Wednesday, February 22, 2012

ATC Santa Cruz Solar and Natural Building Project Sites

View From Roof at CECAP School
Santa Cruz la Laguna, Guatemala

Where Solar Panels Will Be Installed

Natural Building Helpers

Preparation For Bajareque Walls at Bilingual School

This update shows both sites where we will be working.  One is on the roof of the CECAP school in Santa Cruz la Laguna, Guatemala where we will be installing solar panels in preparation for teaching students and more importantly, teachers, basic circuit design + how to design and install a small scale solar power system for rural houses that are off the grid.  We are extremely pleased to have teachers taking the classes.  Our Guatemalan team will be teaching at two schools this year and with luck they will be teaching in the years to come.  

The natural building part of the project is to document how to design and install a "bajareque" wall.  The walls we build will be at a bi-lingual school in San Marcos, a short boat or "lancha" ride from where we will be staying in Santa Cruz.  This form of construction was once popular.  In simple terms bajareque is bamboo reinforced clay construction with a natural plaster finish.  Compared with traditional construction bajareque has much less embodied energy.  (the amount of energy required to create the materials and put them in place).  There is also some evidence that bajareque does better in an earthquake than simple concrete block construction.  Habitat for Humanity in Guatemala is interested in this form of construction as well as a lot of local people.  At one time everyone here knew how to build this way.  Now only a hand full of people remember the tradition.  We aim to keep the tradition alive by documenting our work.  

We also will be organizing the materials for the solar class, visiting a school that doesn't have electricity up in the mountains by Santa Cruz, gathering data to design solar water heaters and a small group will visit a high mountain village to look into designing passive solar heating panels.  

High tech, low tech but all Appropriate Tech.


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