A 60-year-old Spartan trailer, originally purchased as a future home for a Hurricane Katrina evacuee, was insulated with a gift of Thermablok strips. Installing the aerogel-based Thermablok is the first step of the CalArts NOMAD LAB project’s plan to use the trailer’s renovation to teach inner-city youths about sustainable “green” building materials and architectural principles.
SANTA CLARITA, California, August 22, 2011 – Acoustiblok, Inc. has donated its NASA technology Thermablok® aerogel insulating strips for installation in a 1951 Spartan trailer which is being renovated and used to sponsor a youth architecture program in the blighted Valle del Oro neighborhood of Santa Clarita.
The “Trailer Trash” project, now part of the ever-growing California Institute of the Arts’ NOMAD LAB, is the brainchild of Sam Breen, who purchased the run-down, 30-foot trailer to refurbish as a home for his Mother Lydia, a displaced Hurricane Katrina evacuee.
In October, 2010, Breen - then a 27-year-old graduate student at CalArts – sought permission to park the trailer on the school’s Valencia, California campus while he began gutting and preparing it for restoration. The trailer earned instant celebrity as Breen and other students utilized the Spartan as an on- and off-campus mobile performance space, make-shift classroom, and screening room used to explore how displacement and artistry go hand-in-hand.
“The notion of displacement is one that my mother and I are all too familiar with,” Breen said. “As I began my studies in art school it became clear to me: all artists are, at one time or another, displaced.”
Evelyn Serrano, a member of CalArt’s faculty, saw the potential for Breen’s trailer to be used in the NOMAD LAB, a program based in the nearby crime-riddled Valle del Oro neighborhood of Santa Clarita, which brings the Arts and other programs and activities to youths and families living in the gang- and crime-infested community. Breen brings the trailer to the Valle del Oro community periodically to be used as part of the NOMAD LAB’s architectural workshop.
“The youths have been learning about basic architecture principles, and as part of the architecture process they investigate the meaning of ‘home’ and ‘community’ in a neighborhood that is challenged by rising gang violence and drug trade,” Serrano said.
The trailer also serves as an exhibition and screening space for the youths’ films and artwork. The next step is to lead workshops on “green” architecture and home building topics, including insulation, for the community’s young people.
In August, Breen installed the Thermablok aerogel insulation strips to the gutted Spartan as the first part of the “Trailer Trash” project’s thorough refurbishment using safe, clean, and renewable materials. Valle del Oro youths will learn about green insulating materials in the process, as they participate in the trailer’s renovation.
“It is always a privilege to be a part of a program that helps young people learn more about sustainable building materials like Thermablok,” said Lahnie Johnson, founder and president of Thermablok and its parent company, Acoustiblok, Inc.
“To be able to donate our Thermablok aerogel strips for use in a NOMAD LAB project is particularly exciting, since it targets children and families who live in conditions that harbor poverty and crime,” Johnson said. “This is a perfect example of how small businesses can do their part in educating and providing a better future for children and families stuck in some of America’s harshest communities.”
Acoustiblok, Inc., Thermablok’s parent company, received international attention for Thermablok’s role in the prestigious 2009 Solar Decathlon competition, in which the energy-conserving house built by architectural students at California College of the Arts (CCA) and Santa Clara University (SCU) won first place in the Architecture division with its state-of-the-art Refract House. Thermablok was featured in the Refract House, chosen for inclusion because of its incomparable insulating properties, the highest in existence.
Made in the USA, Thermablok is 100-percent recyclable, impervious to moisture and mold, and unaffected by age. Green, energy-conscious architects are currently incorporating this latest answer to energy conservation and reducing CO2 emissions.
Just one, 3/8-inch x 1½-inch (10mm x 38mm) strip of Thermablok aerogel insulation added to only the edge of each stud before hanging drywall breaks the conductive “thermal bridging” and can increase the overall wall R-factor by more than 40-percent (US Department of Energy/JM Laboratories). NASA named Thermablok aerogel insulating material to its prestigious “Spinoff” list of companies that have successfully adapted NASA technology to everyday products and made them available to consumers.
Thermablok is most often used in construction as a preventative measure against thermal bridging. It was most recently used by Rice University student to insulate a portable solar autoclave, providing health practitioners the ability to sterilize medical instruments in Haiti and other impoverished regions worldwide where electricity is unavailable.
Thermablok and its parent company Acoustiblok, Inc., is proud to focus its research and
product manufacturing 100-percent made in the U.S.A. resources on environmentally important projects for the worldwide community. For more information, visit the website, email [email protected], or call 813-980-1400.