About The DVD & Guidebook 02

Scenic view house in snow 3 pano v04


Building With Awareness
Table of Contents

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. 

Read The Reviews

The Washington Post
Review of the DVD
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.”

The Last Straw
The International Journal of Straw Bale & Natural Building
article by Owen Geiger
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. . . . with all the “bonus” footage on construction details, this video is a real bargain.

SuCasa Magazine
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.

Catherine Wanek
(author of The New Straw Bale Home)
“Its detailed instruction, eco-consciousness, and pure watchability makes this the best new green-building resource by far.”

Energy 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. . . ”


straw bale homes
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.


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.


metal roof install still
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.


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

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