• Building With Awareness Blog

Materials and Textures of Green Building

I have always been a fan of the architectural firm of Lake/Flato in San Antonio, Texas. They combine clean and thoughtful design with an honest use of materials and an awareness of sustainable design. This is partially accomplished by using locally available materials and featuring the unique textures of each. In their work, stone and corrugated sheet metal can work in harmony and compliment each other. Although the shape of the structure appears to be very simple, there was much thought given to the proportion—the height of the chimney, window and door placement, and the slope of the roof. The design of this home is enriched by the hue and texture of the stone. The structure is in harmony with its environment as the main wall material comes from the environment. Green building can be both energy efficient and aesthetically pleasing. source: Lake/Flato

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Keeping Food Cool Without Electricity

This low-tech refrigerator by Mohammed Bah Abba of Nigeria, cools food with simple physics. In countries without electricity, refrigeration is almost impossible. Food can spoil rapidly if it is not brought to market immediately upon harvesting. How it works: Wet sand is placed between two porous clay pots and the moisture evaporates to the surrounding dry air via the outer pot. This lowers the food compartment temperature by up to 14 degrees. Produce can then last for over a week, as opposed to a couple of days. The low-cost pots are produced and sold by local villages. Women benefit the most from this food cooler. Abba’s invention liberates girls from having to sell food each day before it spoils. Now free to attend school, the number of girls enrolling in local primary schools is increasing. Sometimes simplicity is the best solution. Who would have thought that a food storage system made from a couple of clay pots would also benefit education. This is sustainable design and appropriate technology at its best and it won a 2005 Rolex Award. Learn more from the source: Rolex Awards

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The Building With Awareness Blog

Above: A volunteer tree grows from the wall of an abandoned building in downtown Los Angeles, striving to balance the natural landscape with the urban landscape. For years I have been keeping notebooks of sketches, collecting pictures, taking photographs, shooting video, and writing down ideas regarding sustainable design. This blog will be a way to share some of my thoughts. The plan is to inspire and show anything that remotely relates to creating a green society that functions well and looks good. The mix of content will be broad as ideas can come from what appear to be unrelated fields. Green building, passive solar architecture, energy efficient transportation, novel solutions using appropriate technology, and just plain smart design will all be covered. It is by looking at the big picture, and not putting barriers as to what is possible, that will permit us to design our way into a new era. Ted Owens Syncronos Design Inc. Sustainable designer and filmmaker and author of the Building With Awareness DVD and Guidebook

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