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This Green Building Academy is one of a kind. Not only will you dive deep into green building and design topics (as taught by expert instructors), but you will also contribute to Long Way Home’s efforts to make healthy and resilient housing accessible to low-resourced and climate-stressed communities. Making this Academy even more unique is the fact that you will be learning, building, and living in the highland town of San Juan Comalapa, Guatemala with access to top Guatemalan destinations like Lake Atitlan and Antigua for weekend excursions.

~Academies held in March and July each year~

Read more below or apply now!

Watch to understand why accessible green design matters.

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What will you learn?

The goal is to build a house within the Comalapan community. Classroom, on-site lab, and hands-on learning are focused on this goal and follow the module progression below.

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Given our goal, learning is split between:

  • 30 hours of classroom lecture,

  • 15 hours of on-site lab,

  • and 115 hours of hands-on green building.

Click here for a detailed outline of activities.

You will receive a FREE E-book copy of our Guide to Green Building as the primary text resource for lectures.

Those who complete the full 160 hours of training will receive a Certificate of Completion.

Check out more learning highlights —>>>

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Who will you learn and work with?

Again, this is a one-of-a-kind green building course. We have instructors with 10+ years of experience in the field of green building - from South Africa, the U.S.A., to right here in Guatemala. The core of our team is our crew of 10+ Comalapan green constructors. You will be working side by side with this team, learning from the expertise they have gained through their work with LWH and how this crew is a model for stable employment and sustainable community development.

peter mcintosh - classroom & lab

Peter has been building with earth since 1999 and as a result he has a unique level of experience and knowledge about the various natural building materials and techniques in South Africa. On a mission to spread the word about natural building he has been teaching and running natural building courses since 2010, after starting Natural Building Collective.


Peter McIntosh: Classroom & Hands-on
Hugo Chex: Hands-on

hugo chex - hands-On

Hugo was born and raised in San Juan Comalapa. He joined the LWH team in 2011 as an experienced mason and was soon promoted to project foreman. Hugo has since led green building projects in several regions in Guatemala, in 2014 was critical to the construction of multiple off-the-grid homes in Choachi, Colombia and is currently the foreman of a 40+ person green building crew in Comalapa.

matt paneitz - hands-On

Matt was raised in Lufkin, TX. He first went to Guatemala as a Peace Corps volunteer in 2002. At the end of his service, his in-country counterpart, the director of a local NGO, requested Matt’s help in transforming a five-acre piece of land into a community park. In 2004 Matt filed the non-profit application to start LWH and by Feb 2005, Parque Chimiya was underway. Prior to starting LWH Matt worked in construction and as a 911 Paramedic. In 2013 he earned a Bachelor’s in Sustainability and in 2015 a Masters in Education.

Matt Paneitz: NGO/Project Management
Robin Rutchik: NGO/Project Management

adam howland - hands-on

Adam first came to Guatemala in 2002 as an Appropriate Technology volunteer with the Peace Corps. Adam joined the LWH team for the development of Parque Chimiya and has since been a cornerstone of the LWH staff ever since. Adam is the driving force behind the designs of LWH’s campus and off-campus projects. He specializes in sustainable building techniques and is extremely resourceful with the local materials that are available to him.

Roberto peren - hands-on

Roberto was born and raised in San Juan Comalapa. He joined the LWH team in 2012 without any construction experience and dove right into learning about green building techniques with a wide range of different resourceful and typical building materials such as bamboo to eco-bricks. Now he has climbed the ranks as Construction Team Leader at LWH. For LWH’s Green Building Academies in 2018 and 2019, the project focus was constructing a new home for Roberto and his family.


What about accommodation?

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What can you do on the weekends?

weekend excursions

Lake Atitlan and Antigua are some of the most beautiful sites in Central America, and San Juan Comalapa is only a few hours away! Transportation and lodging costs for excursions are estimated at: $70 for Lake Atitlan and $40 for Antigua. Costs may vary depending on the season.


hanging out in comalapa

Comalapa is a vibrant town. On the weekend you can hike up to various lookout points to get a birds-eye-view of Comalapa and the surrounding valleys. On Sundays you can wander around the market, hand pick delicious produce, and enjoy the beautiful textiles.


What has been done in our previous Academies?

We built this home during our Green Building Academy in July 2018.

Overview of the July 2019 Academy.

Participant perspectives of the 2018 Academy.

First weeks work on the July 2019 site.

Check out our Facebook for more pictures of our March 2019 and July 2019 Academies!

or Contact Us for more information! 


Ask us about learning how to use our excavator!