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award-winning strawbale house dvd video Building With Awareness
The Construction of a Hybrid Home

is the Award-Winning* DVD Video
On How To Build Elegant and
Energy-Efficient Straw Bale Homes

Now Available! The Building With Awareness DVD now has a 152-page companion guidebook with over 400 full color photos and illustrations. Buy both and save.

Even if you’ve read all the books, it can still seem daunting to jump into the construction process of building your own straw bale home. What is it like and where can you get the help and information you need? This video shows you the entire process, step-by-step, from start to finish. You will have a front-row seat on the work site, learning from the experts as they notch and stack the bales and mix the mud. Building With Awareness will give you a solid understanding of the structure as a whole and how it all works together—the positioning of windows, why certain materials were chosen, and how solar energy can be used to dramatically lower your heating and cooling bills. By breaking the construction into separate steps—each one flowing into the next—the process becomes easy to understand. You will learn how to construct post-and-beam straw bale walls to code, how interior adobe thermal mass walls can improve efficiency, and watch earth-plaster techniques that create stunning wall finishes. Energy-efficiency and superb aesthetics can both come from the same materials. This beautifully presented DVD will inspire you to create an environment that is truly a pleasure to live in. Finally, there is a video for the rest of us who need to see the process in order to fully understand it.

The DVD features a second audio track that doubles the design and construction information on the DVD to over 5 hours, a 16-minute sequence on construction details, and a quick-access menu. Running time of main video program: 2 hours 42 minutes. Released in 2005.


Do you want a home that is naturally cooler inside despite the blazing summer heat outside? Designer and filmmaker Ted Owens walks you through the entire design and construction process of building his passive-solar home. Building an energy-efficient home requires more than just using straw bale walls—as this alone does not guarantee a stable indoor temperature, nor prevent overheating in the summer. The best scenario is to combine the proper materials with a house plan that takes advantage of solar energy, “Building With Awareness” shows you how the design of the entire house has a huge impact on energy-efficiency and comfort.

Beautiful design is a green building principal that is just as important as energy-efficiency. This video looks at a home as an entire system - the layout of rooms and windows, the materials chosen for specific areas, and how the home relates to the angle of the sun. All have a dramatic impact on how well the house performs. This video is packed with green-design and construction techniques from professionals working in the cutting edge of home building and design. Many of these concepts add nothing to the construction cost of the home, yet can save the homeowner thousands of dollars in utility bills.

Straw bale walls are like working with the oversized blocks that you used as a kid. Once you see the step-by-step demonstration by straw bale expert Stefan Bell, you will know that building your own home is within your grasp. His enthusiasm for straw bale construction is contagious. Learn each step of code-approved techniques for straw bale construction—stacking, noching around posts, window installation, how to split straw bales, plaster and stucco preparation—the whole works.

In the adobe section, we show you how to build walls out of mud bricks. Placing thermal mass walls (thick, heavy walls that can absorb and store heat) within your highly insulated exterior walls, is very important—and sometimes overlooked in green building. This will greatly improve the efficiency of any straw bale home. This home stays cool and comfortable inside, without the use of an air-conditioning system, even in the hundred-degree heat of New Mexico. It does this by taking advantage of the local climate and by using adobe thermal mass walls. If adobe is not available in your area, either stone or brick can be used.

This home generates 100% of its own electricity with photovoltaic panels on the roof. Wiring and electrical work for straw bale and frame construction is demonstrated by solar energy electrician Joe Yarkin. Joe, when he is not working on electrical wiring for straw bale homes, is installing large photovoltaic systems in anarctica for the National Science Foundation. He brings his knowledge of alternative power systems to this video. Joe wires this straw bale and adobe home for both a conventional and photovoltaic electrical system.

Stefan Bell also hosts the sequence on using an all-volunteer crew to apply the first coat of earth plaster to the home’s walls. He demonstrates mud mixtures, application techniques, the use of tools, and additional tips and tricks. Nothing will get you up to speed faster than by watching Stefan go through the entire earth plastering process. By the end, you will want to get your hands dirty yourself. It’s fun!

The finish coat of earth plaster is demonstrated by author and professional earth-plasterer, Keely Meagan. She wrote the original book on earth plastering, “Earth Plasters for Straw Bale Homes”. Keely will show you how to obtain a beautiful white earth plaster finish in a variety of colors—even if you have never plastered a wall in your life. She will show you how to mix the earth plaster and what tools to use. When finished, you end up with a beautiful, paint-free surface on your walls.

You will learn how to install a rainwater cistern, how to construct a rubble trench foundation to conserve concrete, and how to place your windows to maximize solar gain. You will learn how to make small spaces appear larger, and how to make the best use of the space you have.

The purpose of this DVD is to educate, inspire, and give you the confidence to build your own home using a variety of green building materials. This video is an engaging journey of a real-world case study of building green. See what most non-contractor homebuilders will be dealing with—working with the local experts, designing to meet code, taking advantage of the local climate, and incorporating materials that are avaialble in your area. It will appeal to both the casually-interested and the professional builder. Whether you are ready to start building or are just interested in the concepts, this video will inspire you to create a living environment that is truly a pleasure to live in. It will be the least expensive tool you buy for saving money in the design and construction of your home.

The DVD is divided into 13 easy-to-access chapters. Topics covered in the video:

1. Introduction
The big picture of using solar energy
2. Design
Completed house walk-through showing that energy-
efficient design and great looks can both come from
the same materials
Design and layout of rooms to take advantage of
passive solar energy
Using solar energy and how to position the house &        windows for maximum heating and cooling efficiency
Thermal mass walls for keeping the home warm in the
winter and cool in the summer
Small workshop made of adobe and cob

3. Breaking Ground
Rubble trench foundations for reducing the amount
of concrete
Separate plumbing for gray water and sewage
Interior adobe wall foundation forms
Wood-free foundation forms for straw bale walls
Pouring foundations with concrete
Installation of radiant floor heat tubing
How to pour durable, aesthetic, and heat-absorbing
concrete floors

4. Rainwater Cistern
Introduction to rainwater cisterns
Cistern tank installation, plumbing and filters

5. Adobe
Adobe wall construction for stabilizing indoor
air temperatures
Using speed leads for accurate adobe walls
Gringo blocks and stab bolts in adobe walls for
attaching frame walls and shelves
Electrical wiring of adobe walls
Various methods of bond beam construction including
wood frame, bond beam block, and adobe forms

6. Framing
Introduction to framing systems for the entire house
Post-and-beam construction for straw bale walls
Pre-manufactured roof truss installation
Roof overhangs for the control of solar gain
How to install roof sheeting and metal roofs.

7. Straw Bale Walls
Straw bale wall construction overview
Notching bales for post-and-beam construction
Anchoring bales to post-and-beam frame
Straw bale wall reinforcement
Trimming and filling of straw bale walls
Splitting a straw bale into two half-bales

Finish work on straw bale walls
Preparing straw bale walls for earth plaster, gypsum
plaster, or cement stucco

8. Electrical
Photovoltaic electrical systems overview for an
off-the-grid electrical system
Code-specified wiring for straw bale, adobe, and
frame walls

9. Windows and Insulation
Bamboo arches over windows and doors
Wire mesh on walls for earth and gypsum plasters
Installing windows
Sheetrock for ceilings
Cellulose insulation installation for super-insulation
Well pump installation for a photovoltaic system or
conventional electrical system
Stucco splash zone for exterior earth plaster walls
Final mud prep and installation of window seats, etc.

10. Earth Plasters
Extensive how-to information on mixing weather-         resistant earth plaster and application on straw bale
         using a three-coat system
Application of mud plaster on adobe walls

11. Finish Work
Reed wall as an alternative to sheetrock
Enviornmentally-sound paints and finishes
Acid-staining concrete floors for a beautiful finish
Raised floors with storage underneath for small homes
Apply gypsum plaster on top of earth plaster where
water durability is needed
Economical kitchen cabinets and tile

12. Finish Earth Plaster
Mixing white earth plasters for the finish coat,
including durable recipes
Application of white earth plasters as a finish coat, with
dozens of tips, tricks, and techniques
Final exterior earth plaster for a durable finish
13. Conclusion
Final thoughts on building a hybrid home

Addtional DVD Features:
• Beautifully photographed and edited to television
broadcast standards

• Original musical score and stereo soundtrack
• Leading experts in straw bale, earth plastering,
electrical wiring, and framing lead detailed
demonstrations of each phase of consturction

• A second audio track with additional design and
construction commentary that doubles the design and
construction information to over 5 hours. This track
features reasons for various design decisions, why
specific materials were chosen, construction costs,
and the experience of building a green home.
• A sixteen-minute narrated slide show of
construction details on foundations, framing, window
details for straw bale, and plumbing
• An eight page booklet with technical specifications
of the home and a floor plan

• Easy access to various sections of the DVD by usingyour remote-control

Technical Information:
Video Format:NTSC, Digital Stereo Sound, Dual Layer DVD-9. Dual-layer DVD's are the same type that are used for Hollywood feature films. They offer the same amount of high-quality video that fits on two standard DVD's, all without having to flip or change the DVD.

Playing in other countries: This DVD will play in all country regions as long as your DVD player supports the NTSC video format (the standard in the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Japan). Most European televisions use the PAL video system. Some, but not all, PAL DVD players will play NTSC DVD's. If you live in a PAL or SECAM region, check the specifications of your DVD player. This DVD will play on all home computers around the world (PC and Mac) that are capable of playing DVD video. Prices and specifications subject to change without notice




building with awareness rent now


straw bale construction

Straw bale house building: scenes from the Building With Awarenesss DVD video. This is the post-and-beam method of framing with straw bale
infill. The straw bales are used for infill only and not only insulate the home, but also supply the surface for plastering. Straw bales are great at insulating, yet poor at storing heat, so they are only used for the exterior walls.

adobe wall

Thermal Mass : Learn how to choose the best material for a specific wall's purpose. In a straw bale hybrid home, a heavy material is used for the interior walls. This is essential for obtaining maximum performance in locations that have significant heating and cooling needs. Adobe, or other materials like stone or brick, are great at absorbing and storing heat—just what is needed for in the interior of the home. Thermal mass walls are are superior to wood-frame walls because they become part of the heating and cooling system.


straw bale house with a metal roof that collects rainwater for the cistern

There is more to the design of this roof than meets the eye. The metal roof is perfect for collecting clean rainwater for the cistern. In addition, the slope was chosen for the best angle in relation to the sun since panels on the roof will generate 100% of the electrical needs for the home from sunlight.


straw bale home with exterior wall earth plaster of mud

Earth plasters are durable and great looking. We show you how to make beautiful wall finishes for both inside and outside the home.


straw bale house interior with earth plasters on straw bale and adobe walls

Aesthetics are an essential element of green building. The better a home looks and feels, the longer it will probably last. The Building With Awareness DVD video will show you how to obtain both great aesthetics and energy-efficiency from the same materials.The result is a home that is both easy on the environment and a pleasure to live in. Sit back and relax as we guide you through the design and construction of one home, from start to finish. This is a beautiful video to get you started on your dream green home.


The Washington Post
Review of the DVD        April 8, 2006
"Building With Awareness: The Construction of a Hybrid Home" is the work of Ted Owens, who is both a filmmaker and a designer. For the viewer, it is a happy combination. Owens not only knows his subject well, but also knows how to present it in a way that will capture his audience and hold its attention . Read more . . .

(QuickTime 6 required)
• Viemo Building with Awareness Trailer
• LARGE VIDEO (DSL and cable modem)

• Home page
• Learn more about this DVD
• Take a picture tour of this home
• Take a construction tour of this home
• How much did it cost to build this home?
• Qustions and Answers on Green
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straw bale homes DVD award   Three 2005 Telly Awards
   In the categories of:
   • Outstanding Multimedia DVD
   • Editing
   • Use Of Graphics
   The Telly Awards honor the finest video and    film productions nationwide


The Last Straw

The International Journal of Straw Bale & Natural Building
article by Owen Geiger

Summer 2005 / Issue #50

"The aesthetic details are stunning. I’ve been admiring this house on the Building With Awareness website for several years. The video (and website) show how a relatively simple design can be turned into a beautiful home using techniques anyone can learn. . . .At $35, and with all the “bonus” footage on construction details, this video is a real bargain."

This DVD Has Been Featured In:

natural home building featuring straw bale dvd  Natural Home
  and Garden Magazine

  July / August 2005
  Featured in the "New and Noteworthy"   section of the magazine

   SuCasa Magazine
   Spring 2006
   Seven pages are devoted to the home    featured on this website and the DVD.
   "Called "Building With Awareness", the    elegant movie is both a documentary    and a how-to video." Read More . . .


  Green Builder Magazine
   March / April 2006
   "This may be the first in a line of great,    green date films, and if the DVD can also    serve to educate your clients or crew, you    might want to spring for the $35.00."


straw bale house dvd featured in magazine Santa Fean Magazine
  August 2005, Page 56
  Featured in the "On and Off the Plaza "   section of the magazine






"The benefit of such a DVD over a book is that you get to see the team building each step of the project, and mention the troubles they encountered, as well as how they overcame the problems, making this one well worth the asking price online. For the level of quality the DVD offered up, I suggest it as Highly Recommended."
Click Here for the full review


Energy Priorities
rgy Priorities

"I was hooked before they broke ground. The day "Building with Awareness" arrived I sat down to watch the first few minutes. Two hours later I finished the program and the DVD extras. . . For designers and builders who are learning more about energy efficient construction, this is an excellent primer on a range of techniques and materials. . . "
click here for full review

KISS 106.1 FM, Seattle, WA
25 minutes with Ted Owens on Sunday, April 17, 2005 with host Kristin Mark. Ted
discussed green building and the Building With Awareness DVD video


KSFR FM 90.7 Santa Fe, NM
"The Journey Home" with host Diego Mulligan on April 18 at 5 PM for the hour
with guest Ted Owens. The topic was sustainable building and the Building With Awareness DVD video.


Jerry Hutton
alternative energies expert

Director of the Fuel Cells and Alternative Fuels
Training Center at Hocking College

"Ted Owens, in his "Building with Awareness"
DVD, has taken the process of "Green Building Design" to the next level in both the
construction and operations of the home. I highly recommend these construction
techniques for anyone interested in implementing truly sustainable designs."  



Beautifully filmed and scripted! Ted Owens shows thoughtful, detailed elements from beginning to end, which cannot always be explained with the written word; proving the axiom "a picture is worth a thousand words" to be true. Any question I may have had regarding some aspect of construction seemed to be answered as I was thinking of it. With his band of artisans he makes even me feel
that my family and I can build a unique, energy-conscious, comfortable home.

—M. West


I spent last weekend watching the Building with Awareness DVD. As soon as I was finished. I watched it again! This extremely informative and beautiful video, as far as I know, is the first of its kind. At least, the first green building video I have been able to find with the building process laid out step by step in a simple and very visual format. I'm ecstatic to have found Syncronos Design!

—C. N.


With today's exorbitant house prices, plus the ever-rising costs of heating due to poorly insulated homes as well as draining the earth's resources, we finally get a sane alternative option to this madness. Ted Owens has built a hybrid house and has documented the entire process on his "Building with Awareness" DVD. The home has been built economically using environmentally friendly materials. Ted explains very clearly the fundamental elements from beginning to end with the accompanying graphic photography so one does not miss a step of the project. . The film shows that the whole family can take part in creating an aesthetically pleasing and energy-saving responsible abode. This is an extremely well designed program, one that you will want to share with your friends.

—Colin Lee
Buckingham, England


Well, books are great. I have more then two dozen very well written and illustrated books on straw bale and alternative house building, but it is not quite the same as having Ted Owens walking you through the process step by step in a very pedagogic way. To see this process come together visually on this DVD cannot be substituted with the written word. I got the impression that he had put a lot of thought and planning into the detailed design of the green-building house, or it would be better to say earth-friendly home. One gets to see the kind of problems that do and will pop up, but with the help of his family and friends as his crew, along with the experts he's brought in to help and how they go about resolving them. The two hours and 42 minutes viewing time riveted and completely held my interest and gave so much information. At no time did I feel patronized or talked down to, instead I came away with the feeling I could make my dream come true and do this too. Ted brings his refined design sense to the production of this DVD.

—Clive J. Henderson
Santa Fe Springs, California

Copyright © 2015, Syncronos Design Inc. All rights reserved. Building With Awareness is a registered trademark of Ted Owens. QuickTime and the QuickTime Logo are trademarks of Apple Computer, Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. The Get QuickTime Badge is atrademark of Apple Computer Inc., used with permission