The Materials Book

50 20 Embed Know-How Construction can create social and microeconomic value. Using local building techniques or teaching new ones to a community can introduce or help maintain craftsmanship within a community—and maintain the notion of community itself. When know-how remains local and the necessary tools are available, communities can maintain, rebuild, adjust, or expand according to their needs. If local or vernacular construction also addresses climate regulation passively, long-term savings on energy expenditure may also be a benefit. Techniques that require periodic maintenance, like rammed earth, stone masonry, or thatched roof construction, keep know-how alive through regular cycles of repair. Each maintenance cycle can be used to train new laborers and is income for local workers. As long as know-how remains, what is treasured can be maintained for generations and new projects can also employ the same techniques. By using local techniques, there is less dependence on external materials and expertise, promoting self- sufficiency. If a project uses unfamiliar techniques, strategies for passing on and maintaining knowledge and standards will also be important parts of the design. Transmitting new techniques may also require unconventional, nontechnical forms of representation or communication.