Ask Dr. Ryan: Environmental videos for the classroom

by Stephanie Chasteen on December 25, 2010

It is such a pleasure to see something done well.  And that is the case with the latest initiative from one of my fellow scientists and science communicators here in Boulder — Ryan Vachon.  Ryan’s got a PhD in geology, and is now plying his trade making educational videos on science.  And man, this guy has a talent.

His latest project is a series of 5-minute videos on different environmental topics — from pine beetles (devastating the forests in Colorado), sedimentary rocks, leaves, and more.  These would be great for the classroom — Ryan’s engaging and accurate.  Here is the one on home heating — lot of good lessons for the physics classroom here.  Special bonus:  Ryan hanging from the ceiling to point out the heating ducts!

More about Ryan here.


Zane Selvans December 25, 2010 at 5:29 pm

You might be interested to take a look at the German PassivHaus (Passive House) standards. It turns out that if you seal and insulate a building so well that just the thermal output of the people, lights, and electronics inside the house, plus a little bit of winter solar? gain, is enough to keep it comfortable, you can do away with the furnace (and heating bills) altogether, which more than pays for the extra insulation and high performance windows. Here’s a decent talk about the building technique. The EU is moving to this as their building energy efficiency standard.

sciencegeekgirl December 26, 2010 at 7:06 pm

That reminds me of the experimental building projects here in Colorado, with the Rocky Mountain Institute. Apparently Amory Lovins’ house is insulated so that if it gets a bit chilly, he just hops on the stationary bike in the first floor and it heats up the house in 20 minutes. Very cool.

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