Season One Episodes

Please enjoy these full episodes from the PBS-aired television series,?Building Green.

EPISODE 1 – INTRODUCTION TO “BUILDING GREEN”Introduction to Building Green, where we meet the owner/host, Kevin Contreras and his father.? Kevin shares building ideas with his father in his quest for a straw bale home, and we meet experts who tell us what it means to build green, and that it’s possible to find products that are healthy and stylish.? The importance of preparation and green deconstruction are covered, along with site preparation and orientation of the house for maximum solar gain.


EPISODE 2 – THE FOUNDATION AND SLABBeauty, health and economy are under foot. Everything from foundations to earthen and concrete floors is covered.? Emphasis is placed on the greening of concrete with the use of fly ash, a coal burning byproduct, and radiant floor heating.


EPISODE 3 – STEEL FRAMEWORK AND ROOFINGThe steel framework that gives the house its earthquake protection is erected.? The house is then given a steel roof to protect the bales during installation and serve as the collector for the rainwater catchment system.


EPISODE 4 – STRAW BALE EXTERIOR ENVELOPE AND INSULATIONThe star of the house is straw bales, and their tremendous environmental and health properties.? Bale stacking and trimming, and preparation for windows and doors is covered.? Where bales are impractical for insulation, recycled blue jean insulation is used.? It’s about building a beautiful mansion from a farmer’s waste material and post consumer waste to create an envelope that is natural, permeable and maintains healthy indoor air quality.


EPISODE 5 – DOORS, WINDOWS AND EAVESUsing wood wisely and designing for sunlight and airflow are the focus of episode 5.? It’s about using wood from Forestry Stewardship Council managed forests and reusing old structures.? Wood recycled from an old sheep barn provides material for simple, custom windows and doors, set into steel framing in the bales.


EPISODE 6 – EXTERIOR SIDING (PLASTER) AND WINDOW SILLSNatural earth and lime plasters to cover straw bales are the emphasis of episode 6, using natural, low embodied energy products to build a skin that is strong, durable and breathable.? Poured limestone windowsills are added for the perfect compliment to the plastered straw bale walls.


EPISODE 7 – INTERIOR SIDING (PLASTER) AND PAINTNatural earth and Gypsum plasters, provide a permeable skin for health warmth and beauty on interior walls.? Healthy paints and stains provide beauty without toxic fumes.


EPISODE 8 – FLOORS (CONCRETE AND WOOD), CLOSETSHigh content fly ash concrete floors are stained with nontoxic stain for the first floor. Repurposed wood from an old wool barn becomes the second floor that is stained naturally. Healthy carpet is installed in one room. All floors have radiant tubing for heating under foot. Healthy plywoods and prefab steel tool cabinets make for great closets, stained naturally.



Proper wiring for health precedes the installation of electric wiring in bale walls and the photovoltaic solar panels that provide the house with much of its electrical needs.? The home is outfitted with low voltage halogen and fluorescent lighting for lighting beauty with minimal wattage.? A home automation system keeps the entire house running efficiently.


A solar heated panel water is installed to feed a super efficient boiler that serves domestic and radiant floor heating system.? Techniques for plumbing in bales are covered as is radiant floor heating for the most efficient, comfortable heat.? Cooling is accomplished with windows in the stair tower cupola that open automatically to allow heat to escape on hot days.


Beautiful landscaping for minimal maintenance and watering is installed over gray water lines that send all shower and vanity water to drain directly into the garde, creating a beautiful, tropical section of landscape that doesn’t use an ounce of public water.? Rainwater collection in underground tanks to water garden.? A permaculture expert discuses the next steps and a better way to landscape.



Antiques are found to be used for all vanities, some doors and the coat closet.? A spectacular, high end Italian designer kitchen cabinets, built with the environment in mind, is installed.? Healthy furniture with natural fabrics that are beautiful and healthy ae found to create beauty while.



Complete wrap up of the entire season.? A visit from Zem Joaquin to see our results.? Sloan Barnett visits to talk about cleaning products.? We have a party to celebrate the finish of the project, and people recall the experience and comment on the finished product.? Intro to the future of green building and green living.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>