Crestone Eagle, August 2004:
The 15th annual Crestone Energy Fair
story & photos by Kelly Hart
ready to save energy, be kind to Mother Earth, and have lots
of fun at the 15th Annual Crestone Energy Fair on Labor Day
weekend, September 4 and 5, at the Crestone Town Park. There
will be plenty to pique your interest, whet your appetite,
and please your ear, with alternative energy demonstrations
and workshops, a tour of local sustainably built homes, scrumptious
food booths, and live music. Additionally, this year’s
Fair expects to feature artisan’s booths, a parade,
a raffle and an evening community dance.
With the Crestone Peak organization in charge of the Fair
this year, we can expect renewed energy and commitment toward
making the event lively and successful. Any money realized
from the Fair will help Crestone Peak with their effort to
provide affordable land and sustainable resources for low-income
families and individuals. Promoting energy efficiency is perfectly
aligned with their goals.
There are several demonstrations already scheduled. Talmath
Mesenbrink will show how he pours adobe floors, and I’m
sure he will have samples on hand of the varieties of fine
finishes that he is able to create. Nick Chambers will be
demonstrating how to cook up biodiesel that can fuel a vehicle,
starting with ordinary vegetable oil and other common ingredients.
Annike Storm will show how to make beautiful earthen plasters,
for both interior and exterior wall coverings. Michael Baron
will showcase his famous Aerblock material for building homes.
Many others are expected to demonstrate aspects of solar energy,
building technologies, water conservation concepts, etc.
Music this year will feature a variety of mostly local musicians,
including the lightning fingers and steady beat of Mike Tiernen.
The music during the day will prime your ears and bones for
the evening dance spectacular that will benefit the Crestone
The alternative home tour is always one of the most popular
events of the Energy Fair. This will be conducted on the morning
of Labor Day, Monday, September 6. This year the tour will
be divided into two groups, so that those homeowners who are
gracious enough to invite the public into their homes will
not be so overwhelmed by a large crowd, and everyone can see
and feel these unique spaces more personally. Quite a variety
of alternative building technologies and energy conservation
measures will be showcased, along with the remarkable ingenuity
and creativity that the owners and builders have lovingly
expressed in fashioning these homes.
Bill Sitkin and Chinle Beaver have agreed to show their unusual
hybrid earthbag/papercrete home. Bill is one of those Renaissance
guys who can do most anything he imagines, and this is evident
in their home. The sculptural shapes of the rooms are enhanced
by colorful paints and unique inlaid floor and counter tiles
made by sawing thin slabs of “Baca rocks”. The
structure of the house itself is created by stacking misprinted
rice bags filled with crushed volcanic rock up, one on top
of the other and laid like bricks. Strands of barbed wire
run between the courses of bags to bind the wall together,
and then most of the bags are plastered with papercrete (made
from recycled waste paper and some Portland cement).
The unusual home of Harun Magnuson and Susannah Ortego, which
is made almost entirely with papercrete, fashioned as a huge
dome/vault, will be on view. Lovely details, from natural
earthen plasters and adobe floors, to fine stone and tile
work will delight your eyes. This home is a labor of love
that demonstrates how persistence can overcome all manner
Paul Shippee will give a tour of his home, that is still
under construction, as an example of rammed earth combined
with strawbales. Paul is an engineer, educator, and builder
with considerable experience in the field of solar energy.
He has pioneered passive solar concepts for several decades,
and won the distinction of designing and building the most
energy-efficient home entered in a national competition several
years ago. Paul will explain why he chose the materials and
design that embody his emerging home.
Carter and Connie McClintock will open their home made with
Rastra blocks. These are insulated concrete forms that are
fabricated with recycled Styrofoam. These forms are stacked
up like big Lego blocks, and then filled with reinforced concrete.
The house is designed for passive solar heating, and features
beautifully symmetrical architecture supported by massive
beams. It is also bermed somewhat into the ground on the north
side for even more thermal efficiency.
Rebecca Eastlake has agreed to show her home that not only
sports the use of a recycled boxcar, but is also completely
off-grid for electricity, which is a combination of wind power
and solar-electric panels.
Those who join the alternative home tour can also expect
to see houses made from adobe blocks, Aerblocks, cob, used
tires, and strawbales. Anyone interested in any of these technologies,
or just curious about what it feels like to be in a home designed
to heat and cool itself naturally, or be powered by renewable
electricity, should enjoy the tour.
So mark you calendar to attend the 15th Annual Crestone Energy
Fair, for a weekend of fun and education. For more information,
or to apply for a food or demonstration booth, contact Crestone
Peak at 719-256-4089 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Back to Archives
to the Eagle!