To Do: Migrate

Navajo National ‘Train the Trainers’ Traditional Hogan Retrofits and Manual Development

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iCATIS, The Forgotten People, and Purpose Focused have partnered to develop energy efficient techniques and training methods to preserve and retrofit existing traditional Navajo Hogans. Hogan retrofits centered on preservation of historic building integrity, while also increased the building longevity and occupant comfort. The project developed a low-cost approach to evaluating building health, while prioritizing and installing retrofit improvements to preserve Navajo Hogans. Critical to project success was development of community interaction and establishing a ‘train-the-trainers’ model, where two Navajo business leaders were trained to perform building assessments, prioritize and install these improvements. These business leaders then can direct additional training and installation throughout the Navajo Nation.

iCATIS led energy audit and building health evaluations of four traditional Navajo Hogans and developed a prioritized list of critical retrofits. Hogans were evaluated for deficiencies using:

a) energy audit and building envelope evaluation techniques that include blower door tests, infrared cameras, anemometers, temperature data loggers, thermocouples, and site weather data, and

b) air and water tightness testing and inspection using smoke pens to identify rim joist, windows, doors, seals, combustible exhaust, roof, envelope penetrations, and exterior/interior envelope leaks.

Air sampling assessments evaluated improvements by measuring carbon monoxide and particulate matter to determine ventilation or combustible exhaust needs and radon for venting and/or grade isolation improvements.

People restoring a hogan during workshop

Hogan Workshop

Following, our team led instruction of two training workshops for the Navajo business leaders: 1) Hogan Envelope, Insulation, and Ventilation ‘Best Practices’ and 2) Solar Thermal Collector Refurbishing and Installation. Next, our team, including the trained business leaders continued installation of weatherization, envelope, and solar collector improvements at these four Hogans. Lessons learned were incorporated into a fifth ‘model’ Hogan, where trained business leaders taught two additional, identical training workshops for Navajo community members and volunteer group attendees. Improvements focused first on improving combustible exhaust, heating/ventilation, infiltration losses, and insulation, respectively. Installed improvements include chimney pipe and flashing, envelope seals, natural ventilation, solar thermal collectors, solar photovoltaic systems (powering collector blowers and providing basic lighting), foam insulation envelope leak sealing, door/window seals/replacement, vapor/moisture barriers, and ceiling/wall insulation.

Training manuals for the two workshops and post-retrofit energy audits are being finalized to further optimize and prioritize preservation, weatherization, and solar thermal collector improvements. The final training manuals will detail low-cost energy audit, building envelope, infiltration, ventilation, and building health evaluation techniques that utilize simplified tooling, best practices for prioritizing preservation and retrofit improvements, and detailed guidance on solar collector refurbishment and installation. Manuals will be available for interested community members and available at:

Following this project, the two business leaders aim to establish a business that expands Hogan preservation and weatherization training and installation throughout the Navajo Nation. Our team is thankful for the funding support provided by the National Park Service. We would like to thank all that participated, including but not limited to Tad Britt, Dr. Robert Marquez, Michael Sapp, Don Yellowman, JoAnn Armenta, Jason Begay, Robert Blackhat, Melton and Paddy Martinez, and Valerie Kenneth. Our team is also thankful for the active community engagement including installation of the fifth ‘model’ Hogan at the local Grey Hills Academy High School, as well as high school student, community member, and volunteer partnerships, including extensive participation and support from Amizade, a Pittsburgh non-profit.

National Center for Preservation Technology and Training
645 University Parkway
Natchitoches, LA 71457

Email: ncptt[at]
Phone: (318) 356-7444
Fax: (318) 356-9119