Custom Home Design • Construction • Ready-To-Build Solar Home Plans

Solar Green BuildingIn the early 90’s I became interested in adobe as a beautiful yet basic building material. It is a simple, natural way to add mass to a structure.

I spent time studying with several skilled New Mexican adobe designers, builders and teachers. Gentlemen such as Mark W.Chalom, Joe Tibbets, Bill Yanda and Quentin Wilson were generous with their time and knowledge. The home that my wife, Sally, and I designed, built and have been living in since 1994 is a solar adobe inspired by these men and their passion for building with the sun and earth.

During the mid and late 90’s I built several projects with natural materials, adobe, press block, straw bale and clay straw.

All of the projects are beautiful hand crafted high performance homes. The only negative aspect of these handcrafted homes is the high labor costs and weather sensitivity of the natural materials.

The idea of a conventionally framed home with an interior adobe thermal mass wall became a necessity as we built a spectacular solar home right through the challenges of a Colorado winter. Constructing the exterior walls out of adobe would have been nearly impossible that winter. This was my first design utilizing cost effective wood framing and constructing the adobe mass wall entirely within the building envelope. It works very well and I feel is easier and more cost effective to build then a straw or pure adobe system.

The next evolution of my building career has come in the form of green building. Green building is a more all-encompassing approach to sustainable construction.

In 2004 I worked with Dan Baker of The four Corners Group, designing and building Copperhead Camp, a Built Green development at Edgemont Highlands, Durango Colorado. In 2005 we won the Colorado Built Green Builder of the year award, as well as the Colorado Energy Star Development of the Year award.

In the fall of 2006 I started Durango Solar Homes LLC,  a design / build firm focusing on high quality solar homes combined with a complete green building strategy.

Today's challenge is to design and build energy efficient solar homes that use our years of knowledge and the latest technology to create beautiful inspiring living spaces that are are also cost effective.  

Let me know how I may assist you with your solar home project.

We offer consulting, design and construction services...... also ready to build simple solar home plans.

Best to You,

Steve Kawell


Durango Solar Homes, LLC

Durango, Colorado