The Science of Sustainability

Discuss the "Green Building Revolution" TV story

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In Menlo Park, the headquarters of a multi-billion-dollar foundation is cooled with melting ice instead of air conditioning. In San Jose, a computer company linked its irrigation systems to local weather stations so they automatically adjust as the weather changes. In Los Gatos, a nuns' retreat center uses compacted straw for walls, recycled newspaper for insulation and a roof planted with greenery to keep the building cool. At Sixth and Howard in San Francisco, a new public housing project has solar panels, recycled steel and non-toxic paint. The California Academy of Sciences center will be the next big green building in The City. Nationwide, the amount of new construction certified by the US Green Building Council as meeting strict environmental design standards has increased from 8 million square feet in 2000 to more than 775 million square feet today. Architects are pulling out all the high-tech stops to design buildings that consume less energy and water, use recycled materials, and keep employees healthy and productive with lots of natural light, good ventilation and fewer toxic paints and adhesives. The buildings cost roughly 5 percent more to build, but quickly result in savings on electricity, water, and improved employee productivity. We look at the architects who want to save the world, one blueprint at a time.

Eco-Architecture and Elk Return to the Bay Area (episode #105) airs tonight on QUEST at 7:30pm on KQED 9, and KQED HD, Comcast 709. (full schedule)

You may also view the entire Green Building Revolution story online.

Amy Miller is a Coordinating Producer for television on QUEST, and is the producer seen on camera for this story.

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Category: Engineering, Environment, Partners, Television

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Amy Miller

About the Author ()

Amy Miller is the Supervising Producer and Partner at Spine Films, a boutique independent production company specializing in hard science factual television. Prior to joining the Spine team, Amy worked for six years at KQED (PBS) in San Francisco as the Series Producer of QUEST, a multimedia science and environment series. It was at KQED that she was finally able to merge her lifelong passions for science and storytelling. Originally from Iowa, Amy grew up in Colorado then landed in San Francisco in 1991. She studied biology and film production at University of Colorado and San Francisco State University, and since graduating in 1995, she has worked as a camera assistant, documentary filmmaker, TV producer and correspondent on a variety of cable and public television shows including two other KQED series, "Spark" and "Independent View". For her work in television, she has earned ten regional Emmy awards, two AAAS Kavli Science Journalism awards, and a Society of Professional Journalists Excellence in Journalism Feature Writing award.
  • http://www.sfia.net Fred Stitt, Architect

    It's only recently come to light that building
    construction and operations are responsible
    for over half of our greenhouse gas emissions.
    It's long been known that buildings cause more depletion of natural resources,pollution, respiratory illnesses,and energy waste of any other industry.

    Now something is being done about it and
    there's ample will and resources to reduce
    these negative impacts to a fraction of what
    has been accepted as normal.

    Education lags far behind — the architecture
    schools especially — but your series is bringing
    home the message to a leadership audience and
    I know it'll have an impact. Great job.
    Congratulations.

    Fred Stitt, Architect
    Director San Francisco Institute of Architecture
    http://www.sfia.net

  • http://www.stwoa.com Dan Wodarcyk

    Our firm is dedicating some of its spare time in developing a small exhibition on green design, OR, a small exhibition for small people (children) on green materials, reuse and recycling. It is exciting to live in an area where this philosophy is embraced by the larger community, although maybe not settling into younger curricula. Thanks for your program.

  • http://www.sanjoseca.gov/esd/greenbuilding.html mjcm

    Great Story. It would be great if a show focused on how cities in the bay area are working to reduce the carbon footprint of newly constructed buildings, San Jose being one example.

    San Jose Builds Green
    June 7, 2007 Summit to Feature Green Building Innovations
    The Summit will highlight methods, incentives, rating systems, and case studies to support development of sustainable facilities, focusing on multi-family residential, high-rise, and production homes. There will be in-depth informational presentations on the rewards of green building, the various residential rating systems, how to incorporate green building products and practices, and how to benefit from incentives and financing strategies

  • http://bayareapictures.com Ben

    Nice job on the story, I really appreciated the integration of the live action Broll and CG walk through of the new museum to support the comments being made.

    One small post-production suggestion: Amy was never identified by name or lower 3rd. In fact you have to get to this blog page to see her credited and identified. Since her narration ties the piece together, she should be identified along the way.

    But these are small nits – well done segment, very informative, with excellent production value!

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