Building Community Block-by-BLOCK
A few weeks ago, six members of the ecoTHRIVE team had the opportunity to meet Bernard “Berns” Troyer, the Construction Project Manager at the BLOCK Project
shop. The shop is a construction site for beautiful small homes that are built with love, mostly by volunteers from the community who are guided through the process by BLOCK project staff.
The BLOCK Project is a program of Facing Homelessness
and ecoTHRIVE has been inspired by their work- not only for the beautiful, regenerative homes they build (net positive- they generate more energy than they use!) but for their emphasis on building community. BLOCK and ecoTHRIVE share the belief that “relationships are the building blocks for healing our communities.”
On the day of our visit, there was no building going on. Instead, we got a grand tour led by Berns. After giving us the history of the BLOCK Project, Berns led a tour of the shop, explained how the homes were constructed, and answered all of our questions about the BLOCK home construction process. We found out that the warehouse is set up with a series of jigs. A jig is a station that facilitates a step-by-step process to build each of the components of the home: floor section jigs, wall section jigs, etc. There are 78 different jigs used to build all the modules. Once all the modules are completed at the shop, they can be loaded and transported in 2 - 20' flatbed loads to the site. Once at the site, the truck is unloaded and carried part by part to the site where all the utility connections are in place- and a home is assembled in 4 days.
The home's materials are all eco-friendly. The wood is Juniper which is harder and more durable than cedar and the insulation is a material that does not include fiberglass, I am told that you could brush it against your skin and have no reaction. There are 2 walls without insulation when they arrive that, when set up, allow for the wiring and utilities to be installed without interruption to the rest of the construction.
Once assembly is completed the utilities are installed. The BLOCK home can easily be disassembled if needed and the only waste would be the water barrier strip, a strip that is on each piece and creates a seal to keep moisture out. The finished home is a well-designed living space, complete with a bathroom and shower, kitchenette with cabinets, cook space that consist of 2 ceramic burners, a 3/4 size refrigerator/freezer, a living room with a couch that folds down to a bed, and a large picture window that provides natural light. The house is powered by solar panels that are connected to the grid.
And that my dear readers is the wonderful tour of the BLOCK shop! I hope that you were able to visualize our tiny home tour. We look forward to learning more about these incredible homes!
Outreach & Resident Circle Delegate and Board Secretary
To learn more about ZsaZsa and her heart-led work, please check out her bio on our website.