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Off the Grid: A Case Study
Part 1

GBCI: 0910000507

This one hour movie explores the design and construction of an off the grid A-frame house in remote Washington.
Eligible for 1 CE HOUR.
  • 1 CE

  • LU/HSW

Rating system: v2009

Published on: March 01, 2014

Average: 3.3 (12 votes)


This one hour movie explores the design and construction of an off the grid A-frame house in remote Washington. We examine sustainable strategies, design team conflict, and rural vs. urban living. Can a family from urban Portland survive living off the grid with no running water, freezing temperatures, and the constant threat of forest fires and famine? Will the designer and contractor strangle each other or finish the house? The human interest story weaves together interviews with the owners, designer, and the construction team to provide an informative narrative on lessons learned during the process.

When you are done with this course, watch “Off the Grid, Part 2” to learn more about this project.


  1. Discuss the 2030 challenge
  2. Describe a net zero building
  3. List the benefits of wood products in this sustainable project
  4. Compare and contrast urban and rural living.
  5. Discuss the design challenges associated with an off the grid project


This course is a part of the following series:
Off the Grid: A Case Study

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Created by

GreenCE, Inc.
San Antonio, TX
United States

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Other sessions included in that series:


Off the Grid: A Case Study
Part 1


Off the Grid: A Case Study
Part 2

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Total 10 commentsLeave a comment

Vice President - Construction Management, Cushman & Wakefield

informative with spots of humor.

Operations Manager, JLL

Very interesting documentary

LEED Fellow, LEED Faculty, Professor and Area Chair: Building Energy Performance, zenerG
Pro Reviewer

In a nutshell: This is a waste of time.

In its current form, this course should be labeled less-than-Basic if that were possible, and definitely not Intermediate. Its has maybe 15 minutes worth of material that is relevant to the learning objectives, and that material is rather basic. Most of the audio is provided by the actors and participants in the design/construction who are clearly not subject matter experts. The owner, the architect and the builders spend a lot of time talking about themselves and their background and their philosophy rather than about the project itself. There are no subject matter experts providing clarity about the complex issues that this project and its experience could address. There is a lock of definitive information provided about many aspects of the project or the issues such a project brings up for discussion. The definition for Carbon Neutral has been incorrectly interpreted by the narrator as it applies to this house. The Additional Resources don't add to the overall course content for an attendee.

There is lack of adequate information density to make this course worthwhile.

Entertaining, but should be categorized as "Beginner".

Director of Sustainable Education, GreenCE, Inc.

Thank you for the suggestion, we completely agree and have made the change.

AIA, LEED AP BD+C, Partner, Fredette Architects, PLLC
Pro Reviewer

It is a sign of the times that this video adopts the popular entertainment genre, Reality TV and a docu-drama format. In 2014, this format is not widely accepted for educational purposes and merits further discussion -- including identification of a more precise target audience and appropriate learning level.

Rather than being labeled "Intermediate", the level of this particular video seems "Basic" due to production decisions such as:
• Only two subject matter experts, the architect and the unseen narrator
• Limited screen time devoted to the voices of the subject matter experts
• Lack of density in the delivery
• Predominantly True/False questions on the quiz.

Director of Sustainable Education, GreenCE, Inc.

Thank you for the suggestion, we have adjusted the course level to beginner.

Owner, USGBC Faculty, LEED BD+C, BREEAM Assessor, ERKE Sustainable Building Design Consult

The sound and video are prepared very professionally, Congratulations! The details from construction phases and site are not so clear and videos from the construction details should have been shown more intensively. All said, the video is quite good.


As someone intending to be an architect, the old lady would be my worst nightmare. It's unfortunate that she bullied them into changing the design. You can really tell the difference in the maturity level of the architect and the self appointed contractor. He designed for them, she built for her. This is a good video to show the difficulties you encounter when building yourself.

GWS - Project Manager II, CBRE

The video is entertaining and somewhat instructional on what not to do (i.e. charge in without a plan).

Speaking to the content of the video, as a 14 year veteran construction manager with a BS in Construction Management, the only key element that this group thought they could do without was a construction manager. Probably one of the most fundamentally flawed execution plans I've ever seen, it really made me want to shout at the screen "GO FIND SOMEONE WITH EXPERIENCE AND AT LEAST ASK THEM FOR ADVICE!!!" Even free advice is better than blind ignorance.

All-in-all, the video is good, but the content was a train wreck for a construction professional to watch.

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