We, at Donald Aitken Associates, have dedicated our lives to helping individuals and companies, communities and cities, states and nations, fulfill their missions and goals through policies and buildings that are in harmony and balance with the Earth's natural systems. We believe that we are, thus, contributing to sustainability in the truest sense, while enhancing the quality of life of our clients and the strength and stability of their cultural and economic support systems.
Barbara Harwood, a LEED™ Accredited Professional, consults in all aspects of sustainable and healthy design and architecture, primarily for residential, mixed-use and low-income buildings. Her extensive background as a 20-year builder and designer of high quality, energy-efficient, healthy residences gives her unique insight into the desires of the "cultural creatives," clients who want more than the traditional housing market offers. Her personal knowledge and experience with allergies and chemical sensitivities began a continuing pursuit of knowledge and experience into how buildings can be made healthy and safe for people with those illnesses. Her innovative use of renewable energies, both passive and active solar, in residential buildings was enabled, partially, by partnerships with both TXU Electric and Gas and solar manufacturers. Ms. Harwood brings this experience and knowledge to her present consulting work as co-principal of Donald Aitken Associates.
When Barbara Harwood founded BBH Enterprises, Inc. in 1984, her goal was to provide low-income housing that was energy efficient, an unheard-of-concept at that time. After successfully demonstrating to governments and the public that energy efficiency had to be included as a priority in low-income housing, Harwood, by consumer demand, moved on to found Enviro Custom Homes in 1995. Her principle goal, from that time until the sale of both businesses in 2002, was to build top quality homes, in all price ranges, that are energy efficient and protect people with allergies and chemical sensitivities. Her secondary goal then and her primary goal now, as a national and international consultant, is to make a difference to the future of this planet by changing the way housing is built and powered around the world.
Her companies have won the prestigious 1996, '97, '98, '99, 2000, 2001 and 2002 Energy Value Housing Award from the U.S. Dept. of Energy (DOE) and the NAHB Research Center. In 1996, BBH Enterprises, Inc. was presented one of the 14 national Building Innovation for Homeownership awards from HUD for the Esperanza del Sol project in Dallas' inner city. In 1990, Harwood was awarded the Professional Building "Professional Achievement Award for Public-Private Partnerships" in tribute to her efforts to create innovative partnerships to produce energy efficient, low-income, for-sale and rental housing. In 1998, Enviro Custom Homes was selected to build HOME Magazine's "Earth-Friendly House," featured in a record eight-page article in the November 1999, issue, and two pages each in the December/January and February issues. Homes built by the company have been featured on all four major TV network newscasts, PBS, CNN, and are in re-runs with four episodes on HGTV.
In 1992, BBH Enterprises, Inc. won the Best Low-Income Development in the nation award from the Pillars of the Industry competition of the National Association of Homebuilders, and the Distinguished Appropriate Technology Award from the National Center for Appropriate Technology for their Prince William apartment complex in Oak Cliff, south of Dallas. The same project recently won a DOE award for "outstanding contributions in promoting an environmentally sustainable future." That project serves working families earning less than 50% of median income. In 1994, the Esperanza del Sol community, developed by BBH Enterprises, Inc., was awarded designation as the nation's first E-Seal recipient. E-Seal is a kind of Good Housekeeping Seal for energy efficient homes. This inner-city development of passive solar, resource efficient, energy efficient, single family detached "courtyard-style" housing guaranteed that heating and cooling costs will not exceed $1/day/year round. Applying these same efficiency and solar principles in 1997 to a 2,910 square foot custom house in a Dallas suburb yielded utility bills averaging 56 cents a day.
Harwood is a nationally known speaker on issues of energy efficiency, resource efficiency, indoor air quality and healthy housing, sustainable architecture and development, and sustainable agriculture and gardening. She has keynoted numerous conferences, including the 2001 International Solar Energy Conference in Adelaide, Australia; the 2002 Affordable Comfort conference, the first annual National Green Building Conference, the National Low-Income Energy Consortium, the Michigan Governor's State Energy Conference, and the Vermont Lt. Gov's Annual Affordable Housing Conference, the 2006 Wisconsin Better Buildings Conference; and the 2004 Nebraska Low-Income housing and Energy Efficiency Conference. In 2003, Harwood and Dr. Donald Aitken were U.S. State Department speaker representatives to Germany for Earth Day where Harwood gave two lectures, one in Heidelberg and one in Munich. She has also given lectures to the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners and to all 1800 CEO's of the nation's investor-owned utilities at the annual Edison Electric Conference.
From 2003 to 2010, Harwood and associate Dr. Donald Aitken were members of the faculty and responsible for the sustainable architecture curriculum at the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture in Scottsdale, AZ, a nationally accredited institution.
Past Chairperson of the Energy Committee and past 13-year National Director of the National Association of Homebuilders, Harwood has also served on national boards and commissions under three Presidents, including a recent three-year term on the PATH (Partnership for Advanced Technologies in Housing) Energy Efficient Mortgage Task Force. She was a charter member of the TXU Integrated Resource Planning Commission and, in her capacity as consultant to cities, was instrumental in making the city of Frisco, Texas, the first to adopt a citywide requirement that all new buildings be Energy Star rated. In 1997, she served as a member of the Habitat for Humanity "Green Team" to produce worldwide standards for energy efficient Habitat housing.
Her first book, The Healing House, (Hay House – 1997) was an Amazon best seller. Two manuscripts are in preparation: Awakening to Sustainability: The Power of Spirit, and a biography: One Step Ahead about a Jewish child hidden in Holland during the Holocaust. Harwood wrote the invited chapter, "Gaia's Freshwater, An Oncoming Crisis," in Gaia in Turmoil, (Crist and Rinker, Editors, MIT Press, 2010).