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E-M:/ DVDs on strawbale and solar for the residential builder

Enviro-Mich message from jmgear <jmgear@acd.net>

*Learning to Build (With Straw) and Power (With Solar) a Home by DVD*

By Katherine Salant
Saturday, April 8, 2006; F05

If you will sit for several hours to read a book about home building, will you sit for several hours to watch a book-length DVD on the subject? After watching "Building With Awareness" and "Green Building," two recent DVDs, I would say yes.

I predict that DVDs will make an important contribution to the education of both home builders and homeowners because so many aspects of building can be confusing when reduced to words but straightforward when you can see them.

"Building With Awareness: The Construction of a Hybrid Home" is the work of Ted Owens, who is both a filmmaker and a designer. For the viewer, it is a happy combination. Owens not only knows his subject well, but also knows how to present it in a way that will capture his audience and hold its attention for two hours and 42 minutes -- the running time of his DVD.

. . .

The second DVD, "Green Building: Your Edge in the Home Building Marketplace," is a series of four taped lectures produced by What's Working, a green building consulting firm based in Boulder, Colo.

The first two lectures are given by David Johnston, the president of What's Working and a green building expert, the third lecture is by indoor air expert Mark Richmond, and the fourth is by mold expert David Berman. Each lecture is about two hours -- a bit long -- but they are well edited and the speakers are entertaining. I also found that watching a lecture on a DVD has its upside -- you can rewind the disc as many times as you need to absorb all the material and take notes.

The lectures were prepared for a professional audience, but a nonprofessional who knows some home construction basics will find them easy to follow.

In Johnston's discussions about home building, he touches on many aspects of construction that homeowners never think about -- including the waste stream generated by the construction of a new house. A 2,000-square-foot, conventionally built house produces about 13 tons of waste. There is so much reusable material, you can go dumpster diving and build an entire house with it, as Johnston's friend did in Colorado. Despite this amusing anecdote, it's no joke -- nationally, construction waste accounts for about 12 percent of our entire waste stream. But, Johnston says, as much as 60 percent of the construction waste could be recycled if the builder took the time./. . ./

The two DVDs are available through book stores and at Web sites that sell DVDs. /Questions or queries? Katherine Salant can be contacted athttp://www.katherinesalant.com./

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