Community Rebuilds: Providing skills to build affordable, sustainable homes

Community Rebuilds is teaching people to build affordable, sustainable homes out of materials such as clay, straw and soil, in an effort to expand knowledge about valuable natural building skills across the US.

Community Rebuilds, which started life in Moab, Utah, aims to build energy-efficient housing, provide education on sustainability and improve the housing conditions of the workforce through an affordable program.

Under the Community Rebuilds program, interns participate in a 5-month experiential scheme, completing two homes from foundation to finish using low-tech methods, and using recycled, salvaged and donated building materials wherever possible.

By using straw bale as a key material in the construction of energy-efficient passive solar homes, the straw bale wall systems create natural insulation, which significantly decreases future heating and cooling costs. The homes also feature adobe floors, earthen plasters and greywater systems.

Community Rebuilds built there first home in Moab in 2010. The non-profit has since collaborated with Hopi Tutskwa Permaculture in Arizona, to support the organisation in replicating the student education program on the Hopi Reservation and build affordable homes for low and very-low income families.

In return for their labour, interns are provided with housing, food and a skillset in sustainable building.

Marcus Henderson, an intern from Community Rebuilds’ Spring 2017 program, wrote about his experience on the Community Rebuilds’ blog. He wrote: “Sustainable growth has become a catch phrase used by organizations all over the world. Purely in the economic sense, it defines growth that can be sustained by the current inflow of money. But a truly sustainably growing organization must do so without harming its members or the environment.

“Community Rebuilds utilizes the highly available resource of unemployed millennials, like many other companies and organizations, but does so in a way that empowers us. As an intern, $100 a month to work 40 hours a week isn’t much—but I feel fulfilled.  Some may say that I’m being exploited but the real issue isn’t the exploitation of unemployed millennials but their disempowerment.

“Many millennials are choosing to be unemployed or work for less because the jobs available either lack fulfillment, decent wages, health insurance, reasonable hours, or worse…all of the above. Jobs that allow millennials to stop living paycheck to paycheck, enjoy their lives, and live up to their ethics are necessary if we wish to solve millennial unemployment. In order to do this millennials must be empowered with skills that allow them to define their own paths.

“In combination with empowering millennials and building affordable housing, Community Rebuilds is also expanding the natural building market by improving building codes, creating skilled laborers, and spreading the word. Through CR and similar programs, natural building and natural building related professionals will eventually get paid what they deserve. But we all have to start somewhere so here I am.”

Community Rebuilds has collaboratively built 22 homes and educated over 180 students since the program began.

Community Rebuilds

Rosalind Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She is a writer who specialises in sustainable life & style, music, entertainments and wellbeing. Rosalind also works as a spiritual life coach and intuitive advisor helping people to become who they truly are and manifest their heart & soul’s desires into their lives:


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