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The Hive has a hive!

We got our first beehive on the property. We’ve been outside enjoying this sunny afternoon watching the bees instead of TV. They’re absolutely amazing.We got our first beehive on the property. We’ve been outside enjoying this sunny afternoon watching the bees instead of TV. They’re absolutely amazing.

beehive tv beehive tv-2 beehive tv-3 beehive tv-4

Teaming up with the University of New Mexico


For the Fall semester 2013, we teamed up with the University of New Mexico Sustainability Studies program for a practicum course to give students collaborative hands-on local sustainability experience directly benefiting the community.

At The Hive, students attended workshops on Super Adobe construction, LED light installation, and DIY solar panel assembly. Everyone has been so eager to learn and willing to work hard. Through the rain, snow, and cold, we’ve managed to put a lot of hours into our project. We truly couldn’t have asked for more.

It’s been such a blast and are so proud of what the students have managed to accomplish in such a short time. They will be revealing their finished product and giving a presentation demonstrating what they’ve learned on Tuesday, December 10, 2013. Anyone who’s interested is welcome to come check out their beautiful work. To be honest, we’re sad that it’s over, but we’re looking forward to next semester!

workshop1.1                        workshop1-6workshop1-9                        workshop1-2

ss334                        amber1

ss334-4                        Jesse

Below are individual blog entries from each of the Sustainability Studies 334 students that worked on The Hive project, discussing their experiences from this past semester.


blog headshots-2I have really enjoyed the time spent working with such great people.  It has been a lot of fun getting to know my team and I applaud Jesse for what he is trying to accomplish here at the Hive. This place will soon be the best sustainable model of living in the greater Albuquerque area.

I have learned a great deal building the Super-Adobe bench/wall that I will be able to use the rest of my life.  The most fascinating part of our project, to me, is the LED lights we placed in the wall using recycled wine bottles.  We first had to choose what side and what type of bottles we were going to use.  This created a rather long debate on if the bottles should be uniform or all random.  Luckily Mitch and I won; the bottles are all the same color and shape.

The part of the wall that will be random is the tile work that will be placed on the wall once it has been plastered.  We then had to choose how the LED would go into the bottle (see picture).  It was really neat learning how to solder LED’s and wiring them together.  I actually ordered myself some LEDs and bought a soldering iron to try and create some of my own lights.  I want to place them on my bike, in my house; I actually want to put them everywhere!IMG_1264

We are hooking up these lights in the wall to a photovoltaic panel that we actually created from its raw components.  This is another great skill I can see myself using in the future.  You can adjust the size of PV panel you are creating to fit the amount of energy you are going to need.  Instead of buying a massive panel to power just a little strip of LEDs you can build your own panel the size of picture frame.  You can even use a picture frame! This idea has actually helped me come up with a great business idea to help impoverished countries.

The Super-Adobe building method itself has to be one of the most sustainable building methods ever created.  Once constructed, these walls are waterproof, wind-proof, fireproof, earthquake-proof and create great insulation.  The walls consist of nearly all earth materials (New Mexico requires either a small amount of cement or lime), so these walls are rather inexpensive to make.  It would be great if I could travel to other countries and teach them this building method.


Once again, thank you for Jesse and Mitch in making this project possible and for the hard work of my team!


blog headshotsBuilding with Super Adobe techniques at The Hive has been a truly enlightening and empowering experience. Throughout my time working at this site I’ve learned: how to dig trenches with a pick axe, sift earth, make excellent punch out of vitamin c packets, and how to fill, lay, and tamp earth bags into the foundation of a Super Adobe structure. With a small group of just 5-10 people, we’ve achieved an immense amount of progress on this project. Working as an efficient assembly line, we positioned one or two people at each station in the Super Adobe construction process. These stations included shoveling gravel and earth into piles, sifting the earth, mixing lime and earth in the cement mixer, holding up the earth bag, filling it with the earth mixture, shaking and forming the bag for the desired distribution, and finally, tamping the bag down to create an even surface to build upon. I have taken pictures of workers in many of these stations which are displayed below.

margo pic 3margo picmargo pic 2

With no heavy machinery, toxic materials, or large amounts of labor, Jesse and his crew at The Hive have constructed multiple large-scale earth structures that are safe, affordable, and sustainable. Super Adobe is considered a green building technique because it can create reliable shelters that are environmentally friendly, inexpensive to build, and require a small labor force to construct. Super Adobe fulfills all three sides of the sustainability pyramid. It is financially viable, environmentally benign, and promotes social harmony and equity.

This building technique reinforces and promotes a sense of community wherever it is constructed. The effort at the 2105 St Cyr complex has brought together many individuals from around the Albuquerque area and helped to forge friendships and communal bonds that would not have otherwise arose. Volunteers at this site work towards a unifying and common goal, while also receiving a hands on education in sustainable building techniques.

Before joining this effort, I believed that only professionals and specialists could pull off feats such as: constructing a Super Adobe structure, installing LED lighting, and building solar panels. Working at this site has destroyed this notion. Jesse and the other mentors have shown that with enough passion, hard work, and patience, anything is possible. The only limitation that exists is an illusion that we place upon our own abilities. If I’ve taken anything away from this experience, it’s a sense of empowerment and a belief that I am more capable than society has led me to believe.  I will continue to volunteer at this site because it is an admirable cause and because there are certain things in life that you can’t learn in a classroom.