Tom Bender

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For the Welsh footballer, see Thomas Bender. For the American historian, see Thomas H. Bender.

Tom Bender is one of the American founders of the green architecture and sustainability movements.


He began to make his mark in the early 1970s as an architect, author, and strategic planner. He has since been visible also as a writer in the emerging field of green economics. He has also studied and written about traditional architectural philosophies of Asia.

His research, writing, and architectural design since the 1970s has embraced the relatively new field of solar architectural design. Bender was an associate professor of architecture in the University of Minnesota, and the Project Ouroboros he co-directed there with Dennis Holloway in the early 1970s was one of the first demonstrations of "resource-self-reliant houses."

Like Amory Lovins and some other modern analysts, Bender has subscribed to the reduction of energy usage (often through the decrease of on-site energy wastage) rather than a massive increase of centralized energy-production facilities in a society.

Tom Bender moved west to Oregon, where he served as an energy researcher for Governor Tom McCall during the 1970s energy crisis. During that decade, Bender was also the co-editor of RAIN: A Journal of Appropriate Technology, and among the theorists and practitioners of the "green" approach to planning and design, has been a popular essayist since that time.[1] In the 1970s as well, Bender began to develop what he has termed "Factor 10" economics. These are principles of wholistic analysis and evaluation that he asserted will achieve order-of-magnitude improvements in economic effectiveness and sustainability. These principles have received interest from governments of Austria, the Netherlands, and Norway, as well as endorsement by the European Union, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, and UNEP.[2]

He and his wife, Lane deMoll, co-founded NeahCasa.[3][4] He lives on Neahkahnie Mountain.


  • California Affordable Housing Award (1981)[5]
  • Sustainable Community Solutions international competition award (the American Institute of Architects & International Union of Architects, 1993)
  • National Award for Sustainable Design (AIA Architecture and Energy Program, 2001)
  • Top 10 Green Buildings (2002) from the AIA for his Bank of Astoria project in Manzanita, Oregon.[6]

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