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EKOTECTURE by Lee Porter Butler February 11, 1993 This is an outline for a book Lee proposed to publishers at the time…. no one bit…Amazing, clear information…

In all probability, the building you are living in, at this very moment is causing disease in you without your even knowing it.  It lacks oxygen and the intensity of full spectrum natural lighting required by every animal retina in order for the organism to remain immune to predators.  Many of the modern materials used in the furnishings and finishes of virtually every home in the industrialized world produce “off gassing”, which means that they are evaporating right into your body.  These tiny compounds of petroleum polymers lodge in our blood vessels blocking free flow of neutrons and blood circulations, causing paralysis, numbness, headaches, dizziness, nausea, blindness, vomiting, and even death.

The first three astronauts, who spent several days in a totally man made environment almost died from the gas offed by the insulation on the electric wiring and cockpit panels.  The composite wood boards used in cabinets, furniture, upholstery, and even clothing.

In addition, we all are eating foods grown on depleted soils which grow produce deficient in vital minerals and vitamins.  The land and the food is also infused with central nervous system toxins such as residues from chemical fertilizers, and pesticides which cause disease, cancer, and death.

Because of fossil fuel combustion acid rain is killing our green mantle of oxygen producing trees, corrupting and killing our food chain, grasses, algae, and the air we breathe.  All of this is known to cause disease, heart attack, cancer, and death.

In many locations of the world, the groundwater is polluted with these same PCBs and other carcinogens.  Radio-active waste stored in caves has been discovered to be leaking into the deep underground water aquifers which connect the global water system.  Misuse and waste of water has depleted the levels of these giant aquifers until many scientists believe we face eminent danger of restricted use and rationing.  What we have seen so far, in terms of environmental impact from world civilization is nothing.  Most of the world’s population is living in the pre-industrialized cultures.  When all of these people demand their share of the global resources, either we have to shift to a base of more abundant resource or we go to war.

I have spent my professional life devoted to the development or discovery of practical, economical, simple solutions which really work without negative side effects.  The key to understanding how these ideas work is to understand that it is better to eliminate underlying causes of problems than it is to treat or try and eliminate the symptoms of the problem.  The best example of this concept is my own invention:  The Gravity Geo-thermal Envelope.  With this series of engineering equations, I can predict the temperature of any structure, anywhere on earth, during any climate conditions you wish to specify.  Not only can I predict the temperature at any moment, I can control the temperature, up or down, over any range you desire,  during any climate conditions.  i can accomplish this an a large building, or a small one.  there are no limitations to material or style.  Every factor fits within a variable equation which can be intelligently manipulated for the desire end result.

The result is a building which always stays the healthy temperature you desire without a heating or cooling system and without any effort on your part, by design.  It could do this automatically or at the touch of your hand.  It is silent.  it never breaks.  It does not require servants to operate, maintenance men to maintain or purveyors to provide resources beyond your immediate physical control.  At the same time I would design your home to maintain ideal oxygen content for maximum vitality, energy and health.  It would also contain other friendly herbs and spices which would ward off insects.


Ekotecture is defined as the functional integration of architecture, utilty engineer and agriculture with the forces of nature, (gravity/geothermal solar) within a single buildingor neighborhood design, eliminating mechanical systems, fuel consumption, maintenance, pollution and human labor.

The development of the concept of EKOTECTURE provide us with the most powerful tool ever developed since the development of the use of fire itself!

Ekose’a living intelligent architecture or what I now call EKOTECTURE, by design, provides for the total health, comfort and security of its inhabitants, using the universal forces of nature, eliminating the need for fire, friction, fossil and nuclear fuels and their cost in producing power.



EKOTECTURE replaces the existence of centralized fuel consuming infrastructure with a decentralized non-pollution, universal energy driven infrastructure.  This eliminates the high cost of umbilical “lines”, the cost of maintaining them and the cost of owning the property they must travel over.  This also eliminates “interuption of services” due to acts of God, accidents or acts of war.


Made from a light weight floating fireproof concrete, EKOTECTURE structures resist damage and failure resulting from insects, rot, fire, storm and flood damage.  This significantly lowers insurance premiums, maintenance, and life cycle costs of ownership.


EKOTECTURE developments may even float on water, reducing the area of forrest and wetlands which are destroyed by the pressure for new development.  With more than 2/3of the earth’s surface being water, this opens up vast new areas for development near existing urbancores.


By relying on abundant widespread indigenous earth resources and materials for its own structure EKOTECTURE does not demand that we harvest the world’s dwindling forest reserves.


Mass produced modular components lower the cost of development and reduce building assembly time.


  1. Chemically pure and electrically balanced sparkling clear delicious water.
  2.  Oxygen rich, electrostatic-ally balanced fresh, healthy air.
  3. Direct current, low voltage electricity which is safe for household use.
  4. Organic fertilizer which can be sold or used to grow your own food and flowers.
  5.  Natural methane gas, which can be used for cooking or space heating.
  6. Fresh, nutritious, delicious food, beneficial herbs and spices, beautiful flowers with stimulating fragrances.
  7. Direct full spectrum natural lighting to stimulate the immune system and reduce the chances of psychological depression

EKOTECTURE provides human beings with a healthy environment BY DESIGN for the first time.  Every space in every building, no matter how small or unimportant, is provided with direct and full spectrum sunlight and “fresh”, negatively charged oxygen rich moving air, eliminating the so called “sick building syndrome”.  Mold mildew, fungus, bacteria, and viruses can not grow under these healthy conditions.


The recent increased attention being given to”Sick building syndrome” is only the tip of an iceberg.  Double blind medically supervised studies have repeatedly shown that 88% of all buildings fail in almost every respect, in providing the conditions necessary for optimum human health.  The following factors have been determined to be critical to human health.

  1.  Light
  2. Electromagnetic Fields
  3. Electrostatic charges in air.
  4. Off gassing of materials
  5. Oxygen and healthy bacteria content in air.
  6. Cold Air Drafts and Cold surfaces


Sunlight contains what is known as full spectrum light, i.e. that is all the frequencies and wavelengths that come naturally from the sun.  When this enters the retina, it charges the immune system, stimulating the production of Vitamin D and others while reducing mental depression.  it has been common folk knowledge for years that people who get moderate amounts of sunshine are healthier than those who stay indoors all the time.


Lines which deliver power to our neighborhoods carry 250,000 volts of alternating current.  That is stepped down to 220 volts in order to enter our homes.  We use only one leg of that 2 leg system for 110 volt lines within our home.  That voltage and the power of the current those lines carry is strong enough to shock and kill.  The electro-magnetic waves given off by those lines inside our house walls bend and twist our brain waves, interrupting our thought processes and affecting the internal electro chemical balance of our bodies.


The presence of so many motors and electrical appliances running at these high voltages, impart positive electrical charges to every particle and ions of air inside our houses.  These particles touch our skin and draw down the negative charges inside our bodies.  This imbalance destroys our immune system’s and causes disease, headaches, dizziness, etc…


Modern synthetic building materials made from oil evaporate slowly, giving off gasses whose molecules are so tiny that they can enter our bloodstream inside our lungs, yet are too large to pass through our brain.  Lodged in the blood vessels of our brain, they cause pressure on parts of our brain nerve endings, causing blindness, dizziness, nausea, blurred vision and headaches along with immune deficiency disease.


Oxygen, as most of us learned in school, is the fuel on which our body runs.  It is the only thing we can not do without for more than a couple of minutes.  As the oxygen level goes up or down, so does our feelings of well being and euphoria.  With low levels of oxygen, headaches, dizziness, fatigue and exhaustion are common in all humans.  Our bodies also depend on whole cultures of beneficial bacteria which live in nature but often can not be found in “civilized” and developed areas.  By combining human beings with plants inside our structures, EKOTECTURE creates a symbiotic balance between plants and animal needs.


Physical comfort and health is affected by air movement across the surface of the skin.  Too much air movement or movement at a cold temperature evaporates moisture from the body, dehydrating and cooling the body causing discomfort and stress.  As the body temperature drops, the immune system weakens and allergies appear.  Consistent drafts can trigger a constant imbalance in the body’s equilibrium, prompting a continuous allergic reaction.  Exterior walls presenting cold surfaces to the interior can also absorb body heat, producing the same results.  Conventional architecture without envelope walls invite cold drafts and cold exterior surfaces, no matter how they are designed.


Our culture is so addicted to the ritual and process of using fire, we can’t easily visualize living without it.  The obtaining of fire, in ours or any culture, is and has been a complex series of physical actions, movements, and/or negotiations and contracts (WORK).  Eliminating fire eliminates the needs for all that action.  It saves time, effort and money, (work).  By eliminating our dependence on fire, we eliminate  “work” itself as a necessity of basic survival.  This freedom from struggle runs counter to the teachings of many of the world’s great religions and makes the whole concept of EKOTECTURE more difficult to understand.

The concept of eliminating work itself also undermines the belief systems of our economic and political rulers who rely on guilt and fear of starvation and death to keep the “sheep like workers” afraid of not returning to their daily jobs of mundane drudgery and physical struggle.

Outline of chapter 2 requires 6 pages  EKOTECTURE SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITIES


The objects of this book is to educate the reader as to the basic opportunities existing within the industry to re-build the earth’s outdated structures along the lines suggested here-in.  Existing buildings are really little more than glorified caves.  Early caves were actually healthier places to sleep, as long as one received plenty of sunshine during the day.  The modern medical argument that we are creatures of the light and need sufficient natural (full spectrum) light to maintain a healthy immune system has been shown to be true in the text after test including double blind tests.  Most modern buildings are barely aware of the position of the sun and or our need for its direct light.  EKOTECTURE’s purpose is to change that.

Everyone on earth is engaged in an activity to support themselves so they can live.  Without knowing it, (unconsciously) we are all participating in the desertification and destruction of the earth.  We are clearing, digging, and pumping the earth’s treasures and its resources.  We are killing the earth by our means of living on it.  Ours is a trend which has been developing for 10,000 years or more.  The good news is that we are now ready to bring it into our conscious mind and try to stop it.  That’s where the profit and the economy come in.  The most direct and simple way to reverse this ancient trend is to reduce the distance between the source of a commodity or service and the point of consumption.  EKOTECTURE attempts to integrate and produce at the source level, all essentials of survival, a happy family with shelter, food, water, food, water, air, light, flowers, sunshine, clouds and showers.  This is the essence and the goal of EKOTECTURE, to have each built environment produce its own basic necessities, locally, with locally renewable resources.  An EKOTECTURE home would contain included in The Dolphin Dream are hydro and aero ponic industries producing produce for local markets.  Fed by local bio-digestor materials and powered by solar panels, the fresh vegetable production creates employment inside the inner urban core.  By growing produce within walking distance from where it is consumed, then all of the cost (DOLLARS, RESOURCES)) of the refrigeration, transportation, fertilizer and chemicals can be eliminated or rather re-directed towards the needs of this culture.

Included in the economics of such a community would be hydro and airponic industries producing produce for local markets.  Fed by local bio-digestors materials and powered by solar panels, the fresh vegetable production creates employment inside the inner urban core.  By growing produce within walking distance from where it is consumed, then all the cost (DOLLARS, RESOURCES) of the refrigeration, transportation, fertilizer and chemicals can be eliminated or rather redirected towards the needs of the urban poor.


Every community which would hope to sustain itself, must contain a forum in which creative communications can occur.  The center would function as an education and grass roots planning and economic development center for the community and individuals living within the community.  The facility would be run and managed by a combination of local artists, entrepreneurs, or friends of the political administration.  it would provide a venue for the citizen artists and encourage the right of free expression that must be provided every citizen in order for a free society to maintain its harmony, equilibrium.  The goal of The Dolphin Dream Center would be to moderate and minimize the negative effects of ethnic/racial prejudice or egocentrism.  The CCC (Creative Communications Center) would provide the community with a heartcenter, replacing elements lost by the church and family.


For every 100 homes, a glass house food producing company shall be located and provide a source of fresh fruits and vegetables for the neighborhood.  For every 1000 homes, a CCC Creative Communications Center and school for the four arts for the development of local environmental solutions through global environmental awareness.


Buildings shall  contain photovoltaic cells to produce their own direct electrical current using sunlight.

Buildings shall recover and distill all roof and grey water to provide fresh, pure domestic water.

Buildings shall digest sanitary waste to produce methane gas methane gas and organic commercial fertilizer.

Buildings shall produce their own hot water.

Buildings shall deliver natural sunlight to the interior of every room and closet.

Buildings shall deliver fresh oxygenated and conditioned air to every room, 24 hr./day, 365 day/year.

Building shall maintain year round space comfort without mechanical systems or fossil fuels.


Outline of Chapter 3  requires six pages  THE HISTORY OF THE DEVELOPMENT OF EKOTECTURE


As a student of architecture at NC State, Raleigh, N.C. in 1964, I was fortunate to have contact with several teachers who knew and taught with R. Buckminister Fuller.  it was then, that I was introduced to fuller’s World Resource Game, and became familiar with his World Resource Institute.  I was also very fortunate at the time to study with two other giants, Vernon Shogren, and Henry Sanoff.  Their influence on the quality of my liberal education can not be over emphasized.  I owe to them my organized approach to problem solving and my awareness of the critical need for architects to take more responsibility for ecology created by their designs.

Fuller’s World game made it crystal clear to me that  the world was rapidly running out of critical resources on which our entire life style and survival systems were dependent.  believing that we did not have that much time.  I dropped out of school for the 3rd and last time in 1966 and began doing solar research and developing designs for a sustainable home, the home I would build in Medon.


The Medon, Tennessee home was a culmination of 7 years of research, and design effort.  It contained 27 rooms, 14 different levels, 5 stories with 4 waterfalls, fish pools and an indoor swimming pool.  110,000 cubic feet, 11,000 square feet, the home contained a 3500 sq. ft. greenhouse with 3/4 of the rooms facing into that space.

The first winter I lived in the home, an ice storm knocked out all electric power for 20 miles around.  Awaking to the sound of crashing trees, I explored the various levels of the structure.  I was shocked to discover that the very top level in the greenhouse was 180 degrees Faherenheit.  I, intuitively, understood at that moment, that if I could explain how the space came to be so warm under those icy conditions and with outside temperature at 20 degree F, I could design any structure to maintain any temperature (within limits) during any climate conditions.


For two years, I analyzed numbers and mastered the equations of thermodynamics and the properties of building materials, heat transfer, solar isolation, specific heats, etc., etc…  Since the developer we had been servicing went bankrupt, I put my entire staff of five architects to work helping to explain what I had observed that icy winter morning.  Although we had discovered many interesting relationships in our research and finally were able to explain how the Medon home maintained that remarkable temperature during such extreme weather.  We did not have a clue as to how to design any building to maintain any temperature during any weather pattern.

Being nearly out of money and on the verge of giving up the search for a practical solution, I retreated to my favorite place in the woods one day.  I was frustrated and exhausted and wanted to turn my attention to fee paying commissions.  As I lay my head on the ground at the base of a large Pine Tree, I looked up and admiring the boughs swaying in the wind against the white clouds, I asked, “Why does man go such struggles to survive and this tree does nothing?  Why does it seem so elegant and fully supported while we are lost and frazzled?  At that moment, a picture appeared in my head, more in a stat of equilibrium with nature, man must build his shelter to be in equilibrium with nature.  it was simply a matter of thermal mass, solar orientation and insulation against the elements.  The idea of the envelope was born.  I ran back to the office and made a drawing of the invention and had my associates witness it.  This was April 1975.


No one in Tennessee was interested in the “envelope” as plans were underway for the construction of a new Nuclear power plantless than 50 miles from where I was born.  They believed I had lost my mind, wanting to eliminatefossil fuels and mechanical systems.  My wife and I packed the children and our camping gear in the trunk of our BMW and took off on a sabbatical without a destination in mind.  In less than one month I found myself sitting across from the Dean of the School of Environmental design at UC Berkeley, explaining my research and my invention.  Within a week, we had rented an apartment in san Francisco, where I would remain for more than 10 years.


In 1978, I founded Ekose’a Inc., in San Francisco, California.  A year later, responding to increasing mail requests for more information about our work, we published this book Ekose’a Homes.  As more books and standard plans were sold, more homes were built and we received more media coverage in newspapers, magazines, and television.  By the spring of 1981, we had sold more than 45,000 books and 15,000 sets of working drawings, as well as 2000 modified custom architectural services contracts.  We could only estimate, but appeared that thousands of Ekose’a Homes were under construction at that time.


Suddenly, in April 1981, no more articles appeared in any media anywhere.  Almost simultaneously with thsi even we the rapid rise in interest rates, until by June, there were 21%.  These were the Reagan years, which later became known as the end of alternative energy tax credits and the end of American consciousness of ecology and social responsibility.


the motivation for this book and our new corporate efforts to commercialize the patents described herein comes as a result of our perception that the new administration reflects a major shift in American consciousness.  if America is indeed ready to exmine its motives for economic expansion and commercial development, and if it is ready to make conscious choices FOR the global environment, we expect this work will help speed the process.

Outline of Chapter 4 requires 33 pages  EVALUATING THE FIRST GENERATION OF PROTOTYPES

There are thousands of homes scattered throughout north America and Camada which have been occupied for the past 12 or so years.  They have yielded much valuable information, validating the performance of the “envelope” design.



10 designs will require 2 pages for each design  a total of 20 pages


Our interviews with 12 year residents will show that the Ekose’a greenhouse envelope home is much healthier and much more comfortable than a conventional home.  For straters, conventional homes have no provision for the introduction of oxygen.  They are also affected by drafts and the positive ions created by mechanical systems for heating and cooling.  requires 5 pages


The homes received quite a lot of attention from the scientific community.  Some of it from prestigious governmentlaboratories such as Brookhaven, Lawrence Livermore and some of  it from Universities and individuals.  We will present abstracts of these reports, some of the graphs and all of the conclusions.  This requires about 8 pages.

Outline of Chapter Five  requires 12 pages


Ekose’a structures are designed to add years to your life and maximum enjoyment of the time you have left by improving the quality of the light you see, the air you breathe, the water you drink and try regulating the comfort levels of humidity and temperature you experience.  The buildings help to releive the symprtons of allergies and respiratory illnesses by eliminating odors, dust, mold, pollen and other forms of off gassing and indoor air pollution.  Ekose’a structures provide all of these advantages nd more without polluting the earth’s natural environment.

The Ekose’a structure uses gravity to move hot and/or cold air to maintain it’s own year round interior comfort without fossil fuels or mechanical systems.  A plant filled solarium cleans the air while producing oxygen and vital fragrances.  The structures contain integrated component parts for producing hot and cold water, safe low voltage direct electrical current, natural gas produced by bio-digestor which also process sanitary waste into a high quality organic commercial fertilizer.

How does the heating cycle work?

The multiple skin envelope design functions to pump from deep in the earth, combines with daily diffuse solar insolation absorbed directly through the outer windows (even on overcast days) is enough to keep the average envelope temperature well above deep ground temperatures, allowing the entire structure to thermally “experience” actually being underground.  By reducing the total heat loss through the inner wall to such a small amount, the ambient heat sources inside of the average building is sufficient to maintain the temperatures in the 70degree-80 degree F.

How does the cooling cycle work? 

The cooling cycle uses a gravity solar chimney to pump air through the structure.  First, the air is drawn through a dehumidifier, removing the water vapor.  Then it is drawn through underground cooling tubes where itn is cooled to ground temperature.  next it is drawn through an evaporative cooler element where it is re-humidified and cooled before being drawn through individual rooms.

Where does the fresh water come from?

The solar evaporative condenser distills all grey, roof and selected ground water to become pure drinking water which is collected and stored in the foundation, i.e., underground lightweight concrete tanks.

Where does the electricity come from?

Arrays of photo-voltaic cells (manufactured by others) built into the roof of the structure, convert direct electric current.  This current is stored in very large, very deep cycle wet cell tanks (batteries) also contained in the foundation of the structure.

What happens to the sanitary waste water?

The “black water” is heated by solar heat, plus the exothermic reaction of its own decomposition.  This heat causes the rapid breakdown of organic matter giving off methane gas.  The gas is drawn off and compressed into another storage tank located within the foundation.  The by product of the process is a rich organic fertilizer which can be used locally by homeowners and or farmers alike.

What about lighting?

Low voltage direct current high intensity full spectrum task oriented lighting systems would replace all existing high voltage, alternating current, unbalanced spectrum, inefficient overhead lighting systems.  This approach radically reduces the total power required for lighting.  The structures will also make extensive use the new optical fiber skylights and interior transoms for moving light from room to room.

What about hot water?

Hot water will be produced using vacuum tube, gravity solar heat enines (manufactured by others) to produce hot water, even on overcast days.  High capacity underground storage tanks will insure continuous availability of hot water, even during overcast periods of several days.

What about refrigeration and small appliances?

Refrigerators and other appliances are available in low voltage direct current odels and carry longer warranties.  It is possible to provide higher alternating voltages upon demand where required.












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