Portland green homes star in green TV show


Oregon plays a starring role in the pilot for a new green TV show and the Portland producer of the venture thinks that will help sell the series.

"The fact that Portland is constantly referred to as the greenest city in America is a big selling point," said Ed Eberle, producer of "The Natural House," which focuses on green-built homes and strategies.

Production wrapped in September on the Oregon-sited pilot, which featured the Parkdale home of Tom Kelly &

president of home improvement company Neil Kelly &

and the family home of natural builder Ron Hays and Christy Carl in Eagle Creek. Yolo Colorhouse and the ReBuilding Center also got play time in "sidebar" tours.

Thirteen 25 minute episodes are planned, shot across what Eberle calls a "green arc" from Portland, Ore., to Portland, Maine. The show's associated Web site will link viewers with resources in their own communities, even as they glimpse what's happening across the country.

"A show about a green home in Oregon might be interesting to that particular audience, but if they have an opportunity to see what's happening in Florida or Texas or New Mexico, that brings it into a different sphere," he said.

The series targets an emerging market segment called "LOHAS" &

lifestyles of health and sustainability that includes products like green building supplies, socially responsible investing, alternative health care, organic clothing and food, and eco-tourism.

"Nationally, there's a huge transformation and interest in green," said Tom Kelly, whose cabinet and building company has seen media attention in its green products and solutions surge.

Getting the show seen by his target audiences is something Eberle's working on. He's tossing up the pilot on social media sites like YouTube and EmPivot, a video-sharing site aimed specifically at green-related media. Having the episode out there will let Eberle pitch, he says, in a tech-savvy way: check out this link, rather than check out this unwieldy pile of paper.

And pitch he plans to. Pinning down a national sponsor and putting the pilot into the hands of networks like HGTV and the Discovery Channel are all still to come.

But Eberle's confident. The show, he said, appeals to an older, more family-oriented demographic. Building green taps into ideas of houses as homes, not fixers to cash out of.

And that idea appeals to buyers from new families to baby boomers to retirees.

"The folks who are building homes like this aren't building them to flip them in a year," he said. "They're building them to raise their families, or redefine their families as empty nesters."

The production process, to a big degree, was about relationships as well. When Eberle &

a former CNN and ABC News cameraman, post-production executive and senior editor of Film Video Magazine moved to Portland from Ashland, he joined the Oregon Media Production Association, where he met people who contributed their time, talent and resources. His Distant Planet Television has other productions in the works &

among them "A Taste of History," a hybrid cooking show and history series and he wants to keep things local.

"For my money, what I'd like to do is keep all these productions in Portland," he said. "Portland has a very vibrant film and television community."

For "The Natural House," the hard part's still ahead. But Kelly said he was impressed by how tuned-in and professional the whole process was and he thinks Eberle's work could wow networks as well.

"I think he's got a chance," he said.

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