Sean Kaltenbach, a second-generation New Mexico builder with a deep dedication to sustainable homes, has led or participated in the building of numerous custom earthen homes. Kaltenbach, chairman of the Earthbuilders’ Guild board of directors, is often called on for advice or instruction in the specialized techniques and skills of earthen construction. His company, New Mexico Earthworks, specializes in adobe and compressed-earth block construction, as well as artistic fireplaces, bancos, architecturally interesting exposed adobe walls, and the use of custom finishes such as earth-and-lime plastering.

The many reasons to build an earthen home span romance, history and quality of life,” says Kaltenbach. “Adobe homes have a sculpted look. The colors blend into the natural setting, and the rough textures are beautiful and interesting. There’s a distinct charm that can’t be duplicated with boards and blocks.  Earthen homes can be very modern, but they still retain that touch of antiquity that you feel at the Taos Pueblo, the Inn at Loretto in Santa Fe or the Basilica of San Albino in Mesilla. The amenities, such as heat absorption in the winter, natural coolness in the summer and low impact on the environment, bring most people great personal satisfaction.”

New Mexico Earthworks will have a booth at the Earth USA conference in Santa Fe, Oct. 4-5. For more information on the company, call 505.490.0238 or visit



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