Welcome to the weekly video podcast for the new PBS series: design E-squared. This exclusive online program will take you beyond the episode you just watched and deeper into the world of sustainable design. The Green Machine The Mayor was traveling in Europe, saw a green roof and came back here to Chicago and said: “Well let’s put a green roof on city hall.” And everyone said: “We can’t do that”. To export new innovative technology, you have to show people in other countries that it works. And we prove it. What Freiburg is it’s the home of Green party. And the Green party started there, I believe about 25 or 30 years ago in response to nuclear plants that were being built in that area. And they basically as a group stood up and said: “no”. And they were the only community that was able to stop a nuclear power plant. With that empowerment that they felt and with their ideas about how we should be living with the planet as opposed to against it, they formed the Green party. It’s a question not of religion or ideology or something like this. It’s a question of jobs, of economy, and we have got the benefit of it. Sometimes you can see the four windmills on the top of the hill over there. And it’s really also a nice feeling. You get your own electric power from here. It doesn’t need transportation all over the country. You don’t have to use nuclear energy, it’s really good. Politicians there have literally written into their building laws, measures which mandate access to daylight, air, other things, so you know, if you’re building a skyscraper in the United States, it can be this enormous chunky thing. But you’re forty feet away from a window. In Germany, that’s against the law. You’d be arrested for building a building like that. That’s interesting. In some points we can go further than the federal law, but in other points we are depended from federal laws. If they don’t work in buildings we cannot do anything here. Surely you can change minds without new laws. You can make campaigns for saving energy, for saving electricity. The kids learn it here in school that it’s important to be careful with water, to be careful with energy. That it doesn’t come always. You have to be careful with it. When the price of the oil, and the price of the gas is rising, like in this year, people understand that it’s a good idea to save energy, and a good idea to make themselves independent from oil. In Freiburg it was a ground swell, roots movement up so throughout society everybody feels this way. That the environment should be looked at and should be taken care of. Mayor Daley came and he saw this and he took the ideas back to Chicago, not a city that would naturally stand up and vote for an environmental measure. I would hope that Green is mainstream in 10 years. That means, when you’re going to construct a building, when you’re going to re-model, you’re concerned about the quality of air in a building, and concerned about what type of material they’re using in a building. That requires all of us to really make a commitment. Freiburg was something that really sort of affected our overall view of what could be done, and actually gave me personally an a lot more optimistic view of what was possible. That we don’t have to necessarily re-invent everything, that a lot of these things can be just taken from there and applied. Next time on design e-squared: Over 60 percent of the world’s energy goes into building, heating, or cooling, or dealing with the construction waste of buildings. The construction garbage problem is a huge issue. They suggested that we take the last 40 or 50 panels and destroy them. And I asked if we could take possession them, and I told them I was going to build a house. And everybody in the room started laughing. For more information, and to subscribe to our other podcasts, visit us online at design-e2.com.