Alternative Home Building Interview with Kelly Hart
A couple of years back I did extensive research into alternative home building. During that time, I was honored to interview Kelly Hart of Hartworks, Inc. He is highly involved with green home construction and had a lot of great information to share. And now I get to share it with you here!
Basic Info about Kelly and his Work
Name: Kelly Hart
Company Name: Hartworks, Inc.
Questions and Answers About Kelly Hart
Q: What sparked your interest in alternative home building?
A: My father was a builder who
liked to work with local stones and recycled materials. He encouraged me to appreciate
nature and durability so I basically grew up with this perspective. As I
matured it became more evident that ecological concerns are paramount for the
health of all us creatures on earth. The way we build and live in our homes is
a large part of this.
Q: What aspect of alternative home building are you involved in? What trends in the field interest you most?
A: I have worked in many fields related to alternative construction, from being a carpenter/ remodeler, to being a designer of alternative homes, to being a media producer of video/ DVD programs, to being a writer of articles, and most recently as an advocate through the development of my websites.
As is evident from my main website, greenhomebuilding.com, my interest is rather eclectic. I embrace a wide range of building technologies, and in fact believe that often hybrid buildings that involve many different materials make the most sense from an ecological point of view.
Q: What steps have you taken in your professional and/or personal life that are related to alternative home building?
A: You can probably tell from my response above, I have taken quite a few such steps. Probably one of the most momentous was the several years that I spent building an earthbag/ papercrete home in the mountains of Colorado. I designed the structure and did most of the building myself, so it was quite an undertaking; one that was enormously satisfying and educational.
Q: How do you go about meeting or networking with other people interested in alternative home building?
A: On a local level this happens almost spontaneously, especially since I am not shy about writing about my interests or putting myself out there publicly. On a more global level, since I established my websites, especially the Green Home Building one, I have corresponded with thousands of individuals from all over the world.
Q: Where do you get new information about alternative home building?
A: Most of my communication and discoveries around the topic of alternative building is via the internet these days. To some extent this happens locally and personally as well, but not nearly as much.
Questions and Answers About Kelly Hart’s Work
Q: Can you give us the basics about what your company does?
A: Hartworks, Inc. creates DVDs, books, ebooks, and websites. They are generally about alternatives to the mainstream ways of doing things. It's the home-based business of Kelly and Rosana Hart. Our products reflect our diverse interests.
Q: What is your role within this company?
A: This is a Mom and Pop corporation that basically serves as the umbrella for anything that my wife, Rosana, or I want to do. We share the responsibilities of running the business fairly equally.
Q: How long have you been with the company? What experiences lead up to getting the job with this company?
A: We created Hartworks, Inc. in 1984, after having published a book that Rosana wrote called Living With Llamas , and realizing that we could combine our media interests into one company. I had a long history of producing animated films and being a freelance photographer before this.
Q: What changes have you seen in the field since getting started in it?
A: By far the greatest change has been the introduction of the “digital age.” We embraced computer technology and the internet early on and have never looked back.
q: What other companies or individuals do you look towards as being leaders in this field?
A: n the arena of publicizing alternative building, I would say that The Last Straw Journal , Mother Earth News , Natural Home Magazine , and the books and articles by Bill and Athena Steen have been instrumental.
More Thoughts on Alternative Home Building
Q: Finish the sentence … “Alternative home building is important because …”
A: … humanity needs to find new ways to live without overtaxing the available resources nor polluting the environment, both for our sake and for the sake of all other creatures on earth.
Q: Do you feel that alternative home building is cost-efficient?
A: Definitely! Alternative home building can be cost-efficient both immediately through reduced materials costs, and over time through reduced energy costs in keeping the home comfortable.
Q: How do you feel that alternatively built homes compare in performance with other homes?
A: The performance of alternatively-built homes compares favorably in most respects to conventionally built homes; in fact the performance is generally overwhelmingly superior! A well-designed and well-built alternative home will likely last longer and be more comfortable than its conventional counterpart.
Q: What are the biggest benefits of alternative home building?
A: Besides the longevity and physical comfort mentioned above, there is the psychological comfort of knowing that you have chosen a lifestyle that will hopefully enable future generations to also enjoy this wonderful experience we call life.
Q: What are the biggest drawbacks of alternative home building?
Because of the relative obscurity of some of the building techniques or sourcing some materials, it can be more work to find competent designers, builders, etc.
And A Little More …
Q: What warnings or advice can you offer to individuals who are interested in buying or building an alternative home but who are just getting started in the process?
Become well-informed before you dive into either buying or building. Read about your options. Talk to professionals in the field. Go to workshops or conferences that will help you gain experience and ideas. Check out my website as a first step in this process. Alternative home building is a very large topic that can seem overwhelmingly complex at first. Chunk it down to manageable bites and gravitate towards those concepts and approaches that appeal to you.
Q: What additional information would you like readers to know regarding your work or the general area of alternative home building?
I wrote an article that best expresses what I would like readers to be aware of: How to Design Your Dream Green Home and this can be accessed at http://greenhomebuilding.com/articles/howtodesign.htm.
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