Our History

Ho‘ouluwehi- The Sustainable Living Institute of Kaua‘i was founded at Kaua‘i Community College in 2008 by an idea fostered as seeds of inspiration from the platform of Chancellor Helen Cox with the help of her faculty and staff.
Within the walls of the academic higher education atmosphere, the concept of partnering with government, business, and private individuals was at the root of a multi-disciplinary institute which would support and accelerate progress towards a culturally, economically, environmentally, and socially sustainable Kaua‘i.

From the beginning of discussions, although the curriculum and training was the focal on campus; there was the idea of partnering with the cultural habits of our heritage and history of Kaua‘i to form a center of education, experimentation, and applied research to foster sustainable living practices which would alternately bring synergy from different areas, groups, and individuals to improve the economy and provide sustainable ideas of living to the community at large.

The Triad Foundation Promise

Founding contributors, supportive staff and many hours of volunteer time have helped to develop many accredited courses and adult training in continuing education for the community and students alike. Various credit and non-credit courses have been launched with the help of USDA grants and Rural Farm Development grants.  There include courses in renewable energy, apiary studies, photo-voltaic installation and maintenance, aquaponics, and zero waste training.  A Marine Options Program offering a Certificate of Completion has been offered since 2012.


In addition, in partnership with the Kauai Economic Development Board, Rural Development Program, Kauai Farm Bureau and the College for Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources a Saturday Farmer's Market have been started at KCC.

In August of 2011, a new director was announced to lead the institute with the support of the University of Hawai‘i into full credit agriculture and green building programs.  Choosing to lead by example the director, Eric Knutzen, soon was formulating a plan to branch into low income alternative housing situated in a farm like dwelling with food production as a goal of the tenants.


Seeing experimentation with different types of architecture Mr. Knutzen, working with the Ho‘ouluwehi Vision and Cultural Leadership Team as well as with KCC staff and a community steering committee, is currently seeking to apply these goals to direct training in the field for Green Construction for Facilities Engineering and Construction students.  Knutzen eventually hopes to move into a sustainable and affordable student housing plan which would align with the campus priorities of growing the international student base.

Planning and working with private donor funding, partners in the government, private businesses and non-profit organization, the institute also hopes to being to sponsor K-12 educational events in sustainability. The promise to Kaua‘i is that the institute will work internally to improve courses and training while reducing our own footprint as well as remaining open to applied research and ideas related to community interest. Ho‘ouluwehi promises to help build on those ideas Kaua‘i citizens and government are already engaged in and to try and create even more opportunities for a sustainable culture, environment and economy on Kaua‘i.

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