Denny Barker, a co-founder of Kelli’s Kabins, LLC (KKLLC), and Brian Canterbury, CEO, discussed this week how they intend to revolutionize the way West Virginia utilizes its natural resource of hardwood.
About nine years ago Barker had a desire to build better homes at a very affordable price using all natural woods harvested in West Virginia. His research has taken him through several courses at Virginia Tech, where he learned the art of drying hardwoods in Solar Kilns. Barker’s company has a plan to create and operate a network of solar kilns in economically stagnant areas of West Virginia in order to create jobs and further reduce the cost of constructing homes. The idea is to harvest hardwood locally and allow for solar kiln drying on the spot and then shipping the much lighter dried wood anywhere in the world.
The home designs of KKLLC are perhaps the first totally engineered, natural wood assembled homes to be marketed. The structure of the home and cabin designs are based on sound structural engineering and are to be built as the new alternative to the traditional stick-built homes. Homebuyers would be able to order and receive the homes via standard trucks and have them assembled within days rather than months. The homes will withstand water damage and are incredibly strong, being able to withstand winds of up to 200 mile per hour.
On the environmental front, Barker says, “These homes being built of all natural wood will reduce our carbon footprint. Using a ton of concrete will produce a ton of carbon which is released into the atmosphere; but if we use a ton of natural wood, we remove a ton of carbon.”
KKLLC recently held an open house of a model home in Renick. People were able to see a solar kiln and an almost completed all natural wood home. This particular home was built totally from wood felled by last year’s El Derecho storm.
Canterbury explains a fundraising effort taking place on Kickstarter.com. In May, tornadoes devastated homes in Moore, Oklahoma. Cantebury says, “We will be raising money to send one of our homes to a family of a veteran in Moore, Oklahoma. We feel this is the best way to show the world our design.”
Barker insists, “We have to start building homes like we build everything else. They need to be durable with replaceable parts so that they last forever.”
In two months KKLLC will expand their operation to the USDA Forest Service’s Wood Education and Resource Center in Princeton. The late Senator Robert Byrd had been behind this project moving to the center, according to Barker and Canterbury.
KKLLC are currently offering to sell several of their micro-homes at cost to get the ball rolling and say that another fundraiser will take place on www.Indigogo.com around July 20. More information about this company and its philosophies are on their Facebook page and at www.KellisKabins.com.