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Green Time TV: Deep Green Homes

on Fri, 01/17/2014 - 3:55pm

Buildings are a way to reduce our environmental footprint — not just a little bit — but enormously.  A Passive House does not require central heating.  It is so well designed, insulated, and airtight that it uses about 90% less energy than similar buildings.  Interior surfaces are room temperature with no hot or cold drafts.  February 2014 Green Time shows explore how homes can produce more energy than they use.In the first show architect and planner Ralph Wafer and Gary Steps, of Butterfly Energy Works, discuss how they designed the first St.Louis Passive House with the floor plan the owners wanted.  Hot water for cooking, cleaning, and bathing is delivered by a small solar thermal system.  The air exchange radically improves the cleanliness of the inbound air, while protecting the temperature and humidity.  It is highly tornado and earthquake resistant. 

Ralph Wafer appears on the second show with Anthony Garavaglia, of Trumpet Constructors, LLC.  They look at details of construction which are critical for achieving Passive Building Standards for minimizing heat gain in summer, minimizing heat loss in winter and holding air infiltration to near zero.  Exterior walls of the entire first floor are 14” thick insulated concrete forms.  Walls of the second floor are 12” thick structural insulated panels.  The roof uses 15” thick panels.  Sun shades over south-facing windows reduce solar heat gain during the summer. 

During the third show, Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage co-founders Tony Sirna and Rachel Katz describe how 75 people share three vehicles and drive less than 10% of the average American.  Through cooperation and conservation the ecovillage has been able to dramatically reduce its environmental impact. It meets all of its power needs through renewable energy.  Most of what it is doing is possible for others to do in cities or suburbs. 

The cornerstone of building is cooperation and sharing space.  For the fourth episode, Dancing Rabbit members Tony Sirna and Sharon Bagatell discuss the environmental value of small homes, Passive House standards, net zero energy, strawbale building, cob building, timberframing and earthbag construction.  Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage has a new community building that manifests its commitment to green and natural building. 

February shows include portions of the movies “Passive House: A Building Revolution,” “Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage: An Introduction,” and“Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage: Green Community Building.”

Green Time appears at noon on Saturdays in St. Louis on Channel 24-1 and at 8 pm on Mondays in St. Louis on Channel 24-2,Springfield on Channel 39, Joplin on Channel 36 and Marshfield on Channel 17.  February Green Time programs air on Saturdays and Mondays on these dates:

·February 1 & 3: “Passive House: The Idea”

·February 8 & 10: “Passive House: The Building”

·February 15 & 17: “Dancing Rabbit: Its Ecological Impact”

·February 22 & 24: “Community Building at Dancing Rabbit.”

Also see Green Time on  If you would like to help produce Green Time TV call 314-727-8554 or email