Saturday, May 7, 2011

The Greenest Building

Over the next 20 years, Americans will demolish one third of this country’s existing building stock (over 82 billion square feet) to replace seemingly inefficient buildings with energy efficient “green” structures. Is demolition in the name of sustainability really the best use of natural, social, and economic resources? Or, like the urban renewal programs of the 1960s, is this well-intentioned planning with devastating environmental and cultural consequences?

On Thursday, May 12, the Bijou Art Cinemas in Eugene will present The Greenest Building, a new hour-long documentary by local film producer and University of Oregon graduate Jane Turville. The film presents a compelling overview of the important role building reuse plays in creating sustainable communities. Narrated by David Ogden Stiers, The Greenest Building delves into the myth that a “green” building is necessarily a new building. It demonstrates how renovation and adaptive reuse of existing structures fully contributes to the triple bottom line of economic, social, and ecological balance.

Turville’s film reveals:
  • How reuse and reinvestment in the existing built environment leads to stronger local economies that can compete on a global scale
  • That sense of place and collective memory, while intangible, are critical components of strong sustainable communities
  • The direct correlation between reuse of existing buildings and a significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, degradation of the natural environment and overuse of precious natural resources.
PBS stations around the country, including Oregon Public Broadcasting, have already broadcast The Greenest Building. Unfortunately, I missed the opportunity to see it on TV last month, so I’m planning on attending this special screening at the Bijou. If you are interested in our planet’s future, community development, sustainable communities, or just plain want to find out if existing buildings really are worth keeping, I hope to see you there. Find out if our greenest buildings are indeed the ones that already exist.

Here are the details:

What: A special screening of the documentary The Greenest Building, by producer Jan Turville

When: Thursday, May 12, 2011 – Doors open: 7:00 PM – Film begins: 7:30 PM; Q&A session with Jane Turville follows

Where: The Bijou Art Cinemas, 492 East 13th Avenue, Eugene, OR

Cost: $10 at the door; $8 online at

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