Earth Day Movie Premiere: The Greening of Southie

greening of southieOn Tuesday, April 22, the Sundance Channel will present as part of their The Green series “The Greening of Southie,” a documentary on the construction of Boston’s first green residential building, the Macallan, which is seeking a LEED gold rating. If the idea of watching a documentary on the construction of a condo building doesn’t sound too exciting to you, I cannot recommend this film enough to anyone who is or wants to be a part of green building. It presents the challenges and excitement of building green with equal measures of idealism and cynicism, juxtaposing the suits who see the project as ideas and paper with the laborers who actually have to put the building together. As the project grows, the two come closer to understanding the other side.

Fittingly, the film begins with a group of incredulous workers in hard hats listening to a project manager describe what a green building is. It turns out he doesn’t exactly know himself. “What does it give you?,” “what’s the point?” they ask. “I can’t answer that exactly,” he responds. But the skeptical laborers make jokes, dismissing the whole idea. After the manager explains that the condos will have “double flush” toilets, one man jokes, “I use that a lot – that system. One never seems to do the job.”

The film makers succeed by not explaining to us what green building is. Instead, they ask different people involved with the project to explain it, resulting in wildly different accounts of what it means to be green. One will focus on the location of the project, across the street from public transportation. One will speak of the regional materials used on the project. Another believes that everything in the building is made from recycled materials (not true – though many renewable materials were used and 90% of material hauled off the site will be recycled.) When asked why a tree was being taken up to the roof, one man guessed, “for good luck?”

What comes across quite clear in the film is the disdain many people involved, including the project owner/developer, have for greenies. Laborers huff about what a waste of time and money building green is. The owner/developer says that the building is not green in the sense of “eating simple cheeses or eating plain meats or something weird like that,” a comment that I had to rewind to make sure I heard correctly. A member of the waste management team says “I viewed green as dorky,” but then by the end of the project has a tattoo of a roll-off truck on her “bum,” which she shows off. I didn’t rewind that one.

The true star of the film is Wayne Phillips, a laborer who at first is skeptical but intrigued. But as he tries to explain his work with the Macallan building to his children he can’t hide his pride, and when his daughter continues to show interest in it – even asking if they can buy a condo there, he responds with a comment more profound than he intended: “I always tell you a good education will get you anything you want in life.” Green building, it seems, is viewed as a luxury for the wealthy, and even the local bar owner fears that buildings like the Macallan will price him and others (and perhaps the south Boston culture) out of the neighborhood. The class conflict in the film is subtle but well done.

The film shows the green successes of the building, rainwater collection tanks, FSC wood decking, energy saving windows, to name a few, as well as the failures. The bamboo flooring buckled, perhaps due to the new VOC free glues, and 72 floors had to be ripped up and replaced. The wheatboard cabinets swelled, causing installation headaches, but none, it seemed, had to be replaced. The green roof represented the largest disconnect between idea and installation, as every slow step had to be done by hand. The installers didn’t hold back their displeasure. And then all the plants died.

By the end, many of those working on the building come around to the advantages of green building, and even the man who joked earlier about “double flush” toilets argues the merits of green building. Others say that they will tell their grandchildren one day that they built the first green building in Boston. Mr. Phillips takes his daughter on a tour of the completed building. She says it makes her want to join a club at school on being green.

“The Greening of Southie” will air at 9:30 eastern and pacific.

For articles on other Sundance Channel “The Green” features, click below:
TV Review: Sundance Channel’s Big Ideas For A Small Planet – Wear Episode
Eco-Libris: A New Film from the Creators of “King Corn”
Sundance Channel Launches Season Two of “The Green” with “Garbage Warrior”

Green Options

Centerville grad leads Ohio St. to tennis title

Dayton Daily News (Dayton, OH) May 1, 2010 | SEAN MCCLELLAND No team brought as much momentum into this weekend’s Big Ten men’s tennis tournament as Ohio State, and part of the reason was the continued dominance of senior co-captain Justin Kronauge (Centerville). here ohio christian university

Kronauge, finishing his college career with a flourish, collected his third co-Big Ten athlete of the week award for helping the Buckeyes secure their fifth consecutive conference title last week by beating Northwestern and Wisconsin.

Against Wisconsin, Kronauge’s singles triumph clinched the Buckeyes’ 29th win. Kronauge, the third OSU player with at least 100 career singles and 100 career doubles wins, took a 32-3 record and a 21-match winning streak into the tournament, which began festively enough for the top-seeded Buckeyes on Friday, April 30, with a 4-0 quarterfinal sweep of No. 9 seed Northwestern in which Kronauge won again.

Kronauge, ranked No. 31 in the country, now has 143 career singles wins, three shy of tying for the most in school history.

No. 4 seed Wisconsin is next up at the Indiana University Tennis Center for Kronauge and the surging Buckeyes, who have won 22 consecutive matches and are ranked No. 4 in the country.

Talkin’ track – All-American Jeff See (Middletown) was named Big Ten track athlete of the week after a world-class performance for Ohio State last weekend at the 101st Drake Relays in Des Moines, Iowa.

See opened the Friday program with a 3:57.6-second anchor leg to lead the Buckeyes to victory in the 4×1,600-meter in 16:25.42. Then he capped the day with a 1:47.5 anchor as OSU posted the top time in the world this year (7:17.68) in the 4×800, smashing Penn State’s 7:18.72 at the Florida Relays in March. this web site ohio christian university

“It is one of those wins, those performances that you will always remember,” said See, a senior.

– At the famed Penn Relays last weekend in Philadelphia, junior Sam Borchers (Yellow Springs) helped the Penn State distance medley relay place 11th in the Championship of America section with a time of 9:43.46.

A week earlier at the Bucknell Team Challenge in Lewisburg, Pa., Borchers had won the 800 and 1,500 meters. He ran 3:49.81 in the 1,500, then came back in the 800 to secure the double in 1:53.14, winning by a second.

– College of the Cumber-lands (Ky.) junior Elyse Velte (Waynesville) was a triple winner in the Mid-South Conference meet April 23-24 at Rio Grande College. Velte won the 800 meters in 2:21.38, the 1,500 (5:08.60) and the 5,000 (19:21.15). She also ran a leg on the second-place 3,200-meter relay team and was first team all-conference in the 800, 1,500 and 5,000.

Campus tour – A double in Wednesday’s 7-4 win over Marshall gave Ohio State outfielder Zach Hurley (Springboro) a hit to lead off six of the Buckeyes’ last seven games. He also had a team-leading 13-game hitting streak in the works.

– Christian May (Lebanon) intends to play football next season at Muskingum University, a Division III school in New Concord. May was a two-year starter at cornerback for Lebanon.

– Jay Allen (Waynesville) has signed to play basketball at Ohio Christian University in Circleville. The guard averaged 14 points and five assists per game as a senior.


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  • Liam

    This is total BS! It’s the biggest piece of green washing propaganda I’ve seen in a long time – oo let’s pat them on the back for applying green building practises to a modern luxury build – did you not see the thousands of tonnes of concrete used? Or the so called organic bitumen use on the roof – what the hell do you think bitumen is???? I laugh at the ignorance of US building practises – as if they lead the world in this – you know what the rest of the world have been using green practices for centuries and modern high tech green builds employ far more forward thinking techniques than collecting a few gallons of Rain water to water some rich twat’s garden on the 14 floor! If you wanna talk properly about green building look at Scandinavia, Australia, New Zealand – And most importantly the developing world – nothing more green than mud, straw and wood! And stating that a product is second rate like bamboo flooring and organic glues because its not traditional and is green really is ignorant – oh and by the way LEED is an incredibly old and sub standard acredation to build against! America prides itself on being the best at anything it does? Really? You could say “well there were teathing problems to the build because it was all new to them” – it’s not new outside of the US – maybe they should have looked elsewhere outside of their own back garden to look for expertise on the subject – and then patting yourself on the back for doing such a shit job and creating the first green build – when in fact you built an over priced sub standard build, claiming to be super green, failing hugely comparatively to similar builds across the globe, that used more advanced practices years before Boston’s finest applied it, and then slapping a green washed documentary on your product and shipping it out to the world stating how brilliant you are for doing so – please please please tell me you can’t see the true shame behind this piece of film!