Today’s post will be a milestone of sorts; one hundred posts covering the last 18 months of progress at Desert Rain. Though the blog wasn’t underway at the beginning of the story, Barb and Tom had the forward-thinking idea of documenting the process of Desert Rain. When the project is finished, it will be sustained through the words and the stories.
Earlier this week Desert Rain owners, Tom Elliot and Barb Scott, hosted a Living Building Challenge presentation and tour. Builders, designers, homeowners, and people interested in sustainable building attended the event. ML Vidas, sustainable architect and the LBC consultant for Desert Rain, presented the LBC orientation program. ML volunteers as an ambassador, sharing the concept of LBC. She said she has given many presentations but this was the first time she had given one at a LBC project site.
In order to share the scope of the LBC and ensure all the workers at Desert Rain have an understanding of the project, Barb and Tom have a requirement. Everyone working on the project in any capacity is required to attend or view a LBC orientation presentation. This stipulation is not part of the LBC but ML believes it would be a good idea for other projects to embrace. It helps bring the contractors and subs on board with the scope of the challenges on a job site that is far from ordinary.
The people involved with Desert Rain have an understanding that they are part of a project pioneering change in the built environment. Contractor, Bob Claridge said, ‘there is a vibe on this project site’. Bob’s company, Bobcat and Sun Inc. installed the solar thermal system and infloor heating. Barb and Tom agree with Bob’s statement. There are innovations in building techniques and materials that demand research and ‘out of the box’ thinking. There are many stories throughout the process that emphasize the team spirit at Desert Rain: the lime plaster recipe, the metal roof being manufactured on site, adjusting nail guns to use American nails, a sub contractor picking up metal posts and wrapping them in blankets to avoid excess packaging that couldn’t be recycled – endless tales in the telling of the Desert Rain story. Please browse the blog for these tales and many more.
ML’s presentation encompasses the 7 Petals of the Living Building Challenge. She emphasizes the philosophy of the Living Building Challenge based on the metaphor of a flower; ‘like a flower it’s rooted in place and lives on the resources that it has at hand.’ Like a flower, the project grows and lives. Barb apologized for breaking into the presentation a few times to tell a story. She admits to being the ‘story person’. More than four years in the making of their dream to reality, Barb and Tom have been sharing their stories. They are sharing what they’ve learned in the challenging process of building to LBC standards. The ongoing tours and opening of the home and site are part of their commitment and belief in the Living Building Challenge.
This week’s presentation brought designers, builders, homeowners, and interested people from the local region and as far away as Germany. Juliet Grable, a freelance writer from Ashland, Oregon came to learn more about Desert Rain. Juliet will be writing an article about Desert Rain for an upcoming issue of Home Power magazine. Barb and Tom are reaching out to the media to help spread the word about The Living Building Challenge and the Desert Rain story. The Bend Bulletin has printed more than 20 articles featuring Desert Rain. CLICK HERE TO READ THE ARTICLES
As you browse the 100 posts in the blog, the gallery photos, the pages of people, materials, design, and construction; you will find the Desert Rain story. It is a story of starts and stops. It is a story of trials and errors. It is a story of frustrations and sometimes, failures. It is a story of elation, joy, and successes. Most of all, Desert Rain is a story of what is possible. The story is still unfolding.