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ABOUT THE FILM
ABOUT THE FILM
Show Transcript

INTRODUCTION SEQUENCE: PROVING GROUNDS

(Opens with a montage of current grid imagery, and then glimpses of innovative technology)

Sandy Wiggins:
Buildings are HUGE consumers of energy, … 70% of the electricity in the United States, … and as a result responsible for 48% in the US of carbon emissions that are contributing to climate change. We can make a big difference if we figure out how to change those numbers.

Shana Weber:
Everyone who’s doing this right now is a pioneer in figuring this out.

Rick Dovey:
Oddly one of the first questions that I got was, “Do they work?”  Of course they work! 

Deane Evans:
Anything that’s been an innovation in the building industry was like that at the beginning, so you needed people to show the way, and  to show it could work.

Deirdre Imus:
When we were going to build this 300,000 square foot facility, … we wouldn’t build it otherwise … we were planning on building it green!

Mark Biedron:
 I think we’ve pushed ourselves to the edge of the cliff and we’re looking over there going, “Boy we really need to change the way we’re doing business on this planet.”

Mike Strizki:
Technology got us into this problem we’re in, and it’s going to take technology to get us out. 

Deane Evans:
What you find when you look at green examples that are out there, the question is, are they model-able?

Jennifer Senick:
What are the cost effective green building measures that have the biggest bang for a buck?

Anthony Sblendorio:
We need to make our mistakes, we need to recognize our successes and build on that on
every project. Every project is a proving ground.

TITLE SEQUENCE:  GREEN BUILDERS

GRAPHIC TITLE: BUILDING GREEN?

Sandy Wiggins:
Even five or six years ago, green building was the purview of the fringe.

Graphic: Scott Chrisner / Chrisner Group
Scott Chrisner:
The general public’s attitude back then, was, “Green? Huh? You’re painting the building green? Why?” Oh no no no, environmentally-friendly, energy efficient.  Oh oh oh, okay. 

Graphic: Jennifer Senick /  Rutgers Center for Green Building
Jennifer Senick:
When I started giving slide presentations, like Power Points, like four years ago on green buildings, I would just help people stick a toe in the water.  And my first slide was usually of the Teletubbies home, [Visuals: clip from the young children’s series “Teletubbies”] … it’s basically like this dome sod roof home and there’s a windmill in the background generating power and you know so basically the Teletubbies are managing to live this green existence.  And I would say, “okay, you know what … this is not really something that’s been dropped down from Mars or a cartoon from the UK, it’s really about pretty simple things:

Jennifer Senick:
Green buildings are about energy efficiency, they’re about water efficiency, they’re about good indoor air quality -- call them healthy buildings; they’re about using materials that are sustainable materials that are rapidly renewable, … and when I sort of break green building into its components, people understand.

Graphic: Sandy Wiggins / Consilience, LLC
Sandy Wiggins:
Well the early numbers, you know, were 40, 40, and 40 – yeah so that buildings consume forty percent of the world’s resources, the construction of buildings.  That buildings use forty percent of the world’s primary energy for their operation, and that the construction of buildings generate forty percent of our society’s waste.Just those three numbers, those were things that were started to be talked about back in the mid to  late 1990’s, in the very small at the time green building community.

Scott Chrisner:
Green building means environmentally friendly and energy efficient buildings.  Right? And then LEED is the way that you measure “green.” …and  it’s a rating system that was created by U.S. Green Building Council.  It just is an easy way to measure how green a building is.

Sandy Wiggins:
With the introduction of the LEED rating system into the marketplace in 2000, LEED also became a road map for project teams that had never attempted to do something like this, to figure out how to do it.

Visuals: Pan to the Willow School building
Graphic: The Willow School / Gladstone, New Jersey

Graphic: Mark Biedron / Co-Founder, The Willow School
Mark Biedron:
If you look back at when we build this first building, in 2002-2003, pretty much we were alone.  And everyone looked at us like we had three heads.  Now, you cannot go to an architectural firm that doesn’t have a LEED-accredited professional on their staff or who doesn’t have some idea what sustainable, green building design is.

Jennifer Senick:
The Willow School is really a very special example of what can be accomplished when a team of really skilled professionals sits down and says, Okay, I want to create a green school, a special school.

Graphic: Anthony Sblendorio / Back to Nature Inc.
Anthony Sblendorio:
I’d met one of the founders at a business meeting, and he was describing this school that he and his wife wanted to build to promote ecological stewardship in children.  And it was really everything I always believed could happen with a development project.  Particularly a school. 

Anthony Sblendorio (giving tour of Willow School):
“The best way to do that we felt when we collaborated with them, was to have them  live and breathe it, so you can teach them  with your building, with your site…”

Mark Biedron:
This whole campus, what we’re trying to do is create sort of a, what I call a vernacular response to our environment.  And this local area around here used to be a farming community, and there used to be lots of old farms and barns, so our design strategy is to create this idea that we’re creating a small, farm-y, kind of barn-y kind of look.

Anthony Sblendorio:
You know I think for a while people thought a green building was sort of a contemporary, modern, very sleek space.  I think the amazing part about the school was that  it was designed in a way that was very traditional, and really grounded in that community. So it doesn’t feel out of place just because it’s a green building.

Sandy Wiggins:
When we step into the process of designing a green building, the first thing we do is go backwards.  We go back to that pre-industrial responsiveness of buildings; so back before we had all these fabulous technologies, buildings had to respond to their place. 

Anthony Sblendorio (showing the available light in the Willow classroom):
the school was carefully designed on how lighting would come into the building how it would bounce off the colors of the walls…”

Sandy Wiggins:
Things like building orientation for example: just orienting your building properly can change the energy efficiency of that building by as much as 30%, … just rotating your building. 

Jennifer Senick:
The Willow School also worked very hard to not have to remove trees and to the extent to which they were removed, sent them and had them returned as furniture.  So there was this sort of signature element of not discarding anything of value but bringing it back in another form.

Mark Biedron:
We found a barn that was being knocked down in eastern Pennsylvania, and we’ve got pictures of it surrounded by a housing development, bulldozer ready to plow this thing down and dump it in a dumpster, and we went back and we tore the whole thing down, we labeled every piece, and basically built that foundation and put the barn up on it.  And then of course all of the beams and everything that holds it all up are all the way the original barn was put together.

Sandy Wiggins:
Construction waste management -- the waste that’s produced during the process of building or renovating a building -- is a big issue.

Mark Biedron:
What everyone’s used to is take all our garbage, throw it in the dumpster, it’s all co-mingled, and it ends up in a landfill.

Sandy Wiggins:
Frankly what we’ve learned is that almost 100% of that waste can be diverted into recycle streams when you’re thoughtful about it.

Mark Biedron:
Here we do it completely the opposite.  We’ve got seven or eight dumpsters around here where we segregate metal and paper and cardboard and wood, and sheet rock … we recycle everything!

Anthony Sblendorio (on tour of Willow School):
“So some of the little green highlights…the stone that you’re standing on here is recycled bluestone…this came from the Big Dig in Boston.”

Sandy Wiggins:
When people step into thinking about a green building, this is usually where they start, are materials.  What’s an environmentally responsible material?  Things like using materials that have high recycled content, and are recyclable themselves when their useful life is up.  Using materials that come from sustainably harvested sources, like what’s called “Forestry Stewardship Council certified lumber”, where there’s a chain of custody that certifies that it’s from a sustainably-managed forest. 

Mark Biedron:
… salvaged wood, for example, we use a tremendous amount of that, wood from old factories and barns, the dimensional lumber, the plywood, the siding is all sustainably grown material that we’re re-using.  The steel, 99% recycled steel, the roof, 85% recycled stainless steel roof.  We try to look at every raw material we bring into a building, and make sure it’s the safest, most economical, healthiest and environmentally responsible kind of raw material there is. 

Mark Biedron:
When you have a green building you make the building and the building systems visible to the students.  We don’t use fiberglass insulation and we’ve built this window into the wall and you can see the cotton insulation we’ve used, or if we’re using recycled tiles in the bathroom and you see a sign that says what the recycle content is.  There are stories about the wood for the windows that came from the old tomato and vinegar vats from the old Heinz ketchup factory.  All the pieces that have a story, that talk about sustainability, we want to re-emphasize by creating signage. … And so, you have the opportunity to have that building actually become a teacher. 

Graphic: Deane Evans / New Jersey Institute of Technology
Deane Evans:
For me, Willow and other schools like it show what’s possible.  And then you try to move everybody in that direction.  They’re sort of pulling everybody.  Seeing Willow is just a leading edge, and saying, “Well, it was a special situation…but we could never afford that on our campus,” … maybe you can’t afford what they’re doing or exactly what they’re doing but you shouldn’t be doing exactly what they’re doing, you should be doing what you can do.

Graphic: Shana Weber / Princeton University
Shana Weber:

There is no recipe, so that is one of the things that makes it hard, but it’s also one of the things that makes it exciting because every project is a creative project.   Depending on what you need to use the building for, you’ll have a different grab bag of options for making it green.

SEQUENCE:  BETTER BUILDINGS

Visuals: Opens with wide shot of the Aerzen manufacturing plant under construction inside and out
Graphic: Aerzen USA / Coatesville, Pennsylvania

Sandy Wiggins:
Aerzen is a manufacturer of large industrial equipment.  They needed a new manufacturing plant built and made the commitment to do it as sustainably as they could.  What the result was, …to some people what might look like a conventional assembly plant, but is really quite different.  It’s naturally day lit, and it’s passively cooled.

Sandy Wiggins (outside behind Aerzen warehouse):
“These are Earth tubes, and we’re on the north side of the building, the shady side of the building.  What you’re looking at is an intake structure for the earth tubes. Air is drawn in, again from the coolest place on the site, underground, deep underground where it’s cooled even further by the natural coolness of the earth and brought up into the assembly plant to actually condition, cool the assembly plant for the people that work there.”

Sandy Wiggins:
Part of the office building’s actually being built using straw bale construction.  This building’s really out in the farm country of Pennsylvania, and literally within ten miles of the site that building materials are being produced – very low embodied energy, that’s the energy that it takes to extract and manufacture materials, and obviously harvesting straw and driving it ten miles to the site has very little impact in terms of embodied energy.   You’ve got this sort of traditional industrial company that is trying to express their commitment by developing this building that’s high-performance, it will cost them a fraction of a typical facility like this to operate, and that has a very small environmental footprint. 

Graphic: Christine Bruncati / New Jersey Institute of Technology
Christine Bruncati:
I think in order for green building and high performance building to be more of a priority we need to understand its importance, that we want places to fell better and to perform better, but we also have to use fewer resources to get what we want.  A lot of it is remembering what we used to do really well.

Visuals: Pan to Cohen residence
Graphic: Cohen Green Home / Princeton, New Jersey

Graphic: David E. Cohen, Green Home Architect, Owner
David E. Cohen:
The first question we get from everyone is, “Oh so you put solar panels on your roof?”  And I hate to disappoint people but I have to tell them, actually we didn’t because we’re in a neighborhood with a lot of mature trees that happen to be on the south side of the house. … Trees are actually one of nature’s greatest “green building measures” because they let sun help heat the house when it’s cold outside, when their leaves are gone, and they shade the house when we need the shade.

David E. Cohen:
We’ve used some modern, pretty unusual materials like this material called Agriboard, which is a structural insulated panel which uses compressed straw as the insulating material in the middle of the panel. … Having thicker walls with a lot of insulation … probably the biggest move we made was not to install air conditioning.   We put in these big attic fans so that we can flush all of the stale air out of the house first thing in the morning, 6am, when it’s cool outside.  Over the course of fifteen minutes you can change all of the air in the entire house.  And then you close the windows and keep that cool air from heating up through the course of the day.Some people think of that as, “Oh, you know, they’re going to be uncomfortable, they’re noble, but they’re not doing something that can sort of catch on and be generally applicable.  We don’t want to be uncomfortable, we just think that in a temperate climate if you design appropriately, you really don’t need the air conditioning.

David E. Cohen:
We also took a lot of design ideas from a traditional design before the advent of air conditioning:  we have sleeping porches off of all the bedrooms; we’ve used roof overhangs to shade windows on the south side; the ability to get light from the exterior, the perimeter of the house, into the interior of the house … a lot of things that were just a given in traditional architectural design.  I think that every site is different, every client is different, and you know there are wonderful ways to be incredibly energy efficient, and HAVE air conditioning.  That’s what people find the most encouraging.  That you don’t have to make compromises; you don’t have to make sacrifices.  You can if you want to, but you can do something green that looks good, and feels good to be in.

SEQUENCE: A HEALTHY INTERIOR ENVIRONMENT

GRAPHIC TITLE: HEALTHY BUILDINGS

Jennifer Senick:
A big part of the green building movement is the healthy building, “healthy homes” movement.

Sandy Wiggins:
It’s all about the impact of buildings on people.  So it’s getting the pollutants out of the indoor environment, the toxins in building materials. Providing people with lots of fresh air and control over their own environment.

Jennifer Senick:
…and probably at the forefront of the healthy buildings movement would be hospitals. 

Visuals: Exterior and interior shots of Hackensack University Medical Center

Graphic: Deirdre Imus / The Deirdre Imus Environmental Center
Deirdre Imus:
Building green is common sense. It’s going back to materials that aren’t soaked and drenched in toxins, that we have become accustomed to -- unfortunately -- over the last 30 to 50 years.

Graphic: Suzen Heeley, Director of Design and Construction
Suzen Heeley:
Well, I think at the time we were pioneers.  We looked at every element that would be a part of the fabric of this building: wall materials, construction materials, flooring, fabrics, patient wear.  And at that point there were not many options in terms of alternative materials.

Deirdre Imus:
Hospitals have miles and miles of pvc bumper guards and railings.  Through elevators, all down the long hallways.  They’re highly toxic, they off gas for many years, … so we obviously didn’t want to use anything with pvc. 

Suzen Heeley:
The manufacturer had a technology to develop a pvc-free version of what we had used before, but they weren’t ready to roll it out.  So we encouraged them to accelerate that process, and they did. 

Deirdre Imus:
And again, that was our mission…part of our mission too is… “okay we’ll be the guinea pigs, we’ll build green; we believe so much in this, we know other people will follow behind us,”  and of course that they’ll benefit from that.

Jennifer Senick:
Hospitals get it because there are studies that show that patients recover more quickly when there’s not only a healthier indoor air quality environment but things like day lighting.

Suzen Heeley:
We wanted to make sure that there was access to natural light, which is always very comforting, and some connection with nature.  Access to nature is very important in the healing process, and access to a view of nature is important.  Knowing that patient rooms have views of rooftops, which traditionally just have lots of  mechanical and electrical  equipment on them, we thought “Well, wouldn’t it be great if we could put some sort of landscaping on these roofs?”  … It’s a very natural seeded system with soil and it virtually looks like a field of grasses and natural native plant types.

Jennifer Senick:
Green roofs are sort of an interesting thing to talk about, because there are a lot of benefits to them. There a storm water management technique for example and so they cut down on storm water run off on a site, but at the same time they also cut down on the urban heat island effect.

Deane Evans:
If you have a green roof you’re not going to get the roof to over-heat, which happens in the summer time you know when you have these black roofs.

Suzen Heeley:
It also, believe it or not, extends the life of the roof membrane itself.

Deirdre Imus:
It’s part of saving energy, keeps the building cooler; it’s also again part of that nurturing element and being connected to nature. … Part of being green with hospitals, is … the physical environment should feel and be nurturing and healing.   We didn’t just have this green building mechanically and technically that was built with all non-toxic materials.  We created a very nurturing environment.

Visuals: Classroom interiors at The Willow School

Jennifer Senick:
Schools also get it, and there have been several studies that demonstrate that school children learn better, perform better on tests when they’re in a healthy school.

Mark Biedron:
There’s data and research and studies that show categorically that your test scores and grades can be as much as 30% better in a green building with, you know, natural ventilation and natural light.

Christine Bruncati:
People are kind of making the link between, “Oh, this is what it means to be green?  I’m going to have lower energy bills and my kids are going to potentially be healthier?”

Mark Biedron:
You’re more productive there, you want to come to work, it feels good to be there, and you don’t get sick … these types of things we really haven’t figured out how to put a dollar sign on yet, and I think when we do, they are going to be so huge, that you and I won’t even be talking about energy savings, we’re going to be talking about those health benefits and the productivity benefits.

Jennifer Senick:
I think this is going to help sell the green building movement more than anything else actually.

Mark Biedron:
We’ve had over probably a thousand visitors come here so far: 90% of them when they leave, they go, “How do I do this?  Where do I go to get this stuff?”  I think if you look at every major manufacturer of building products today , pretty  much everybody has tried to figure out how they could make their product greener, and more environmentally friendly, because they realize this is the way it’s going.  This is the future.

Scott Chrisner:
The market and the manufacturing and the supply and demand are getting easier and easier and easier; that’s not a hurdle anymore.  That’s MASSIVE market transformation.

SEQUENCE:  GREEN DESIGN MARKET MOVEMENT

GRAPHIC TITLE: MARKET TRANSFORMATION

Anthony Sblendorio:
One of the reasons why developers are struggling with this as a concept is that, they are taking their standard products, their boxes or whatever they build, and they’re saying … “okay, well now we need to do it LEED, it costs too much.”  In that case it might cost more because they’re just trying to take a new technology and changing windows and changing this, but they haven’t rethought how they design the original building.

Shana Weber:
You can’t just have cookie-cutter green buildings. You’ve got to think through that building, from start to finish. 

Deane Evans:
It’s commonly accepted that green is an add-on, to a normal bldg.  So you can have a normal building, and then you add on a bunch of junk and you get a green building.  And I’ll rephrase that word, it’s not junk, it’s good things, but you add them on but it costs more.  It’s not really true. 

Mark Biedron:
There is this expectation out there that going green costs 15, 20, 30 percent more; it doesn’t.  Now there’s a caveat to that, because in order to make sure that it doesn’t, you have to design your building in a certain way and the way you need to do that is this integrated design approach. 

Deane Evans:
The key to sustainable design is integrated design, bringing together the players and then bringing together all the elements of the building that include things that architects really focus on, like circulation, image, the feel of the building, how it works structurally, and how it works environmentally, and how it works from an energy perspective.  It’s that integrated approach that really makes it work, and it’s hard.

Mark Biedron:
I have to have the mechanical engineer and the architect, and the waste water and storm water guy, my landscape architect…we all have to sit around the table, so that if I’m the architect, I look the mechanical engineer in the eye and say, “Here’s what I’m doing.  I’m putting this super insulated roof on, I’m putting these super insulated windows, it’s going to cost, you know $20,000 more, but that means that you can cut your heating and ventilating systems in half and save $60,000.”

Scott Chrisner:
That’s where experienced developers are finding that they can do green for the same amount of money or less.  Because if they increase the insulation or windows of the envelope, they can decrease the size of the mechanical system.  They’ve just increased the performance of the building but kept the budget the same.  “Integrated design.”

Visuals: Images of several PNC Bank branch buildings, including one under construction

Jennifer Senick:
In New Jersey now, we’ve seen a great ramp up in what’s called LEED-certified buildings, that’s the standard promulgated by the U.S. Green Building Council. And some good chunk of them, maybe a fifth, belong to PNC Bank.  So that’s a pretty big statement by a corporate financial entity. 

Graphic: Gary Saulson / PNC Financial Services Group
Gary Saulson:
We’re looking to buy something that’s sustainable.  We’re looking to buy something that will last. We’re looking to buy something that’s attractive. And we’re looking to buy something that’s fiscally responsible.

Gary Saulson:
We had a visioning session which we called an eco-charette.  Where we had our architect, and our engineer, and a green building consultant, and we went through our list of aspirations.  If we could build the greatest bank branch what would it look like?  And what components would it contain? … The carpeting that we put in our branches is 70% recycled material, and is 100% recyclable.  We use wheat board instead of plywood.  The glass system on our branches is three times more energy efficient than a typical store front system in a retail store.  The branches are designed to provide a lot of natural light to the building.  So the actual lighting need is reduced.  We found that our branches are fifty to eighty percent more energy efficient than a typical branch.  And we then determined that going forward we really wanted to build all of our buildings as green buildings.

Sandy Wiggins:
What they’ll tell you is, “Well, the first one was really hard, and every one after that has gotten easier, and now it’s just part of our normal course of business.”

Gary Saulson:
So even though we’ve done forty to date, they’re not all identical.  Some of them have different material that we’ve tried and we’re not using anymore.  Some of them have new materials that we are continuing to look at and continuing to try. 

Christine Bruncati:
They have information kiosks and booklets at their branches, so when people go in, and they notice, “This is a nice place to be!”, (I mean, unless their checking account is overdrawn), “the lighting is nice, it feels comfortable, what’s going on here?” they can find out, and so that also spreads the consciousness, it’s really an educational element in a lot of ways. … The other thing that’s nice is … it’s making other businesses take notice. These are coming in cheaper than a conventional branch, they’re less expensive to operate and they’re going up faster now that they know how to do it.

Scott Chrisner:
That as case study tells every other person that they can do it.  Every other corporation that they can do it. 

Jennifer Senick:
It’s not just that they’ve built some green branches.  It’s that they’re a motivating force behind popularizing or really making green building a mass market phenomenon.

Gary Saulson:
I think that the green building movement has really served as an agent of change for the construction industry.  And the construction industry has really woken up and realized that this is something that has tremendous traction, that more and more large companies are doing, that this isn’t just about tree-huggers, and if they want to see their companies grow and they want to provide services that others and  their competitors are providing they’re going to have to jump aboard. … I think it’s going to become so mainstream that no one’s going to call it “green building” ten years from now.  “Good architecture” is really going to become the convergence of old fashioned architecture and green architecture equals good architecture.

Sandy Wiggins:
There are now lots of great examples in the marketplace – you can go out and kick the tires and really look at the data and understand that these buildings cost a lot less to operate, they’re more durable, economical to build, and are having this big impact on human health and performance –  …  they’re just a better deal all the way around. 

SEQUENCE:  GREEN DESIGN ON A GRAND SCALE

GRAPHIC TITLE: BEYOND A SINGLE BUILDING

Sandy Wiggins:
Both the residential construction industry and the commercial institutional construction industry have been driven for a long time by what we call “first cost,” that’s the  amount of money you spend to actually build the building. 

Deane Evans:
It’s essentially talking about the first cost of a facility versus the life cycle costs of a facility, which is the cost to run and operate all the systems in the facility, over its lifetime.

Sandy Wiggins:
The first costs pale in comparison to the rest – they generally represent about 20% of a building’s life cycle cost, so 80% of the building’s true cost is the long-term operations.  And it’s the decisions that get made during the design and construction, during the 20%, that impact the 80%.

Visuals: Opens with images of Princeton University

Graphic: Princeton University

Graphic: Shana Weber / Office of Sustainability
Shana Weber:
Campus growth over the next ten years is somewhere around a million square feet.  So the challenge is, even with that growth, how do we flat line our energy consumption?  Or even reduce it? That’s a huge challenge.

Deane Evans:
Institutions that have campuses, they sort of have the luxury of, “If I were king, …” well, they are king.  They pay both budgets: they pay the budget to build, and they pay the budget to operate.  So for them, it’s much more of a no-brainer to invest in first cost to save long term costs.

Graphic: Ted Borer / Energy Plant Manager
Ted Borer:
One of the things that’s very helpful for us at the University is we’re able to have a very long time horizon. Rather than thinking about the next quarter’s profit or the next year’s profit, when we put in a building what we’ll do now is ask ourselves, “What will it cost to run that building for its whole life cycle?What does it cost us to build it, and to operate it, to deliver energy through its life?  By doing that we can justify making a little higher capital investment up front in order to save energy and really reduce the cost of operating that building over its life.

Deane Evans:
Any of those types of campus facilities have some great advantages from a technical perspective.  They can do a lot with infrastructure that links multiple buildings together and  they can use district heating and cooling, which can be highly efficient relative to an individual system for each building.

Shana Weber:
Princeton University in the 90’s installed a co-generation power plant.  It’s a 15 Megawatt system and it operates at about 80% thermal efficiency.  That’s pretty phenomenal.  Right there we made a huge leap forward in how efficient the campus as a whole was.  Whatever changes we make at the power plant, are reflected across the whole campus.  That’s one of the benefits of having a central system like that. 

Ted Borer:
The energy plant is really three different buildings side by side.   There’s the co-generation plant, the chilled water plant, and the thermal storage plant.

Ted Borer (inside co-generation plant):
The co-gen plant is really about making steam and electricity. In the box, in the enclosure, is the FA-18 engine, it’s really designed for the Stealth fighter, but we use it to turn an electric generator, to make electricity for the campus, and then the hot exhaust from the engine goes out the side to heat water to make steam, to provide steam to the campus. 

Ted Borer:
We have a chilled water system, a chilled water plant, where we make cold water to provide air conditioning to the whole campus, … and then we have a thermal storage plant, which is more about the economics.  

Ted Borer (in thermal storage room):
What we’re able to do is buy power when it’s inexpensive.  Usually at night, we’ll run our large electric chillers and cool off, just outside the building, a two and half million gallon tank of water.  The thermal storage tank is essentially a big battery.  So we’re able to charge up that battery at night, and during the day what we’ll do is shut off the electric chillers that we use to cool off that tank, and we can just run water out of the tank to cool the campus.

Shana Weber:
There’s been a long tradition of making sure the system is as efficient as possible.  It’s a constant game of tracking down little problems here and there, and installing monitoring systems so that you can sit in a room with a bunch of computer monitors and see how each building is performing. 

Ted Borer:
We keep looking at all the different components in the system.  Every time we need to maintain something or repair it, can we upgrade it, can we fix it, can we improve it? … every time we touch it.

Shana Weber:
Institutions of higher education have a really unique role.  We’re sort of a microcosm of towns or cities, or ultimately, the nation.  It’s a small community in which to experiment.  And there’s an expectation that we do that … that we use our campus as a proving ground or testing ground for new ideas and technologies.  So if we can get something right here, the ripple effects of that success will continue to spread. 

Visuals: Opens with shots of geothermal apparatus in and around campus at The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey

Graphic: Richard Stockton College / Pomona, New Jersey

Graphic: Scott Chrisner, Chrisner Group
Scott Chrisner:
Richard Stockton College is a frontier college from the early 70’s.  Lynn Stiles, the professor of physics down there, engineered and installed one of the world’s largest geothermal heating systems, on that campus. 

Graphic: Lynn Stiles / Professor of Physics
Lynn Stiles:
We are injecting heat into the ground during the summer, spring, and fall, and in the winter we’re extracting that heat. … You can imagine that this is like a huge car radiator: 400 boreholes that are 425 feet deep, with a surface area of three and a half acres.   And it is under a parking lot.  A parking lot was built above the borehole field.  That huge truck radiator in the ground is really storing thermal energy from summer to winter.  And storing cold, if you wish, from winter to summer.  98% percent of the heat that’s injected in the summer is available six months later.

Lynn Stiles:
An even more efficient opportunity exists when we have very good aquifers, and to use the aquifers as a seasonal storage medium.  You imagine now pulling water out of the ground and in our case we cool it off and we replace it into the same aquifer, about 1,000 feet away.  And what results is this huge, almost circular cold store, 100 feet deep, maybe 400 feet in radius.  The Netherlands has five hundred of these systems, but it really will be the first large-scale demonstration slash commercial application of this technology in the United States.  The efficiency of the aquifer system is approximately 3 to 6 times that of using a geothermal system, which is already two times more efficient than an air conditioning system.  That savings just increases over time because the cost of electricity and gas increases over time, so if we use less of that, that means our savings increase. 

Sandy Wiggins:
So there is a paradigm shift going on, and savvy users of buildings and consumers are now looking at “life cycle costs,” as way to assess whether they’re doing a good job economically, and obviously when you’re doing a good job economically you’re using less resources, like energy and water, and you’re doing a more favorable job for the environment.

SEQUENCE:  GREEN DESIGN ON A MUNICIPAL  SCALE

Jennifer Senick:
There are a number of municipalities now in New Jersey that are actively working to green either things called their master plan or their land use ordinances to help green their communities.  This is important because it sets an example for the private sector. 

Visuals: Images of the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission property, and new Education Center building under construction

Graphic: Robert Ceberio / New Jersey Meadowlands Commission
Robert Ceberio:
The Meadowlands Commission is a regulatory body that oversees land uses in a 32 square mile area consisting of parts of 14 municipalities in the counties of Hudson and Bergen.  Our “Environment Center” that’s part of our operation here, and part of our mission, was busting at the seams in terms of the number of visitors we were getting through that facility.  So we decided two and a half years ago to build a 5,000 square foot science center that would be a green building.  And what we meant by that is using less water, re-using storm water that comes off the roof, using solar, so that almost 100% of the facility (energy) would be generated by solar. … What a great lesson plan it would be for these kids, to come in here, and all they got to do is just walk in, and there’s the lesson plan.  It’s the building.

Jennifer Senick:
The Meadowlands Commission has planning and zoning regulatory powers that most municipalities do not have.  So over its constituent municipalities it can put in place more stringent green building measures and offer different types of incentive policies than say the average municipality can, and so this is really a “set an example” project.

Robert Ceberio
This building was going to be a landmark policy decision for the commission.  So the first thing we did is change our regulations.  What we said is this: if you build green, we will reduce your developer’s fees. We will also put your application for development to the top of the line.

Deane Evans:
We have some pretty progressive municipalities in New Jersey who are trying to do this.  It’s not as easy as it is in a single building; it’s not as easy as it is in a campus, because you have so many disparate types of ownership.  And the controls that you wield as a municipality are limited.  So you essentially have to begin to build policies that make everything a win-win.  Because mayors and municipal officials don’t want to discourage development; they want to encourage the right kind of development. 

Visuals: Images of the seaside town of Belmar

Graphic: Kenneth E. Pringle /  Mayor, Belmar, New Jersey
Kenneth Pringle:
I have an advantage in Belmar because as a coastal community the environment is part of our day-to-day life. We’re surrounded on three sides by water.  I tell my residents that we are the “canaries in the coal mine” when it comes to the global warming crisis, that if any community is going to be affected by rising sea levels and increased storm activity, it’s going to be us before anybody else.  And if anyone is going to need to be out in the front of this issue and try to figure out a way to reduce greenhouse gases, it ought to be our community. … We’re trying to encourage people to be aware of the long term impact of their property both in terms of how much lot area they cover and how much runoff they keep on their property and the impact it has on flooding and other issues.  Do we get resistance from residents when we tell them that they have to have a certain kind of driveway because it’s less impervious surface and will recharge water more and cause less runoff…things like that? Sure, but by and large residents understand why it’s important. So it wasn’t a big step forward on the issue of green building. 

Kenneth Pringle:
It is about ramping up to higher technology but in a funny way it’s also about going back to the future.  Belmar is a model smart growth, neighborhood development designed town.  We and many of the towns along the coast of New Jersey were built around train stations, and residents appreciate in a way that those kind of things that they enjoy about our community; the ability to get on a bicycle and ride downtown easily and to walk to where you want to go are also things that make it a much more environmentally minded community…that you don’t have to get in your car every time you want to do something.  So it’s actually an easy sell to people.  You’re selling livability, as opposed to sacrifice.

Visuals: Opens with wide shot of Bellevue Court Homes

Graphic: Bellevue Court Homes / Trenton, New Jersey

Christine Bruncati:
Something that’s really important about green building isn’t just the building but it’s where it’s built.  One the biggest gains about re-using these existing homes on Bellevue Court is that it’s recycling on a grand scale: you’re recycling a building.Architecturally they were very interesting, but most of them were laying vacant.  The decision was made that these really needed to be resurrected, they’re beautiful homes, they’re close to downtown Trenton, they’re close to public transportation, and if we can densify and be closer in, it makes a lot of sense. 

Graphic: Darren Molnar Port / NJ Dept. of Community Affairs
Darren Molnar Port:
Green building is vital for affordable housing for a number of reasons, particularly because operations in maintenance, so lowering utility costs, but also lowering the maintenance costs throughout the life cycle of the house.  We’re using materials that are going to last 50 years, 100 years, that are highly durable, that will require less maintenance, and less of a financial burden for the homeowners.

Christine Bruncati:
They had the luxury of doing a gut rehab, really getting down to the basic shell of the home and building them from inside out to  make them more energy efficient.  And they are now Energy Star homes, the entire block. … There was one specific home where they said “we’re going to be more aggressive and let this be what we’ll call a micro-load home.”  And what that means is that the heating and cooling requirements of the home would be reduced to a very great degree by design, and then they could potentially be met with renewable sources, such as solar electricity and solar water heating.

Christine Bruncati:
The rear of the home faces south, and for passive solar, the best orientation is to have the major face of a building facing south.  A lot of windows were put on the back, and the proper shading was done, tape panels were put on the roof to meet electricity needs, and solar power was also used to heat the hot water.

Darren Molnar Port:
So the goal here was to get as close to a zero energy home as possible, and even with a constrained budget we were able to integrate green high performance features into affordable housing.

Christine Bruncati:
How do you quantify the fact that you’re living in a healthier environment?  How do you quantify the fact that most of the spaces in these homes have very nice day lighting because the old windows openings were very generous.  You can look at your electric bill and say, “we didn’t have the lights on as much…” but it’s feels like a better place to be and a healthier place be.   And if we want to deal with some of the bigger issues of global warming and energy use, dealing with the existing housing stock is very important.  It might seem like a modest move, but it’s such a broad thing that it will have a great impact on the amount of energy that we use.

SEQUENCE: EXISTING HOMES AND CONSERVING

Sandy Wiggins:
Most of the built environment that we have to deal with, of course, exists already.  It’s not just about new buildings, it’s about existing buildings.  People often throw up their hands and say, “What can I do, I got a building that exists?”  And the reality is, there’s a lot you can do.  And it’s the stuff that’s least sexy that often has the biggest impact.

Scott Chrisner:
Compact florescent light bulbs are easy, no brainers.  Upgrading their windows, looking at their mechanical systems, changing their filters.

Sandy Wiggins:
Adding more insulation  to a building – it’s not sexy, but it’s a really good thing to do if you can do it.

Graphic: Mike Strizki / Renewable Energy International Inc.
Mike Strizki:
And buying the most efficient appliances is huge. When I go out to buy an appliance for this house, I’m worried about the Energy Star rating, I’m not worried about the price tag, because I know it’s going to pay for itself.

Christine Bruncati:
You can have an energy audit done on an existing home, and this would allow a team to come in and really sort of do a diagnostic testing of where you’re starting from, and see where you’ll get the most bang for the buck that will contribute to the energy efficiency of your home. 

Jennifer Senick:
Buildings have a really big impact on the environment.  But most of their impact, over 80% of their impact, takes place during their operating phase, their use phase – what does that mean? – it takes place during the time that we’re living in them. 

Sandy Wiggins:
Making systems more efficient so that they use less energy is one thing; conserving energy, thinking about how you personally relate to energy, is another. 

Kenneth Pringle:
Once you start to measure what you consume, you start to be more conscious of how much you consume and you start to think more fully and more carefully about how you live.

Jennifer Senick:
These are not really difficult things to do, and yet if everybody did them we’d be well on our way to meeting targets in reducing our carbon footprint.   

SEQUENCE: RENEWABLE ENERGY

GRAPHIC TITLE: ANOTHER LEAP

Sandy Wiggins:
The next step, of course, would be to think about the source of the energy that you do have to use, once you’ve reduced it as much as possible through conservation and efficiency, thinking about where is this energy coming from, and making choices that move you away from fossil fuels, really moving towards wind, photovoltaics, biomass, other truly renewable energy sources.

Graphic: Deane Evans / New Jersey Institute of Technology
Deane Evans:
I think we’ve come a long way from the old building stock … … where energy was just cheap, people didn’t even care. We’re moving in the right direction, but now, I think we’re at a point, driven by these climate change concerns, that there’s going to have to be another leap and that’s where the idea of combining optimal conservation with renewables is coming into play.

Shana Weber:
Princeton University can do everything in its power to reduce its footprint.  But, we buy power from the power grid, that we don’t have control over.  So if the power grid’s dirty, we’re dirty.

Deane Evans:
As we begin to drive down our usage, we also have to drive up the provision of electrical energy from photovoltaics and other types of energy from renewable sources

Visuals: Opens with wide shot of the wind farm across a wetland

Graphic: Rick Dovey / Atlantic County Utilities Authority
Rick Dovey:
The Atlantic County Utility Authority’s wastewater plant is just on the western edge of Atlantic City.  Atlantic City is on a barrier island, Absecon Island.  That makes it ideal for a wind farm to be located here.  The first thing is, it’s windy, that’s the raw resource that powers the windmills.  The second things is, we use a lot of electricity.  We’re probably one of the largest users of electricity in this region because the waste water plant has to operate every day of the year, all the time.  To be consistent with our mission of protecting the environment, we thought that we should be looking at renewables and alternative energy as a part of the mix. 

Rick Dovey:
Normally a wind farm would be out in the middle of a farm field or a mountain top, pretty far away from the grid.  We have a power grid station on site.  So the extra energy that might be produced from the wind farm can be put into the grid and sold to the grid, and that improves the economics of this site over others.  Over 30 million people visit Atlantic City annually, and lots of people see it.  Folks that live here think they’re beautiful.  And they’re inspiring.  I never quite counted on that kind of positive reaction.     

Rick Dovey:
That’s our sexiest aspect of our renewable portfolio here, but we thought “this has to be a good site for a solar project.”  We have solar arrays on two rooftops, a solar array over our employee parking area, and then we have ground mounts, and that’s our largest array. … We’ve made a significant change in just two or three years … where we get almost 70% of our power from alternative renewable energy? And we’re showing waste water treatment plants, “You can do the same thing.”  Maybe not a wind farm, but definitely solar.

Visuals: large installations of solar arrays, then smaller systems on homes

Graphic: Thomas Leyden / SunPower Corporation
Thomas Leyden:
Every state in the U.S. has enough energy to take advantage of solar.  There are really three factors that are necessary: how much energy’s available from the sun, what the energy cost is that you’re displacing, and then what incentives are available locally. So those three factors drive the market.  New Jersey happens to have all three of these factors in its favor, and is in fact the second largest market in the country, second only to California.

Graphic: Mike Strizki / Renewable Energy International Inc.
Mike Strizki:
We’ve sold over 4 Megawatts of solar in the last three and a half years. Which is a lot of solar.  That’s a small power plant.   We’ve done over 250 homes.  And the cost of solar will come down as production is ramping up.

Mike Strizki (checking a meter at a private home with solar panels):
“Yep, this meter’s spinning backwards.  (A wonderful thing.)”

Thomas Leyden:
If during the day you’re producing more power than you use, it goes back into the grid.  It literally turns your meter backwards. … We’re building a power plant; big or small, we’re building power plants, and they really should be amortized over their life cycle.  Once the investment is made, it’s very predictable.  We know what an output of a system will be in any given area.  Our customers know exactly what that energy’s going to cost over a 25, 30 year period.  So solar is like a perfect hedge financially, because you know when you pay for the system, exactly what the energy is going to cost.

Thomas Leyden:
What SunPower has developed is a tracking system that will track the sun from east to west everyday, every hour…so that the solar panels are facing the sun at that time, and as a result you can get up to 30% more power.

Mike Strizki:
Solar is a revolution.  And if we manufacture this technology here and we export it to the rest of the world, we’re going to create the economic boom for ourselves.

Visuals: Shot of sign welcoming visitors to “The Hopewell Project, The First Solar-Hydrogen Residence in North America”

Graphic: East Amwell, New Jersey

Mike Strizki (giving tour of The Hopewell Project):
“Once you have that renewable energy, the way to capture it, you’re going to be able to start storing it, you can begin to back feed it to the grid…”

Mike Strizki:
My house system is a little unique here.  All of the energy here is generated from the solar panels, all of the electrical energy.  I’ve been able to take that solar energy and convert water into its base elements, which is hydrogen and oxygen.  The hydrogen is stored in ten 1K propane tanks at 250psi. So all during the summer I accumulate over 19,000 cubic feet of hydrogen in those tanks. … During the winter months when we have short solar days, my solar system will only provide sixty percent of the energy I need.  So I tap off the hydrogen.  I run it through a hydrogen fuel cell, which converts it back into electricity, 100% chemically pure drinking water, and heat, and I use that electrical energy to run my geothermal heat pump to heat the house and provide my electrical needs.  So it’s water to hydrogen, hydrogen to water, and the power of the sun does all the conversion. 

Mike Strizki (giving talk near tanks):
Visitor: “So hydrogen is the storage?”
“The hydrogen is the battery.  This is the equivalent of 60,000 batteries…”

Mike Strizki:
What I’m doing here is the ability to make your own fuel out of water. You’re talking about true energy independence, and no emissions are created in the process. 

Mike Strizki (giving talk near tanks):
“We use water to make hydrogen, we use the hydrogen fuel cell to get the electricity and heat back and the water goes back into making more hydrogen….”

Mike Strizki:
The reason I have no carbon footprint here is because nothing has to get delivered.  And nothing gets consumed. 

Mike Strizki (giving talk in the garage, with red balloon and fuel cell powering a small fan):
“There’s no batteries here, there’s no nothing. Okay, we’re going to be the gas into the fuel cell and we’ll bleed out the air….. instant electricity.”

Mike Strizki:
This is truly the ability to store renewable energy and use it whenever you want.   Weeks, years, months, centuries from now.  Once you make hydrogen, it’s forever.  And you can’t say that about any other fuel. 

Mike Strizki:
What I’m doing works. Everyone that’s reviewed this system or critiqued it has said it’s too expensive; it’s not practical.  No one said it doesn’t work.  And we’re at the early stages of putting this together.  This is how you bring the cost down.  You assemble all the parts, and then you start to get out there and mass produce it.  The funny thing about mass production and increases in technology: things get better; things get cheaper; and it goes almost with every type of industry.  And as the early adopters get in, it’s going to bring the cost down for everyone.

Lynn Stiles:
It’s not going to be one technology – it’s going to be a combination of technologies.  Geothermal heat pumps have been in operation for 30, 40 years.  Photovoltaics have been in existence for decades as well.  These are systems that have long lifetimes and will reliably reduce people’s costs of operation well into the future. 

Rick Dovey:
We need to begin to diversify our portfolio as much as we can.  Not all of these things that are on the palette right now are all going to pan out, but we need to experiment with them. 

SEQUENCE: REGENERATIVE DESIGN

GRAPHIC TITLE:  BEYOND SUSTAINABILITY

Visuals: Exteriors around The Willow School, including identifying sign

Sandy Wiggins:
I think the Willow School may be the best example in this part of the country of what we call regenerative design.  And that’s really the next stage of evolution for the green building community.  Not just developing buildings that have a smaller environment impact, but developing buildings and communities that begin to regenerate the negative impacts that we’ve already had. 

Mark Biedron:
When we build something, when we make our footprint on the land, typically we depress the experience of the natural systems.  We create storm water, we use resources, we create pollution.  What regeneration means is that when you build, and you design things, that what we want to have happen is the experience of both the natural systems and the human systems are elevated.  So we make this place better because we’re here. 

Anthony Sblendorio:
What we’re trying to really do is get people to move beyond sustainability.  And sustainability and green building is great, and it’s really changed the marketplace, but if we think about we only have a limited amount of natural resources, and they’re not regenerating themselves faster than we are consuming them, we need to think regeneratively.  How do we not just build a green building, but how can a building provide additional energy?  How can a site improve the amount of recharge?  Improve habitat, improve the soil.  So we’re not thinking about, we want things status quo.  We want to improve them, we want to regenerate them. 

Mark Biedron:
What we found was an old farm, very little understory, pretty much zero top soil left.  Even when you drive by, it looked like this pristine woods, and people would say, “Well, you’re going to cut down the trees, and you’re going to disturb it…” clearly if you knew anything about forest succession and what a good healthy forest should look like, you knew that it was in disrepair. 

Anthony Sblendorio:
Now when you go to that site, you’ll see healthy sponge layer on top of the woodland floor.  You’ll see compost, you’ll see native plants. You’ll see certainly significant improvements to habitat.  We’re not talking about things that are anti-technology, or anti-modern.  when we create a new wetland to deal with the storm water of a parking lot or a roadway, we’re really allowing plants to use and treat the water.  Essentially we are mimicking natural systems in the environment, that we know work.

Sandy Wiggins:
The same is true with the way they’re treating waste water.  They use a constructed wetland to clean the sanitary waste that comes out of the bathrooms.

Mark Biedron:
It rains on the roof of the building, we capture that water in an underground cistern, and use that water to flush the toilets.

Anthony Sblendorio:
The effluent goes into a gravel bed, where the plants grow hydroponically, without soil.  The water gets cleaned and scrubbed so effectively, that effluent, when it comes out of the constructed wetland, it is legally recreational quality water – you can fill your swimming pool with it. … Then that water goes into a leach field with a wildflower meadow that sits on top of that field.  Those plants have very long, fibrous root systems that scrub the water one more time before it goes back in the ground.

Christine Bruncati:
So they went through a lot of meetings with a lot of people to educate them about how this would work, and that has set a precedent and other people realize they can provide an amenity on their site, and deal with something they’d have to deal with anyway.

Mark Biedron:
Our goal was to be able to tell the town that we would have less storm water runoff than before we got here.  So by using all these native grasses and perennials, reducing the amount of turf grass, recycling all the water that falls on the roofs to flush our toilets, and then putting it back in the ground clean, that’s how we’re able to do that.  So we’re actually making this place a healthier place because the school is here.

CLOSING SEQUENCE: THE BEGINNING OF A BROADER MOVEMENT

Mark Biedron:
Nature grows in a great way.  We just have to learn to grow how she grows.  And somehow we have to get away from the kind of systems we use now, which create a tremendous amount of waste to those kind of systems that actually return everything to their natural cycles.  Of course the great thing is to show that to the children, so that we start thinking in this way, all the time, with everything we do.  Not just building, but the idea of this regenerative model is really the way man is supposed to operate on this planet.

Shana Weber:
I think more and more people are realizing that if it’s not going to affect their life, it’s going to affect their children’s lives.  And that’s creating a real groundswell.  And it isn’t just relegated to a certain counter-culture, or perceived counter-culture. 

Sandy Wiggins:
The huge population of people that are sort of flooding into the green building community are not this traditional environmentalist.  They’re business people.  And when they begin to understand the connections between their own actions and the kinds of legacy that they’re leaving for their kids, and the impacts that they’re having on this big global picture… then they get excited, and engaged.

Jennifer Senick:
We’re past early adopters, we’re not yet at mass adoption, and I think we have most of the technologies we need, and although some of them may be expensive now, that’s only because the mindset change hasn’t taken place yet.

Shana Weber:
If you’re going to be an innovator, you have to invest a little more upfront.  Even though you will see returns coming over time, you’ve got to have that upfront push.  

Mike Strizki:
We have a real opportunity here to do something that’s good for the planet, and get an economic boom all at the same time.  But you have to see past where we are now.  And yeah, it’s expensive to do it at first, but nothing’s more wildly expensive than destroying this planet.

END OF PROGRAM

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