When Rodman Schley first set out to reduce his carbon footprint, he never expected that his quest to learn more about activities like green building and beekeeping would turn into a public television show.
But the more he learned, the more he wanted to share his newfound knowledge with as many people as possible.
“I didn’t know what I was doing,” he said. “It was mostly me going out and fumbling around. And I thought, `why not teach people the same thing?’”
More than six years later, Rodman and his wife, Gina, are releasing the third season of Urban Conversion. Centered around living an environmentally-conscious life in an urban location, new episodes will run on Colorado Public Television, a PBS channel, with the season premiere running at 12:30 p.m. on June 29.
The Arvada couple said the new season will tie together lessons learned in seasons one and two as the couple renovates a farmhouse near 74th Avenue and Kipling Street. For the past year and a half, the Schleys have worked toward platinum certification for the house on the LEED environmental impact scale. Buildings that qualify for platinum certification, which is the highest level on the scale, must earn 80 out of 100 points after being judged on five categories, including sustainability and water efficiency.
The house is “about 98% finished,” Rodman said, and the family looks forward to sharing every step of the process in the upcoming season — which was full of new excursions, to sand dunes and hot air balloons, and unexpected challenges, such as waking up before the sunrise and tracking down a lost drone.
The Schleys said they are unsure whether they will create a season four or what their next project would be for that season. Rodman added that, depending on the reception of season three, the family would be more than happy to continue the show.
“I thought it was going to be a lot simpler along the way, and it was a lot of work,” he said — but, he joked, “We’re still married, which is awesome.”
For both Rodman and Gina, the response the show has drawn from all over the country has been incredibly rewarding.
“People reach out from all over asking, `how do I do it?’” she said. “Those are the types of emails that really make me feel like, `yes, I’m glad we did this.’”
The show has also given the family an opportunity to travel around the state, with season three the first of the show to be exclusively filmed in Colorado. In seasons one and two, the family also traveled around the country, including to Washington, D.C. and Detroit.
“When I look at everything we’re doing here (in Colorado), I feel like we rock,” she said. “It makes me really proud to live here.”
The couple also filmed a good deal in Arvada specifically, interviewing different city departments and engaging with businesses in Olde Town.
“The entrepreneurial spirit is a great reflection of Arvadans here,” said council member Nancy Ford, who spoke at a preview event held at The Arvada Tavern on June 26. “I just want to thank (them) for putting Arvada on the map.”
The show will run on Colorado Public Television channel every Tuesday at 9 p.m. and will also show on the Create TV channel. Episodes from the first two seasons are available on the online streaming service Amazon Prime.
“This season was very special for us,” Rodman said. “It was my favorite season yet.”