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Iowa Public Television


Building Green

Electrical Installation and Energy Harvesting (#203)

The straw bale walls are wired in, with an eye toward powering healthy systems, and photovoltaic solar panels are installed to provide the house with much of its electrical needs. The home is outfitted with low voltage halogen and fluorescent lighting for ambient beauty with minimal wattage. A home automation system keeps the entire house running efficiently. [26 minutes] Closed Captioning

This episode has not aired in the past few months on Iowa Public Television.

PBS Video

Series Description: Building Green is pioneering and entertaining lifestyle television with an environmentally-conscious twist. The series will inspire homeowners as they discover just how easy, cost-effective and healthy it can be to go green, while dispelling the myth that an environmentally-conscious lifestyle means doing without. Each week host Kevin Contreras invites viewers to explore a range of green building techniques and alternatives, from the eye-popping "Green Extreme" to the green mainstream, while showing us that healthy choices don't mean sacrificing beauty and comfort.

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  • Introduction - The Start of a New Straw Bale House (#101)

    Learn the designs and passions of owner & host Kevin Contreras. Meet the professionals involved. [24 minutes]

  • The Foundation and Slab (#102)

    The green aspects of slabs, are explored laying the foundation for a straw bale, green dream home. [24 minutes]

  • Steel Framework and Roofing (#103)

    Green roofs are the Green Extreme explored and rainwater collection is an Easy Step anyone can do. [24 minutes]

  • Straw Bale Exterior Envelope and Insulation (#104)

    These building blocks are a more energy efficient alternative made from a farmer's waste material. [24 minutes]

  • Doors, Windows and Eaves (#105)

    Focuses on using wood wisely and designing windows and doors for natural light and airflow. [21 minutes]

  • Exterior Siding (Plaster) and Window Sills (#106)

    Natural earth and lime plasters cover the straw bales, using low embodied energy products. [28 minutes]

  • Interior Siding (Plaster) and Paint (#201)

    The focus shifts to interior beauty and indoor air quality. Natural earth and Gypsum plasters provide a permeable skin that is warm and beautiful, and allows the straw bales to 'breathe,' and is free of VOCs, helping the house's residents breathe easier, too. Healthy paints and stains also provide beauty without toxic fumes. [27 minutes]

  • Floors (Concrete and Wood), Closets (#202)

    The high content fly ash concrete floors, created in episode 2 are stained with nontoxic stain. On the second floor, repurposed wood from an old sheep barn is also stained naturally. Healthy carpet is installed in one room. All floors have radiant tubing for heating under foot. Healthy plywood and prefab steel tool cabinets make for great closets. [27 minutes]

  • Plumbing, Water Treatment, Solar Heating and Cooling (#204)

    Solar panels feed power to a super-efficient boiler that serves domestic needs for hot water from the tap as well as the radiant floor heating system. Techniques for running plumbing through straw bale walls are covered. Cooling is accomplished naturally, with the help of windows in the stair tower cupola that open up automatically to allow heat to escape on hot days. [25 minutes]

  • Landscape and Water Conservation (#205)

    A rainwater collection system is installed to collect water in underground tanks for a garden. [27 minutes]

  • Interior Furnishings and Cabinetry (#206)

    Kevin chooses sustainable furniture, upholstered with natural fabrics for a smart & beautiful home. [27 minutes]

  • Construction Review, Cleaning Green, Party to Celebrate (#207)

    In this wrap up of the season, Kevin opens his doors to visitors and reflects on green topics. [28 minutes]

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