This firm is evolving into a diversified and multidisciplinary
environmental company specializing in services, products and
promotion of a sustainable future through green buildings for the
new millennium. We use an integrated, "real world", walk-the-talk
approach for the benevolent design, efficient consulting, alternative
construction and hands-on education for small scale housing projects
and commercial buildings that are friendly to people and compassionate
to the planet.
Table of Contents:
1.0) Welcome to the new Home Page
for ASH-Autonomous & Sustainable Housing Inc. ("ASH"
for short). This is an elaboration of the previous short form found
on our Home Page. Our firm
specializes in "real world" healthy housing and green
buildings, both new and retrofit, for a sustainable future. We have
tried to take the best of the past, build in the reality of the
present, to be ready for the future. If we can be of service to
you, if our work is worthy of your support, if you wish to be on
our mailing list, or if you would like to recommend a new product
or project, please
. Please also check out our industry partners and
special events. We welcome your input.
2.0) Thank you for taking the
time and making the effort to visit our web site. Thank you also
for your patience while we complete the retrofit of our latest version
of our web site over the next few weeks. It will portray a small
fraction of our past work: Design
& Build Projects; Consulting
Work, [Industry Partners], Conference Papers, [Demonstration
Projects], [Lectures & Talks], [Workshops & Seminars], [Awards
& Citations], [Media & Special Events]. Thank you also for
being interested in a more sustainable world and brighter future,
and doing your part to expand solutions while minimizing problems.
3.0) ASH Principals: Our team
of one lady and 2 gentlemen have been trained in various schools
of architecture in Canada, the US and the Philippines. Our expertise
has been gained in the "real world" through many projects
over many years, mainly in Canada. Resumes for Jorg Ostrowski is
now available by clicking here.
The resumes of Orian Low and Helen Ostrowski will follow.
4.0) Business Philosophy: Our
portfolio of work and future commissions will only be based on long
term, green capitalism, respect for the environment and investments
in future to meet the quadruple bottom line: profit for people,
planet, business and the future, as specified in our Mission/Vision
Statement. We have no interest in standard architectural
work. Ecology, not geometry is our foundation and priority. We will
not do minimal standard, hit-and -run design and construction. The
world can no longer afford to run away from buildings that are obsolete
upon completion of construction. The soft green path is our long
term commitment. Our vision is rooted in the future, not the past.
This requires a far greater front end load of professional work
to get it right for the long haul. Our professional fees reflect
that experience, commitment and extra effort.
5.0) Benefits for our Clients: Water
is far more precious than oil. Life would stop without water, but
life will go on in spite of, and without oil.
|5.1) more healthy indoors
||5.5) better return on investment
||5.9) lower maintenance cost
|5.2) leaves a legacy worth inheriting
||5.6) security against spiralling fossil fuel costs
||5.10) energy independence
|5.3) less pollution & GHG emissions
||5.7) security against increasing costs of precious
||5.11) greater durability
|5.4) investment in the future
||5.8) higher resale value
||5.12) protection against vandalism
6.0) Clients & Projects: ASH
has worked with a wide variety of clients from First Nations, building
managers, college presidents, food store owners, owner builders,
lay people, business owners, and government, on a wide variety of
projects including strawbale homes and commercial projects, passive
solar homes, remote houses, and "RecoFits" of a college
and office tower.
7.0) Consulting Service: Professional
advice is available for clients on drawings produced by others.
It takes advantage of our design and construction experience over
the years to offer clients our retrogressive perspective of how
to improve our own work, and that of others, so that the projects
of our clients can be better, cheaper, more healthy and cost-effective.
For more information, please click
8.0) Architectural/Environmental Design:
Almost all of our design projects have been built and can be seen
at various locations on this web site. We can provide a complete
set of design and working drawings, for development and building
permits. These would include site plan, floor plans, elevations,
sections, specifications, window/door schedules, details, structural
and mechanical engineering and site inspections. For more information
on this service, please click
9.0) Work Principles: We try to help
build local solutions for global problems through benevolent EcoDesign
using the following principles:
|9.1) team approach
||9.9) honest use of features
||9.17) self-help construction
|9.2) user participatory design
||9.10) no arbitrary elements
||9.18) local industries
|9.3) mission statement governed
||9.11) long term responsibility
||9.19) appropriate tools
|9.4) priority checklist
||9.12) continuous evolution of details
||9.20) making a difference
|9.5) holistic design from inside to outside
||9.13) multitasking features & details
|9.6) integration of systems
||9.14) contemporary aesthetics
|9.7) integration into surroundings
||9.15) stoic v. Epicurean approach
|9.8) natural dynamics
||9.16) cost efficiency
10.0) Partnerships: The partners
of ASH have worked with about 300 government, NGO and industry partners
over the last few years. Demonstration projects have provided various
opportunities for: product exposure, market response, product improvement,
new applications, unique photo opportunities, and media coverage
that money could not buy, all in a "real world" setting
in actual time. Many new products or extensions to product lines
have originated through our demonstration projects. Many of these
firms are the leading edge companies with healthy materials, green
products, innovative concepts and energy-efficiency appliances.
All have to comply with criteria established in our [Mission/Vision
11.0) Demonstrations Projects:
Two of the partners have worked on the design, construction and
education of 5 demonstration projects since 1976, each a showcase
of leading-edge technology with an estimated 150,000 visitors. Our
suburban Home/Office, built in 1993-4, using "EcoStuds"
does not use city water, sewer or gas lines. It does not have a
furnace. More features are noted below and on our [Consulting/Plan
Review] page. Our most recent demo project is a small strawbale
municipal EcoOffice Building. Both are considered the leading-edge
benchmarks. Both have won national awards.
12.0) [EcoHome]: Our flagship
project does not use the city's water, sewer or gas lines. It has
no furnace of boiler. It can be visited either in person, or by
a virtual tour (coming soon). See our unique 3D inventory of concepts,
features, materials, products, and appropriate technology for the
new millennium, including a wall mounted translucent solar hot water
collector; 3 types of solar ovens and cookers; a wide variety of
high performance windows (including an R-17 COG window); water,
energy and space saving washer-dryer combination; site built "cool
closet" to bring the free outdoor temperatures inside during
the winter; energy efficient fridge-freezer; barrier free design
features; "bau biologie" furniture; integrated passive
solar greenhouse for food production and water treatment; greywater
irrigation, treatment and reuse; various forms of energy efficient
lighting, including electroluminescence, compact fluorescents, and
LEDs; passive solar heat gain; recycled content and durability;
retrofit strategies and products including insulating curtains;
and a waterless toilet, which serves as the major water conservation
technique, a blue box recycling centre, and as a fertilizer plant.
For more general information click Abstract.
For a more technical summary of the energy, water, garbage and lifestyle
benchmarks, please click [here].
EcoOffice Building: This demonstration project for
environmental and alternative energy technologies for public viewing,
was completed in 2000. This "Municipal
Environmental Education Centre" is meant to promote
and demonstrate the use of sustainable design and construction through
healthy materials, environmental stewardship, green products, appropriate
technology, the many "R"s, resource conservation, and
renewable energy for government, industry and the general public.
It is our fourth ecobuilding demonstration project for the public
since 1976. It recently was awarded a national award by the Federation
of Canadian Municipalities.
This project is believed to be the first municipal project of its
type in Canada. Some of the unique features of this small but integrated
self-sufficient office building include: airtight straw bale wall
construction ("Nebraska style"), shallow foundation (rubble
trench), "Solarwall" solar preheat panels, partial seasonal
earth solar storage, a high efficiency "Lifebreath" HRV,
passive solar heating, solar hot water collectors, solar heated
radiant floor heating system, high performance (i.e. R-17) fiberglass
Duxton windows, rainwater harvesting, a photovoltaic (solar electric)
grid-intertie system, and reused materials.
Partners of this project include: Home Depot, LaFarge Canada, ZyTeck
Building Systems, Plasti-Fab, Pedersen Engineering, Conserval Engineering,
NuTech Energy Systems, Soleno, Dow Chemical Canada Inc., Solar Services,
Tim's ReUsables, National Concrete, LePage/Henkel Canada Corporation,
Xpex Chemical Corporation, Soltek Solar Energy Ltd., Wirsbo Canada,
Chacare Inc., and Can-Cell Industries.
14.0) Strawbale Workshops: Jorg
and Helen Ostrowski started professional work in the strawbale field
in 1979 with the help of the Alberta Agriculture. We located the
Bad Heart church, the oldest surviving strawbale building in Alberta,
and perhaps in Canada. This little church was built in 1954 and
is still in use as a community centre. It has now become a small
pilgrimage for strawbale enthusiasts. Jorg Ostrowski has given strawbale
construction workshops/seminars/tours in Alberta, BC, Saskatchewan
and PEI, including for First Nations in the 3 western provinces.
He has also given various [papers] on strawbale design and construction.
We have provided the opportunity of community workshops on residential
projects (i.e. strawbale homes), commercials projects (i.e. [factory]),
and municipal buildings (i.e. small
office building). Several foreign delegations, including
from Hungary and Mongolia have toured our strawbale work.
15.0) Products: Our reused solar
collectors, CD-ROMs, double strawbale sewing needles and EcoPlans
of sustainable homes will be going on sale as time and resources
allow. If you have any interest in such items, please let us know.
In particular our CDROM project will focus on 3 features of useful
information for the layperson, students, professional, owner-builder,
contractor/builder and renovator: 1) Sustainable Living, 2) Retrofit
Technology, and 3) New Construction, all centred around the Alberta
Sustainable Home/Office, and grounded in 27 years of "real
world" experience, company goodwill, industry contacts.
16.0) Media Events: Our EcoHome
has been reported in about 100 articles and media events, both national
and International, including many appearances on CBC radio and TV,
CTV, Access TV, Globe & Mail, Calgary Herald, etc. It has appeared
in several text books and in a few international journals. Please
check our Calendar of Events by clicking [here].
17.0) Walking the Talk: We try
to practice what we preach. Two of the partners live in a sustainable
home. Our office is sustainable. By daily use and experience, we
learn first hand the advantages and limitations of the ideas, features,
products and materials that we espouse in our professional work.
We try to lead a conserver lifestyle both at home and at work.
18.0) Theory versus Reality: Good
projects start by with useful information, vision and research as
a start. But talk is cheap and easy. Good projects depend on real
world clients transforming words into action, and staying true to
their commitments to sustainable design and construction. Projects
must remain modest in their ecological footprint, without becoming
Epicurean. Design should be easy, though at times, laborious and
convoluted. Construction is key, and unless the professional consultant
spends enough time at the construction site, understanding the challenges
and constantly searching for improvements, design remains an ivory
tower exercise, deprived of pragmatic realities. Then the inhabitants
have to try to live a sustainable lifestyle to see how the features,
details, products, materials perform with real people in actual
time, and how both the lifestyle and project can change to be better
for the next project. A home can function like a sailboat and function
like a miniature biosphere, relying on compassionate respect for
the dynamics of nature, making use of its many real world lessons
and materials. Therefore the formula for long term success is: sustainable
project = research + commitment + design + construction + lifestyle.
19.0) Volunteers/Students: We
have also accommodated the interests and thirst for exciting projects
from many students from various faculties from various Schools of
Higher learning, including Technical Institutes and Universities.
We also have worked with numerous mature volunteers from retired
professionals, career change people, and visionary leaders. Some
of them can be met during our regular [EcoTours]. At the moment,
we are looking for others to help our web/multimedia design team.
If you have computer skills, and would like to be involved in this
field on a volunteer basis, please [click here].
Thank you for having read this
far and for your interest in our work. Please take a moment to send
us a note of your interest.
© Jorg Ostrowski 2003. All rights reserved.