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Build Green

David Suzuki reports on a wide range of green buildings, from large community developments to mini-homes.

A printer-friendly version of this page 44 minutes
Closed Captioned

Directed by Paula Salvador
Produced by CBC's "The Nature of Things"
Editor: Ed Balevicius
Director of Photography: Maurice Chabot
Writer: Paula Salvador
Executive Producer: Michael Allder
Hosted by David Suzuki

"A tour de force, showing beautiful design and addressing tough issues with clearly explained, implementable solutions." Alexis Karolides, AIA, LEED AP, Principal, Rocky Mountain Institute
In a refreshing hour, Build Green shows how by taking advantage of the sun, the wind, and the rain, as well as dirt, straw and waste, homeowners and developers can reduce their personal contribution to climate change by building structures that are healthier for the occupants, economical to run, and even fun to live in.

David Suzuki sets out across Canada to discover the latest in green construction. On British Columbia's Salt Spring Island, Suzuki visits the rammed earth house of rock star Randy Bachman. Rammed earth is a traditional building technique that, with modern advances, has become viable and popular in many different climate regions. The technique minimizes site disturbance, the importation of construction materials and and the use of toxic substances.

In Build Green, Canada's best architects show us round their latest green projects. From retrofitting an aging Montreal housing complex with state-of-the-art sustainable energy systems, to laying up hay for strawbale houses, to building transportable "mini-homes" with their own small power plant, Build Green takes a close look at the materials and technologies we'd be foolish not to adopt as standard practice in construction.

Grade Level: 7 - 12, College, Adult
US Release Date: 2008     Copyright Date: 2007
DVD ISBN: 1-59458-761-2

"Bravo! This green building feature is a tour de force, showing beautiful design and addressing tough issues with clearly explained, implementable solutions. David Suzuki discusses all the most important factors of green building, not just environmentally benign new home design, but also how to deal with revitalizing inner cities-even former industrial sites, what to do in the suburbs, how to retrofit the vast stock of existing buildings, how to live well but small enough that our population won't overtax the earth, how to re-think urban planning with density, open space, and alternatives to driving, how to bring nature into every environment, even the city high-rise, and how to create mutual benefit between industries by turning 'waste' products into valuable resources. After watching this, I am inspired-forget doom and gloom, let's roll up our sleeves, be humble and have fun while building green!"
Alexis Karolides, AIA, LEED AP, Principal, Rocky Mountain Institute

"Dr. Suzuki has done it again! Build Green is an understandable scientific look at some ancient building techniques - with a modern twist - sure to provoke more interest in sustainable living. This is an excellent overview of the big world of Green and Natural Building and it is great to see a presentation with applicable examples that range from tiny footprints to large-scale community developments. Additionally refreshing was seeing that these natural building techniques, oftentimes perceived to be dominated by the 'crunchy granola types,' are being accepted and further developed by some very forward-thinking communities and design professionals - at all levels."
Larry Santoyo, Director and Senior Planner, EarthFlow Design Works - a Permaculture Design Co.

"Suzuki takes us through several excellent examples of the right direction in Build Green. Although 'green' is hitting mainstream with a strong message, there is still a great need for actual examples and stories of measurable results from early adaptors who have taken the plunge. Whether one is 'greening' an outdated building like the Montreal urban housing complex, or trying something new such as energy-saving rammed earth or strawbale building, or deciding you can live with less square footage, the build green direction is clearly where we need to be headed as a society. David Suzuki's Build Green is both inspiring and informative."
Roy H. Taylor III, RA, LEED AP, Executive Director, Choosing Green, a non-profit educational organization

"This is film is about hope and possibility and humility. It shows dramatically that it is possible to live more lightly on our planet...One of the most important features of the film is the emphasis on retrofitting older subdivisions and apartments - these too can be made greener. This is a very positive message - working with nature and living in nature, even in the city. We will wonder why we haven't thought to live this way all along -- or how did we forget? With humility, we may be able to save the planet and prevent the need for such about-faces in the future."
Polly Walker, MD, Associate Director, Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

"The Nature of Things is a beautifully produced series that successfully shows the exciting side of Green Building. The fun and beauty of such sustainable building methods as rammed earth and straw bale are brought to life and the information is presented in an easily accessible way. I am thrilled to see such a wonderful program bring this important information to the masses."
Eric Corey Freed, Principal, organicARCHITECT, Author, Green Building and Remodeling for Dummies

"Informative...A well-researched film which will inspire viewers to rethink today's construction techniques and understand the urgent need to adopt green construction in order to protect our environment as well as to save energy and money...This objective film will be of interest to environmental studies classes."
School Library Journal

"Well-edited and informative documentary...Recommended for high-school, college and public libraries."
Barbara Butler, University of Oregon Institute of Marine Biology, Educational Media Reviews Online

"Good production values and an inspiring subject make this of interest to public libraries."
Library Journal

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DVDs include public performance rights.

DVD Features
Includes closed captions and scene selection.

Canadian Studies
Climate Change/Global Warming
Green Building
Renewable Energy

Urban Studies
Urban and Regional Planning

Related Titles

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Designing A Great Neighborhood
A model co-housing project, where future residents participate in the design of their own neighborhood.

Edens Lost and Found
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Everything's Cool
Examines the media strategies, on both sides, that have resulted in the US government's failure to take decisive action on global warming.

The Ecological Footprint
Dr. Mathis Wackernagel introduces the Ecological Footprint, a resource accounting tool that measures human demand on the Earth.

Community by Design
Good design of houses and neighborhoods builds community.

The Next Industrial Revolution
Architect Bill McDonough and chemist Michael Braungart bring together ecology and human design.

Planet Neighborhood
The latest in energy saving technology and good design.

Design with the Sun
Take a tour of passive solar homes and buildings.

Building the Brookhaven House
D.O.E.'s prototype passive solar home.

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