This week the Sundance Channel’s Eco friendly series Big Ideas For A Small Planet  takes a look at the construction business. Is there such a thing as ‘green’ buildings?  The opening credits include the rather ominous comment…

Home construction is one of the most wasteful industries in the US, consuming large amounts of natural resources and energy

One man trying to change this is architect Eric Corey Freed. He puts forward a convincing argument that our current building methods make no sense. Architect Michael McDonough agrees, and has created the E-House. This house uses approximately 50% of the energy that a regular building uses.

Buffalo, New York is our next stop, and we get to meet Michael Gainer the founder of Buffalo Reuse. Michael is in the ‘de-construction’ industry. He literally disassembles homes. But not to put into a land fill, but to reuse the materials. It is estimated that 15 billion tons of building materials find their way into the land fills each year. Yet most of this material is reusable, and often times more attractive than the more modern products.

Our final destination is East Los Angeles where we get to meet architect Peter Demaria, who has some pretty interesting concepts. The ubiquitous metal shipping container used to ship goods on ships, trucks, and trains. These containers are incredibly strong, and being made of metal are fireproof.

You can catch Big Ideas For A Small Planet – Live at 9pm Tuesday June/3 on the Sundance Channel.

Simon Barrett 

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