Long Way Home's Green Building Academy


Nurtures knowledge, skills, and competence in the following:

  • Democratic and Social Justice Education
  • Sustainable Design, Planning, and Building Practices
  • Green Construction Methodologies
  • Cultural Sensitivity

Supports the development of personal qualities:

  • Mindful and ethical action
  • Sense of social responsibility
  • Increased self-confidence, self-awareness, and personal agency
  • Understanding and engagement in social ecology
  • Inter-cultural competence and sensitivity to cultural appropriation
  • Critical thinking/reflection

Long Way Home’s Green Building Academy offers a variety of hands-on learning experiences that contribute to the development of present and future generations of skilled and socially responsible green builders. Academy graduates will emerge as ethical and creative change agents, conscious and culturally competent global citizens, and informed leaders doing their part to create a more sustainable world.

The Green Building Academy provides a menu of unique educational options that are relevant to both professionals and students inside AND outside of the construction industry. Guided by best practices in green construction, the Academy is dedicated to educating individuals and organizations, in both theory and practical application, about sustainable design, planning, and building practices. Participants will connect to their environment, and develop increased consciousness & competence relating to sustainability, environmental & ecological balance, and ethical & respectful community development. The Academy equips participants with the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to apply their creativity to design and construction using sustainable, unconventional materials and low-impact methodologies with potential for off-grid implementation.

Who Can Benefit from attending the Green Building Academy?

A broad range of people of different ages representing diverse cultures, languages, education levels, and backgrounds, including:

  • People in construction/building fields interested in honing skills and developing new skills
  • High school and college students as well as gap-year students **Ask us about possible college credit**
  • Architects and engineers
  • Permaculturalists
  • Environmental activists
  • Education and social service workers
  • Aspiring educators as well as veteran teachers who are considering experiences that will shape their approach to teaching and learning
  • Educators seeking pathways for re-certification credit/salary steps
  • Spiritual and community leaders
  • Business leaders
  • Mid-career transitioners
  • Retired people
  • People seeking restoration and renewal along with experiencing language/cultural immersion

Course Details:

What we learn in the classroom we will apply in the construction of a new house for a local family with limited economic resources in San Juan Comalapa, Guatemala.

Session 1: May 5 - June 2, 2018
Session 2: July 1 - July 30, 2018
Cost: $3,000
($500 non-refundable deposit to secure space)

Hands-on/Lab - 120 hours
Classroom - 40 hours

College Credit Available! Ask us for details


Introduction to Construction/Jobsite Safety
How to Approach the Design of Your Building
Project Budgeting and Staging
Passive Solar Design - Insulation and Thermal Mass

Understanding Earth
Testing Earth
Site Establishment and Foundations
Plasters and Mortar Mixes

Introduction to Concrete and Steel
Focus on Tire Construction
Focus on Bond Beams, Arches, Vaults and Domes
Basic Carpentry


Basic Electricity
Off-Grid Energy as an alternative to centralized energy systems
How to design your own off-grid solar energy system

Fundamentals of Water Management
Water Supply Management
Focus on Greywater
Focus on Blackwater
Focus on Pumps, Pipes and Tanks

Unconventional Building Materials To Be Used:

Eco-bricks, plastic bottles
Glass bottles
Aluminum cans
Cob, adobe
Other reusables


Electives ($10/hr)

Language: Spanish or Kaqchikel
Cooking: Local cuisine, tortilla making
Painting: Arte Naif history, painting class
Weaving: Backstrap
Music: Marimba
Geography, History, Culture: Latin American, Guatemalan, Comalapan, Mayan
Grassroots NGO Development
In-Country Field Trips/Tours: Ruins of Iximche and Mixco Viejo, colonial capital of Antigua, market town of Chichicastenango, and Guatemala City museums (each trip will have a specific additional price)


Peter McIntosh
Guy Williams
Matt Paneitz
Adam Howland
Roberto Perén
Robin Rutchik
Romeo Apén
Hugo Chex


  • Lodging: 30 nights (May 4 - June 3)

    1. Dorm-style shared hotel room (2-4 beds per room) with shared bathroom (included)

    2. Private hotel room - Costs extra - $250

    3. Home-stay w/local family.  Costs extra  - $250

  • Food: Breakfasts, lunches and dinners will be provided for all 30 days. Lunch will be prepared on the work site by a local family every day. Breakfasts and dinners will be provided at the hotel (or home-stay). Most dietary restrictions can be accommodated.

  • Transportation:  Transportation to and from the airport is not included in the price. However, we would be happy to coordinate it for you. Our taxi driver charges Q375 (about $50) or we can give you directions for public transportation.  


optional weekend excursion:

Lake Atitlan is one of the most beautiful sites in Central America, and San Juan Comalapa is only a few hours away! Come celebrate a well-deserved vacation with a weekend at Lake Atitlan for just $250 extra to include transportation and lodging only.

or Contact Us for more information!