Kii' Nat Wan Lalwa (KNWL) is a volunteer organization originally created to serve in an advisory capacity to the Red Feather Development Group on their Hopi straw bale home builds. "Kii'natwanlalwa" is the Hopi practice of traditional home building and maintenance customs for the rejuvenation of life. In recent years, KNWL has expanded their capacity to deliver programs designed to meet additional home-related needs on the Hopi reservation. The mission of KNWL empowers the Hopi people by building and improving homes with sustainable materials through volunteers, partnerships and the Hopi concept of naya (helping one another).The Tsakwantota Natural Plastering Program -- a joint project of Red Feather and KNWL -- is an opportunity designed to provide volunteers with a service learning experience on the Hopi Reservation. Many cultural opportunities were interspersed with the fun work of plastering homes using traditional Hopi techniques. Home plastering at Hopi is an essential component to the long-term preservation of both historic homes and traditions.
During this two week project we completed multiple homes and other historic structures...ensuring that these homes are preserved for the future and are more wam for the coming winter.
On average, Tribal households pay significantly more in home energy expenses than other American households . In spite of the fact that tribal lands (which cover almost 5 percent of the total area of the United States) hold an estimated 10 percent of the country’s renewable energy resources, including enough solar energy potential to generate 4.5 times the national total energy consumption in 2004, more than 14 percent of American Indian households on reservations have no access to electricity, compared to 1.2 percent of all U.S. households. (Source: 1990 US Census) In fact, the Hopi reservation has some of the highest solar energy potential in the country, but a significant number of Hopi families use wood and coal (unhealthy heat sources) to provide home heat. For several years now Red Feather has integrated solar thermal (hot water) systems into our home designs in order to take advantage of this affordable, efficient and environmentally-friendly home heat source. In 2010, Red Feather facilitated a Solar Thermal System workshop in the village of Bacavi on the Hopi reservation, where we retrofitted an existing straw bale home with a solar thermal system, while teaching tribal members about solar thermal technology through class instruction and hands-on installation. This year, funding from the Grand Canyon Trust and a grant from the United States Department of Agriculture enabled us to offer a more extensive Solar Training workshop that included the installation of four photovoltaic (electricity-generating) systems and one solar thermal (hot water) system. As with our straw bale construction program, the recipients of the systems were required to contribute a portion of the cost financially. They will see a return on that investment within approximately two years. Within days of announcing the opportunity, the training was enrolled to capacity (20 students) and we had a waiting list! Mark Jensen, Red Feather’s Construction Program Director, delivered the solar thermal training. We partnered with Orion Thornton, owner of Onsite Energy (http://www.onsiteenergymt.com) and contract instructor for Solar Energy International, to deliver the photovoltaic training. The class was comprised of builders and electricians, tribal employees, students, and other members of the community interested in learning more about the solar industry. All the students showed enthusiasm to learn, asked well thought-out questions, and during installation, showed no hesitation to jump right in and try something new, like: soldering copper pipe, getting on the roof, wiring circuits to testing them, or even crawling in a hot and dusty attic space. And, best of all, many of the students expressed interest in pursuing further education in the solar industry or getting systems for themselves or for family members.
Director of Development and Communications at Red Feather. Passionate about Healthy Homes for All.
Categories Home Renovation, Education, Navajo Code Talker, Veterans