Energy Video List

All SERC resources may be reserved online by emailing your request to

These videos are available for students and professors of UNI and area teachers to check out. They may be previewed in the MSH 160 or sent through campus mail upon request. Please indicate the title desired, as well as specific subtitle or part if applicable. Requests may be made in writing or by telephone at (319) 273-6912.

The Attached Solar Greenhouse (28 min, 1982): This film explains the basic principles of greenhouse design, shows one being built and glazed and tours a range of different greenhouses from low cost owner built structures and kits, to deluxe custom designed greenhouses.

Bill Loosely’s Heat Pump (10 min, 1976): Bill heats his house by gathering warmth from the ground below the frost level (which maintains a temperature of 40-45 degrees F) and pumping it indoors. How he does it is clearly explained in this film and illustrated with animated diagrams.

Bio Gas From the Sea (29 min, 1983): German and Italian scientists are converting excess marine algae from the Venice Lagoon into bio gas - a versatile, clean-burning fuel.

Bio Gas in Fiji (6 min, 1979): Animal waste is used as an energy resource.

A Building in the Sun (20 min, 1978): A film on the building of the Plant Science Building in New York, the focus is keeping disruption of the environment at a minimum and pay attention to the natural landscaping. The film follows the building process from design through construction.

Building the Brookhaven House (25 min, 1981): The film shows how anyone can adapt standard housing designs to incorporate passive solar features which will save up to 75% of the homeowners fuel bills.

Build Your Own Greenhouse (22 min, 1987): A group of volunteers gather to build an attached solar greenhouse.

Decision: Energy for the Future (11min, 1978): This amusing, animated film demonstrates to children and adults that our dependence on fossil fuel is an extremely recent phenomenon. It also discusses the alternative: renewable energy resources.

Desert Cloud (18 min, 1976): Desert Cloud is a solar air structure which self-inflates and takes off from the desert floor in Kuwait.

Design with the Sun: Passive Solar Architecture (28 min): Solar expert, Bill Yanda, takes viewers on a tour of selected passive solar homes and buildings across the country. With other leading experts, he describes innovative building techniques that utilize passive solar principles.

E.F. Schmacher...As if People Mattered (16 min, 1977): A summary of Schmacher’s economic arguments with reference to the world energy situation.

Emissions and Emotions: Challenges to the European Forest (30 min, 1992): Focuses on the ecological crisis in an area known as the Death Triangle. This is the border area between Poland, Czechoslovakia and the former East Germany. Industrial pollution has transformed forests into lifeless environments and rapid soil erosion is creating a desert like landscape. Forests in Great Britain, Sweden and the Netherlands are also being affected.

Equal Rights to the Sun (25 min, 1979): A film about low cost solar energy options in a city.

Go (10 min, 1978): An energy conservation film for younger children. Narrated by a child, the film examines three sources of energy - gas, water and wood. Three children explore ways they can help save energy.

Harness the Wind (12 min, 1978): An overview of the history and potential of wind power with spectacular animation. The film outlines the refinement of wind machines from the 7th century to the future.

Heat from the Earth (7 min, 1981): Shot in New Zealand, the film shows geothermal heat used directly to heat buildings and as steam to drive turbines.

How to Keep the Heat in Your House (28 min, 1980): Shows how to weatherize a typical house, including where to start, what measures are most cost effective and how to insulate, caulk and weather-strip.

If You Can See a Shadow (28 min, 1979): A comprehensive account of passive solar techniques. Thirty different passive projects are covered, 6 in depth. Three categories are covered - direct, indirect and isolated gain. Includes tours of homes and conversations with owners.

Kilowatts From Cow Pies: The Methane Option (25 min, 1981): An overview of methane bio gas as an energy source. One of the most promising applications is the use of cow manure to provide heat and electricity on dairy farms.

Lovins on the Soft Path: An Energy Future With a Future (36 min, 1982): The “soft path” is renewable energy resources which are favored over the use of “hard path” which is use of coal and nuclear power.

Mac' Mill (30 min, 1976): The use of free flowing energy of a stream to power a sawmill, which was built in 1909.

Opening Your Home to Solar Energy (28 min, 1980): Shows low-cost passive solar options for existing homes, including a simple hot air collector, sun room or south porch.

Pedal Power (16 min, 1978): The history of pedal machines from Leonardo da Vinci to the first human powered flight in the “Gossamer Condor.” Illustrates the concept of energy efficiency.

RECYCLING: Waste Into Wealth (29 min, 1985): This creative documentary features state-of-the-art recycling techniques including curbside pick-up services, drop-off recycling centers, material separation and processing into new products.

Small is Beautiful: Impressions of E. F. Schumacher (28 min, 1978): Visit a monstrous phosphorus plant and an abandoned oil refinery, vivid examples of the kind of wrong-headed economic thinking Schumacher made his life’s work to combat.

The Solar Frontier (23 min, 1977): This film features three different solar houses in the Canadian snow belt—one active, one passive, and one hybrid- all built for average-income families. The cost, performance and technology of each house is explained by the architects and homeowners.

The Solar Promise (29 min, 1980): Emphasizes space and water heating as the most appropriate use of the sun’s energy. Explains the difference between passive and active systems and stresses the value of passive systems and their cost-effectiveness.

Sun Dried Foods (29 min, 1980)

Toast (12 min, 1974): Illustrates our underlying dependence on fossil fuels, takes as its example the production and distribution of a commonplace item, bread. Documents all the fossil fuel inputs from the oil well head, to the toaster.

Tree Power (28 min, 1980): Provides overview of wood’s potential in our energy mix and surveys basic information for those considering home heating with wood.

A Visit with Amory and Hunter Lovins (14 min, 1985): Energy experts, Amory ad Hunter Lovins, designed their own home/office to be a model of energy efficiency, incorporation of the latest passive solar design, super-insulating techniques and energy-efficient appliances. The video tours these places.

Water Power (25 min, 1981): This film uses archival footage and still photographs to trace the history of water power and visits operating units of various small sizes. Manufacturers and consultants are interviewed.

Wood Heat (28 min, 1981): Get basic info about which wood stove will be best for your situation, installation, where to get free wood, the work involved, how to manage your wood lot, safety precautions and responsibilities.

The Froggers Video Series - grades 2-7 - (29 min, 1992)

An Energy Efficient Dog House An experiment in energy conservation, the Foggers decide to build a doghouse for one of their pets. Special focus on insulation, energy efficiency and the construction of double paned windows.
City Lights The Foggers set up a miniature toy train city complete with lights, and must learn how to generate electricity. Special focus on hydro power, nuclear power and pedal power.
Dream Car In an attempt to build their own dream car, the Froggers collaborate and create a soapbox car. Special focus on wheels and bearings, aerodynamics, the fuel efficiency of gasoline engines and soapbox car races.
The Great Electric Car Race The Froggers build a miniature racing car that’s powered by electromagnets, industrial use of magnets and linear motors in vehicles.
IC’S What You Sees The repetitiveness and monotony of hand-drawn animation encourages the Froggers to create a computer animated movie. Special focus on how computers work, computers in the classroom and computer animation.
It’s About Time When the Froggers get stuck in a time machine, they must devise a way to return home. Special focus on the inner workings of clocks and on the variety of ways time has been measured throughout history.
Robots After noticing the similarities between a chicken claw and the human hand, the Froggers decide to build a robot model. Special focus on joints and hinges, industrial use of robots and robot gadgets.
SFX and the Movies After making their doghouse energy efficient by using insulation, the Froggers try heating it with solar power. Special focus on solar collection, heat pumps, and storage batteries
Sound Advice The Froggers make a box that sees sound—learning later that such a device is called an oscilloscope. Special focus on pipe organs, synthesizers, electronic signals and sound vibrations.
Television The Froggers explore the world of advertising, visit a TV studio and create their own Public Service Announcement. Special focus on filming commercials, community television and how television cameras work.
Underwater Worlds The Froggers explore the similarities between setting up an aquarium and scuba diving. Special focus on how fish and humans obtain oxygen while underwater, swim bladders for buoyancy and filtration systems.
Wet and Wild Frog Trap From water fights to building a Rube Boldverg-type water trap, the Froggers learn about pumps, water wheels and flush valves. Special focus on municipal water supply systems and waste treatment plants.

The Greenhouse Conspiracy (55 min)

The Secret Life of Central Heating Systems

Water Power (16 min)

Wind (12 min)

Wonder Why: Hot and Cold (26 min)

Wonder Why: Electricity

Geothermal Energy (28 min, 1993): Locations in England, France and Italy are the sites for exploring the prerequisite structure below the Earth’s surface to tap geothermal sources.

Batteries for Energy Management (15 min)

Bringing Solar Electricity to Earth (29 min)

Photovoltaics: Utility Experience and Meeting Utility Needs (16 min)

Solar Electricity Today (7 min)

Our Plan Trace the turbulent, rapid rise of the world’s biggest business, how a visionary but ruthless Rockefeller controlled it and how reporter, Ida Tarbell, took him in one of the most famous muckraking exposes ever.

Empires of Oil Witness capitalism on a grand scale: how Shell Oil and Royal Dutch merged, then challenged the supremacy of Rockefeller’s Standard Oil. A compelling tale of how oil transformed everyday life in the farthest corners of the globe, made Russia a great oil power and helped the Allies win in WWI.

The Black Giant It’s the roaring 20's and the magic of oil touches everyone, from millions of new car owners to hopeful Texans. The American oil industry wrestles with shortage and surplus, as flamboyant entrepreneur Calouste Gulbenkian, stakes his claim in Iraq.

War and Oil The untold story of WWII unfolds: how oil dictated strategy to Hitler; how lack of oil slowed Japan’s war machines and how oil ultimately determined victory or defeat. Features rare footage on the critical impact of oil on decisive military events.

Crude Diplomacy Post-WWII America awakens to the strategic importance of oil, and witnesses a key moment in history when oil production shifts from the U.S. to the Middle East. An extraordinary cast paint a global portrait of how oil shaped the world economy and politics.

Power to the Producers It’s the heyday of cheap oil, the dawn of the Hydrocarbon Society and the introduction of a prosperous new automobile culture for the Americans. Follow the heroes and antiheroes, plots and counter plots as the producing countries and the independent oil companies challenge the “Seven Sisters” and open a new era in world oil.

The Tinderbox Relive two decades of upheaval that shook the world and changed our lives as power shifted, and nations and companies jockeyed for position amidst embargoes, shortages and surpluses. A unique view of the rise of the OPEC era, beginning with the British withdrawal from the Persian Gulf and ending with the burning oil wells of Kuwait.

The New Order of Oil The Gulf War marked the beginning of a new era for the Hydrocarbon Society. This program explores the relation of oil and environmental conscience, and the technological race to balance energy, economic and ecological needs in the information age.

Wisconsin Energy Education Workshop, (1987)

Tape 1 of 3 Systems Operation Center (42 min); Prairie du Sac (WPL) Hydrogeneration Plant  (17 min); Columbia Power Plant (WPL), Portage, WI (55 min)

Tape 2 of 3 Generating Station (20 min); U of W, Madison engineering speakers (1 hour, 20 minutes)

Tape 3 of 3 Energize (1 hour, 33 min): A slideshow on video covering the Workshop.

Assignment Discovery-Energy (17 min): Short segments covering renewable energy sources are presented including Hydropower, wind, geothermal, solar, chemical fuel cells and controlled nuclear fusion.

An Astounding Adventure

Balancing Coal and the Environment (29 min, 1992)

EEI 2000

Energy Audit; Webster City, IA

Energy, Technology, and Society (48 min)

Flames Video (11 min)

Greenhouse Crisis: The American Response (11 min, 1989)

It’s an Electric Life

Sam’s Most Electrifying Account

Science on Saturday

Scientists and the Alaska Oil Spill (22 min, 1992): The 1989 Alaska’s Prince William Sound oil spill. Learn from the experts who worked behind the scenes and on the front lines leading—scientists in marine biology, chemistry, wildlife physiology and shoreline ecology—as they discuss the techniques and procedures used to clean up the Sound and discuss its outlook for the future.

10 Quick Ways to Cut Your Energy Bill (21 min)

Theories and Conflict: The Origins of Natural Gas (22 min)