Building With Awareness
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!
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:
Straw bale house building: scenes from the Building With Awarenesss DVD video. This is the post-and-beam method of framing with straw bale
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.
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.
Earth plasters are durable and great looking. We show you how to make beautiful wall finishes for both inside and outside the home.
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.
AWARDS AND MEDIA REVIEWS:
This DVD Has Been Featured In:
Green Builder Magazine
Santa Fean Magazine
KISS 106.1 FM, Seattle, WA
KSFR FM 90.7 Santa Fe, NM
WHAT VIEWERS ARE SAYING:
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
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!
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.
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.
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