Sustainable Housing at Pine Ridge Reservation

EPA Grant Number: SU831856
Title: Sustainable Housing at Pine Ridge Reservation
Investigators: Dunbar, Brian , Riley, David , Pickering, Kathy , Nobe, Mary , Hellmund, Paul
Current Investigators: Dunbar, Brian , Kirkpatrick, Alex , Rossnagel, Alyssa , Floreani, Chante , Wood, Dane , Riley, David , Esposito, Derek , Elsner, Jeff , Plaut, Josie , Harrison, Kathryn , Pickering, Kathy , Nobe, Mary , Smith, Maura , Russell, Nate , Hellmund, Paul , Winfrey, Phillip
Institution: Colorado State University , Pennsylvania State University
EPA Project Officer: Page, Angela
Phase: I
Project Period: September 15, 2004 through September 14, 2005
Project Amount: $10,000
RFA: P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet (2004) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: P3 Challenge Area - Sustainable and Healthy Communities , Pollution Prevention/Sustainable Development , P3 Awards , Sustainable and Healthy Communities


The Pine Ridge Reservation, located in rural South Dakota is plagued with deteriorating infrastructure, poverty, lack of local employment, and high utility bills. Many of the residents, the Oglala Lakota Nation, live in mobile homes or substandard housing and spend nearly 25% of their income on utilities. Few people on the reservation have the resources or construction knowledge to improve their current residences or building energy-efficient, culturally appropriate houses.

Ina Maka O Tipi (Living with Mother Earth), a new alliance of organizations, universities, and reservation residents, is committed to improving the living conditions on the Pine Ridge Reservation. As part of a long-term commitment toward a more sustainable reservation, Ina Maka O Tipi and a multidisciplinary group of students will collaborate on a design project focused on sustainable housing. Students and faculty at Colorado State University (CSU) have formed a special 2004-2005 course that will involve interaction with Oglala Lakota College students and other residents from Pine Ridge. Students that will participate in the course and project will have already taken the interdisciplinary "Appropriate Technology for Sustainable Living" course. Students and other project participants will learn sustainable building technologies such as energy analysis, building with regionally appropriate materials, innovative site, water and air quality techniques, and other green building strategies. The course will also include a constant focus of integrating cultural and economic issues to sustainable built environments.

The course participants will research culturally appropriate plains Indian housing and work to create a series of collaborative design charrettes centered around sustainable housing issues for the residents of Pine Ridge. The community-based charrettes will provide a forum for mutually beneficial interaction between the Oglala Lakota Nation, CSU students/faculty and non-profits involved in on-going Pine Ridge work. A major goal of the charrettes will be to develop regionally, culturally, and economically appropriate housing choices for the reservation residents. In addition, the students and faculty will begin the creation of a housing choices database that will inform residents of material choices, renewable energy options, and local construction trade specialists. The team will also model and be informed by the Pennsylvania State University (Penn State) American Indian Housing Initiative's successful on-going home building program with the Northern Cheyenne in Montana.

The Pine Ridge Reservation Sustainable Housing project can directly impact current and future residents by encouraging them to learn sustainable building techniques, employ energy conserving strategies to new and remodeled housing, learn to grow and produce renewable construction materials as a small business, and acquire construction trade skills and employment. The results of the Pine Ridge project charrettes, research, and housing options database work will be evaluated by the Pine Ridge Chamber of Commerce, the Ina Maka O Tipi alliance, and the Penn State American Indian Housing Initiative to determine degree of cultural, economic, and environmental sustainability and ease of implementation. The process and the database product will be summarized and compiled and could become a model for other reservations and cultures throughout the world interested in acquiring, applying and, disseminating sustainable design technologies.

Supplemental Keywords:

ecology, human equity, renewable technologies, community design charrettes, natural building, RFA, Scientific Discipline, Sustainable Industry/Business, POLLUTION PREVENTION, Sustainable Environment, waste reduction, Technology for Sustainable Environment, Engineering, Environmental Engineering, sustainable housing, America Indian Housing Initiative, green design, sustainable development, waste minimization, ecological design, environmental conscious construction, green building design, alternative building technology, pollution prevention design, architecture, Pine Ridge Reservation, environmentally conscious design

Relevant Websites:

Sustainable housing Exit
Project Description

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final Report