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Hi’ilani EcoHouse welcomes Hamakua Youth Center fundraiser

<p>Hi’ilani House in Honokaa will open for a Hamakua Youth Center fundraiser, from 4 to 6 p.m., on Aug. 24. (PHOTO BY SARAH ANDERSON| SPECIAL TO NHN)</p>

Hi’ilani House in Honokaa will open for a Hamakua Youth Center fundraiser, from 4 to 6 p.m., on Aug. 24. (PHOTO BY SARAH ANDERSON| SPECIAL TO NHN)

<p>From left, Jim and Terri Sugg, and Sherry and Dave Pettus pose for a photo in their Hi’ilani House. (PHOTO BY SARAH ANDERSON| SPECIAL TO NHN)</p>

From left, Jim and Terri Sugg, and Sherry and Dave Pettus pose for a photo in their Hi’ilani House. (PHOTO BY SARAH ANDERSON| SPECIAL TO NHN)

<p>From left, Jim and Terri Sugg, and Sherry and Dave Pettus pose for a photo in their Hi’ilani House. (PHOTO BY SARAH ANDERSON| SPECIAL TO NHN)</p>

From left, Jim and Terri Sugg, and Sherry and Dave Pettus pose for a photo in their Hi’ilani House. (PHOTO BY SARAH ANDERSON| SPECIAL TO NHN)

<p>From left standing, Dave Pettus and Terri Sugg, and seated from left, Sherry Pettus and Jim Sugg, in front of their Hi’ilani House, which will be open for a Hamakua Youth Organization fundraiser on</p>

From left standing, Dave Pettus and Terri Sugg, and seated from left, Sherry Pettus and Jim Sugg, in front of their Hi’ilani House, which will be open for a Hamakua Youth Organization fundraiser on

“My favorite thing is just waking up in the morning. It’s like living in a sculpture,” said Teri Suggs, co-owner of Hi’ilani EcoHouse in Honokaa, with husband Jim Suggs, and Dave and Sherry Pettus. The two couples created their “carbon neutral” collaborative home from concept to concrete, working with architect Robert Mechielsen, RMA Studio and a small army of contractors, green technology companies, and numerous friends.

Because the home was designed to be shared, part of its “mission” is to find ways to benefit the wider community. On Aug. 24, from 4 to 6 p.m., Hi’ilani will host its first public event, a gala fundraiser for Hamakua Youth Center that includes home tours, live music, pupus and presentations by HYC.

Set on the blue-green hillside above Honokaa, Hi’ilani is a composition of artful angles and uplifts that enfold both secluded and generous gathering places equally well. In collaboration with nature, the home uses innovative green technologies and sensitive design features such as the “butterfly” roof that directs rainwater into catchment and enhances natural air-flow. Specialized concrete-and-foam wall panels provide soundproofing and privacy. On most days, the photo-voltaic system makes about 40 percent more electricity than the household actually uses.

“I don’t know how we could have done it without all of us,” said Teri. “We fit together well with what we wanted – and we were planning for years before we started to build.”

“I love living with other people,” said Teri. “When things are good, there is always someone there to share it with—and when things are hard, it’s usually easier to figure it out with somebody else than by yourself.”

“People ask, how can you stand the lack of privacy?’” said Dave Pettus. “We designed it so everybody could have all the privacy they want and all the company they want. There’s always somebody to watch TV with, sit around the fire, cook, listen to music or play music.”

“I think Hillary hit it when she said it takes a village,” said Dave. “It’s one of things we designed into the house, and we are committed to living this way the rest of our days … People are yearning for family. The concept of intentional family is very powerful.”

“The Pettuses and Suggs have been very generous benefactors to the Hamakua Youth Center through their family foundations,” said HYC Board Vice President Jack Zimmerman. Knowing that the home, and its “intentional family, intended to welcome community events, the board proposed that HYC be the first.

“We feel very privileged,” said Zimmerman.

Zimmerman said the event will include house tours, and presentations by HYC youth and staff. New HYC board member Chelsea Yagong will give a short keynote talk about ways Honokaa schools and HYC can connect and cooperate to serve youth and families. In addition, the evening at Hi’ilani features a variety of live music and “Pupus Gone Wild,” prepared by professional chefs and community cooks.

“It’s a wonderful setting, with room for 50-60 people comfortably in the great room, a special music niche and aesthetic views,” said Zimmerman. “I imagine we’ll have spontaneous dancing and lots of talking among friends.”

Not unlike Hi’ilani, HYC is a free, drop-in after school facility in Honokaa, where young people can hang out, do their homework, watch TV and always find company to play games with, listen to music or collaborate on a project. After years of financial struggles, HYC recently received a challenge grant from the Mark Terk Charitable Foundation, which will match funds raised up to $25,000, dollar for dollar. The Aug. 24 fundraiser will help meet the challenge.

“We would like to be surprised and overwhelmed,” said Zimmerman, hoping for a good turnout at the fundraiser. “Some of our kids really are facing a lot of challenges—and we want to expand the program and be even more involved than we already are.”

HYC is suggesting a $100 donation for the fundraiser, but any and all gifts are gratefully appreciated. Parking is available at the Pettus home nearby with shuttle service available. For directions and to RSVP, call HYC at 775-0976. For more information about the home, visit www.Hiilani EcoHouse.com.