Building with Awareness: Obtaining Energy Efficiency and Superb Aesthetics from the Same Materials

Ted Owens, Syncronos Design, Inc.

Sunday, September 25, 2005
1:45 PM

What if both energy efficiency and superb aesthetics could come from the same materials and design parameters? Green designer and filmmaker Ted Owens designed and built his own home with these concepts in mind. The home generates all its own electricity and stays cool and comfortable without the use of an air-conditioning system, even in the 100-degree heat of New Mexico. Quality aesthetics is an often overlooked, yet essential, green-building issue. Natural building materials—such as strawbale, adobe and earth plasters—are user-friendly, easy on the environment, great looking and can help to heat and cool a home. In this presentation, Ted compares his home with the construction of a sustainable, multi-story apartment building. Both structures are considered "green", yet each uses very different materials to obtain the same outcome.

Ted Owens is co-founder of Syncronos Design Inc., established in 1988 to promote environmental issues and design. He is a graduate of Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA and has worked as a design generalist combining his interests in design, appropriate technology, and film and video. His work has ranged from designing permanent interactive exhibits on the environment for the California Museum of Science and Industry in Los Angeles to the design and construction of solar ovens for both developing countries and the US. For the past ten years, Ted's focus has been on energy-and-resource-efficient building design that emphasizes superb aesthetics. Currently Ted is educating others about sustainable design through the “Building with Awareness” DVD series and website:

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