As of Summer 2012
Ecosa Design Studio
is no longer
accepting new projects.
Please see the
"Contact Us" page
for more information.
Thank you.

Knowledge & Expertise


Ecosa Design Studio has a unique capacity to bring together all the best aspects of designing for the built environment. We not only have experience with the fullest range of environmentally-responsible ideas, strategies, systems, products and materials, but we also have experience with rich, experiential award-winning architectural design. Furthermore, with Managing Principal/Architect Tom Hahn also having experience as a Licensed Contractor, we bring unique experience with not only the design, but the actual construction and costs of alternative and environmental construction methods. In addition, we bring a strong commitment to the quality and integrity of the process of architecture, seeing it as our professional responsibility to be honest, prudent and exacting with our clients' resources, as well as the planet's.

We call this overall approach "designing with respect to the four E's"...
Environment, Experience, Economy, and Ethics.

General concepts, ideas and strategies that we have experience with and bring to all our work:

  • Complex and Living Systems Principles
    (based on the work of Fritjof Capra and Ian McHarg)
  • Gaia Theory and Principles
    (based on the work of James Lovelock and Lynn Margulies)
  • Ecological Footprint Concepts and Principles
    (based on the work of Mathis Wackernagel and William Rees)
  • Life-Cycle Analysis and Embodied Energy Concepts (Cradle-to-cradle)
    (based on the work of Ray Cole)
  • Organic Design (as a process, not just an aesthetic)
    (based on the mid-period work of Frank Lloyd Wright)
  • Biomimicry and Natural Design Principles
    (based on the work of Janine Benyus and Ian McHarg)
  • Living Machines and Landscapes
    (based on the work of John Todd, John Tillman Lyle)
  • Integrated Environmental Building Systems
    (based on the work of Ken Yeang, Richard Rogers, and Renzo Piano)
  • Structural Integration and Efficiency
    (based on the work of Frei Otto, Santiago Calatrava, Wacslaw Zawlewski, and Eladio Dieste)
  • Efficient Spatial ("not-so-big") Design Principles
    (based on the work of Sarah Susanka, George Christensen
  • Humanistic Design Principles
    (based on the work of Christopher Day, Christopher Alexander, and David Pearson)
  • Anthroposophic Design Principles
    (based on the work of Rudolf Steiner and Ton Alberts)
  • Environmental Economics and Ethics
    (based on the work of Paul Hawken, Ray Anderson and Charles Kilbert)

More precisely, with respect to the Environment and passive and active strategies in the areas of Energy-, Water-, and Materials-Efficiency, we have specific knowledge and experience with the following:


  • Passive Strategies
    - Climate-specific orientation, zoning, and landscape design
    - Calculated daylight control, including shading device design, and daylighting mechanisms
    - Natural ventilation including cross- and stack-ventilation, as well as wing walls and
    - Heat flow resistance strategies including super-insulation, mass "flywheel" effects, radiant barriers, thermal decoupling and high-performance glazing
  • Active Strategies
    - High-thermal performance natural building systems including straw-bale, and poured and unit earthen systems such as terracrete, adobe, light-clay straw (liechtlehmbau) and cob
    - High thermal performance manufactured building systems including ICF's, SIP's, and insulated CMU
    - High-performance multi-function cooling and heating systems
    - Integrated solar and evaporative mechanical systems
    - Zoned HVAC control systems
    - Radiant cooling technologies (and radiant heating, where appropriate)
    - Engineered integrated HVAC and domestic water heating
    - Heat recovery ventilators and exhaust fan systems
    - Solar-electric systems including crystalline and amorphic photovoltaic systems
    - Solar-thermal systems including domestic water heating and solar chimneys
    - Specific and efficient electric lighting design, fixtures and lamps
    - Efficient appliances and automobiles

Water Efficiency

  • Passive Strategies
    - Native, naturalized and otherwise low-water-use landscape design
    - Non-mechanical rainwater harvesting and reuse systems
  • Active Strategies
    - Low-water use irrigation systems including above- and underground drip
    - Graywater harvesting and reuse systems
    - Low- and Ultra-Low-water use plumbing fixtures and appliances
    - Alternative wastewater treatment systems, including fiber-mounds and wetlands
    - Rainwater collection, filtration and reuse systems

Materials Efficiency

  • Passive Strategies
    - "Making the most with the least" design strategies
    - Zero- and minimum-finish building systems including sandblasted CMU, finished concrete
    - Zero- and low-maintenance finish systems including integral color cementitious stucco, concrete countertops
    - Reused and recovered building materials including barnwood, doors, windows, plumbing fixtures
    - Recyclable-content materials and products, including metal roofing/siding, metal studs,
    - Recycled flyash content cementitious materials, including concrete, CMU, stucco
  • Active Strategies
    - Natural building systems including straw-bale, earth, bamboo
    - Natural material finish systems including bamboo, wheatboard
    - Recycled-content materials and products, including carpet, siding, tile, plastic composite lumber
    - Engineered wood structural systems
    - Non-toxic and low-toxicity materials and products
    - Zero-VOC paints and other finishes
    - Formaldehyde-free interior construction materials
    - Non-wood, non-toxic natural materials cabinets and millwork
    - Insulated Concrete Forms (ICF) building systems
    - Structural Insulated Panel (SIP) building systems