissions. As well as concrete without quarries. Check out the PDF attached below explaining how you can make concrete. the formula is Calcium chloride combined with Sodium hydroxide to make Sodium chloride and Calcium hydroxide into Calcium Carbonate.

I would also like to learn more about Tadelakt do you have any resources/information on the subject?

Charlie would like to know if you got his recent message about teaching a timber framing course.

All the best- N
10 years ago
Thanks J! I really appreciate this post. I took Public Design Build and Yestermorrow with Steve Badanes, Jim and Bill. Just being in their presence was enough to make the course incredible.

10 years ago
Thanks J !

You are seeing a number of different wall systems here. I am going to have a comprehensive post about all the different wall systems soon (we have about 8 different wall systems). The material being troweled into the lath is a lime and sand mix. The other material is an earthen mix with needles. In all we used a wooden lath, bamboo lath, bamboo board, and woven bamboo for the wall. To give you a sneak peak of our findings in the study, the lime and sand mix with wooden lath out performed in most areas and was a lot cheaper.

We did not use concrete (which is hard to do) it is a wonderful material other than the fact that it is incredibly energy intensive.

I am looking forward to A timber framing course! And I will say hi to Charlie.

10 years ago
Rock foundations with bamboo connection proven successful:
10 years ago
#192 Eat lots of butter and put on a couple extra pounds to stay warm. [has any one done a price calculation of cost for putting on pounds and reduction of heating/or electricity. (how many pounds extra = to how much warmer you would be. or is this just completely ridiculous? ]

10 years ago
Yep. They are very similar, however, made very differently:

Here is a video that explains a bit better:

Also another online resource for more information on building with earth:
Hand book for Building Earth Homes:Hand Book for Building Earth Homes

Nate at
10 years ago
Here is a tree house in Guatemala built with "tuk tuk" taxi materials. (the exterior was wrapped with the plastic material covering a tuk tuk:

Nate at
10 years ago
It is not too often that people actually say a proper "thank you" for their contributions.

MeiKer is a sustainable building school and tool library located in the stunning lakeside village of San Marcos La Laguna, Guatemala. They train local workers, rent out tools and workspaces, and help students to find employment in sustainable construction. They also host workshops and classes for interested participants from around the world.

MeiKer: Community Empowerment through skills training.

Nate at
10 years ago