Student Testimonials

Testimonials from New Mexicans who have attended the ADC classes

Steve & Ann Greene  from the Earth Day publication in The Santa Fe Reporter, 4/20/11
Los Alamos resident Steve Greene also credits ADC classes with maintaining marital harmony throughout the home-building process—even in the wake of the catastrophic Cerro Grande fire. After the fire totaled their old house, Greene and his wife Ann chose three architects they met through ADC and set up a contest to see which could come up with the best plan based on their criteria.

“[The ADC classes] gave us more familiarity about how things go, how does one determine a price,” Steve Greene says. “It gave us much greater confidence in understanding both building styles as well as the process of building, and the various technologies that we could eventually incorporate into the design we came up with.”

The Greenes’ new home incorporates a lot of stone to absorb heat, a circulation system that allows fresh air in but filters out pollen, and rooftop solar panels to heat their water. A “skywalk” originating from their bedroom on the second floor leads out to a distinctive small deck overlooking Barrancas Canyon.

“A house is probably one of the most expensive things you’ll ever put money on, but you want to get it right, so this was a real big help,” Steve Greene says. “We had heard lots of horror stories from friends, ‘Oh, you’re going to build a house—a lot of people get divorced over that.’ But just getting all those facts out in front of you, hearing about it from those people that do this for a living was just so helpful in attuning us to what it was we liked or didn’t like when it was time to make those decisions.”

Jack Johnston & Cathy Higgins from the Earth Day publication in The Santa Fe Reporter, 4/20/11
“The other pervasive green building myth ADC Network combats, particularly since the economic downturn, is the belief that building green takes a lot of greenbacks. Many people work with draftsmen they meet through ADC classes instead of spending more money to hire an architect. Jack Johnston and Cathy Higgens took the classes before the economic downturn. After the economic climate changed, they ended up going house hunting instead of building their own. Johnston says the process was much more fun and less stressful than the couple’s past moves because they used their new knowledge of siting (building orientation and its effect on energy efficiency), solar technology, erosion control and other sustainable building principles. Johnston says the classes armed them with knowledge of what questions to ask and how to save money without compromising quality.

“It really helped my wife and I have conversations about what we wanted,” Johnston says. “I know from past experiences, guys think about things in a different way and it can be very frustrating. It just made all the conversations about what did we want in the house, what can we compromise on—it made all those conversations tremendously more easy.”

After Johnston and Higgens bought their new house in Eldorado, Johnston decided to build after all—a 400-square-foot woodworking studio for his furniture-making projects, working with a builder and contractor he met through the ADC classes.

Phil & Cee Pfeiffer, Film Director, from an article in The Santa Fe Reporter, 2/16/11
Do you think green building is accessible to people who don’t have a lot of extra money?
I would say to those people to come up and take these classes. They are affordable “Master Classes”. This is unbelievable! I think they need to have somebody like me come up and go, ‘OK, here’s what you need to think about, here’s what you need to be doing when the architect [is] drawing; you need to pay more attention to what they’re drawing than we did’…So I don’t think there needs to be any fear of cost because you don’t know anything yet. Don’t hold back because you hear that green costs more. Educate yourself.

Is it fun applying what you learned about green technology?
It’s fun in the sense that I feel like I’m living in a continuous science project that challenges me… There’s so many different ways and so many different ideas out there. People are not afraid to experiment and to try different things…For us to have this kind of [energy efficiency rating] in the walls up in our trusses, this is unbelievable. I’ve never been in a structure like this.

Barbara and Tobey King, Master Gardener, from an article in The Santa Fe New Mexican 2/15/10
Barbara and Tobey King took the classes last year before they hired a contractor to convert a horse barn, workshop and bunkhouse south of Santa Fe into a house. The had renovated old adobe houses before, but knew little about “green building,” Barbara King said.

In the classes, they learned about passive solar design, solar thermal water heating systems, construction methodology, insulation and more. “We highly recommend the classes to anyone thinking about buying, renovating or building their own house,” King said.

The couple already have installed a solar system to heat water for the small 600-square-foot bunkhouse where they live while the adjacent horse stable and workshop are converted into living spaces. They hired one of the green building class teachers, Danny Buck, to work on their house project.

King is a master gardener and their home-in-progress is on a well, so she plans to use a lot of the tips she picked up in the water harvesting class. She said the class presenters hand out the names of useful Web sites and printed materials so people can learn more.

Two families that were Los Alamos fire survivors of the Cerro Grande Fire of 2000
Norman & Ann Hamer

“These classes are refreshing and mind broadening in regards to design and building possibilities. They are also helpful and informative.”

Chick & Yvonne Keller
“We got a lot out of A Guide to Successful Building. It is good to be aware of the steps in the process; this class is very useful.”

Other testimonials from 15 years of year-round teaching in Santa Fe, New Mexico at Santa Fe Community College – a wonderful college strongly supported by Santa Feans

I particularly liked:
“The instructor was quite well informed and was able to address our individual questions and needs.”
“Excellent design vocabulary.”
“Good overview of building techniques and styles.”
“I really think these classes are wonderful!”

I particularly liked:
“slide presentation and openness to questions.”
“innovations in construction materials.”
“seeing actual buildings and applications of methods.”
“the contractors teaching the class because they specialize in the use of these materials.”
“Robin’s ability to keep the class focused.”

I particularly liked:
“the instructor’s knowledge and experience.”
“the chance to discuss specifics with an actual builder and architect.”
“sequential task steps for building projects.”
“learning about building aspects that I hadn’t thought about.”