Group of people with shovels

Kauaʻi Community College faculty, staff and students are joined by community partners to break ground for the college’s affordable housing prototype project.

Kauaʻi Community College broke ground on Friday, September 28, for a unique prototype project for affordable housing on Kauaʻi.

Students enrolled in the college’s introductory carpentry class taught by instructor Robert Steurich will turn a used shipping container into a home. The coursework will provide students with a full experience ranging from foundation work through finish carpentry.

“As builders, we should always be searching for ways to build affordable housing and maintain the existing housing stock. Students will learn building practices and procedures that result in a quality product,” said Steurich.

The prototype house will be built on the Kauaʻi Community College campus in an area known as “The Farm.” The affordable housing site where the real homes will eventually be built is in Kaapuni, Kapaʻa, near Kapaʻa Middle School.

The design calls for green solutions such as photovoltaic panels and use of wind energy to generate electricity, a catchment system to collect water from the roof to grow food in an aquaponics garden, permeable pathways, and placement of structures to take full advantage of the sun and wind. It will also be ADA compliant.

Students enrolled in the Kauaʻi CC introductory carpentry class include Lloyd-Kekoa Agustin, Dwaine Albarado, Rogelio Casem, Yvonne Difontorum, Cullen Gutierrez, Edward Kemmerling, Ariel Lothlorien, James Nishida and Kyle Redaus.

The project is supported by the college’s Hoʻouluwehi: The Sustainable Living Institute of Kauaʻi. Community partners include the Office of the Mayor and various County of Kauaʻi departments.

“Just a few months ago, we saw a dented, used container. Today, we can envision an affordable living home,” said Eric Knutzen, executive director of Kauaʻi CC’s Hoʻouluwehi: The Sustainable Living Institute of Kauaʻi. “This prototype is being built by Kauaʻi students, on Kauaʻi, for Kauaians, for the future. Our students will have the skill set to further help address our housing needs, and fill professional construction, livable-wage jobs here at home, to help address our housing needs.”

Hoʻouluwehi: The Sustainable Living Institute of Kauaʻi

In January 2012, after two years of planning that involved faculty, staff and students working together with community partners, Kauaʻi CC launched its Hoʻouluwehi: The Sustainable Living Institute of Kauaʻi. The program offers an innovative sustainable leaning focal point for Kauaʻi.

Hoʻouluwehi focuses on embedding sustainability principles within the curriculum offered at Kauaʻi CC; advancing partnerships with the University of Hawaiʻi, government, private business, non-profit agencies and individuals; and implementing research and projects to foster a more vibrant future for Kauaʻi, and fueling related employment vitality.

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