Install Tyroc over new or seasoned concrete

Tyroc panels are just 1/2 inch thick

Let’s face it, choosing flooring for basements can be tricky! Concrete slabs, moisture issues, low ceilings, and un-even surfaces frequently combine to limit your floor covering options to carpet and well, carpet. Many people are happy with their carpeted basements, but if you’ve been longing to install a wood floor downstairs, Green Depot has the answer!

The key to this liberating development is Tyroc Underlayment. Tyroc is an engineered dual-layered subflooring system. The bottom layer is a waterproof, diamond-pattern, moisture-blocking membrane made of recycled rubber and plastic. This moisture barrier works better than a simple layer of plastic sheeting because it makes space between the cement and the flooring surface that allows water vapor to escape. The top surface of each panel is made of non-toxic Magnesium Oxide, a material that is exceptionally well suited for basements because it will not propagate mold or mildew and is fire, water and pest resistant. These panels are superior to a simple wood underlayment because they won’t swell or delaminate and they’ll remain stable as moisture and temperature levels fluctuate.

Installing the ½ inch thick Tyroc panels over your basement floor will help to level the surface of your floor, without costing you headroom. Once it’s down, you can choose linoleum, hardwood, cork, ceramic tile – and yes, even carpet if you like! Whatever flooring you choose, this underlayment will ensure that your floor surface is dry, warm, and quiet.

Serafina Flooring - Engineered for Stability

For added stability in a basement where hardwood flooring is desired, we recommend choosing an engineered floor like our Serafina flooring line. Engineered floors feature a multi-layered cross-grain construction that cuts down on the expansion and contraction of boards. To protect your indoor-air-quality, be sure to choose a product that is made with no added urea-formaldehyde!

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Cellulose Insulation filling the space between the apartment's floor joists. Great for sound insulation.

Cellulose Insulation filling the space between the apartment's floor joists. Great for sound insulation.

Graham Hill’s “LifeEdited” apartment is not only going to be very space-efficient – it will be very energy efficient as well! This past week, construction got started as they put down the essential basic subfloor, and under that, insulation!

First, they removed the existing floor. Then, using Cel-Pak Cellulose Insulation supplied by Green Depot, they filled in all the air space between the joists in the floor. The picture to the right shows how they blew it in right to the top of the boards and then leveled it off before installing the plywood subfloor.

A great choice for the quality of a home’s air, cellulose insulation is made from 100% recycled newspaper. After the newspapers get shredded down, they get coated with borate (a naturally occurring salt) which is an effective pest and fire retardant. This product is free of fiberglass and PVC – two materials which can hurt the indoor air quality of a home. Many people don’t realize that insulation can affect the quality of a home’s air even from behind the drywall – but as air circulates through the space it also passes through walls and crawl spaces. This increases as a home (or in this case, an apartment) settles, and small openings happen between floors and walls (usually behind the baseboards.)

Plywood Subfloor installation complete over insulated floor.

Plywood Subfloor installation complete over insulated floor.

Here’s a quick list of the benefits of cellulose insulation:

Energy Saving
Cellulose insulation is applicable in a wide range of settings, whatever the desired R-value. Cellulose fills gaps around pipes, wires and outlets blocking those hard to insulate areas where drafts can occur.  It even blocks heat transfer at freezing temperatures.

Sound Insulating
The density of cellulose makes it an excellent sound barrier – far surpassing the sound insulating qualities of fiberglass. Putting it between apartments this way will sustantially decrease the sound-transfer both directions! (STC rating of 45 in a 2×4 wall)

Fire Retardant
Cel-pak is impregnated with borates which makes it very fire resistant. Burn tests have shown it resist fire far longer than other types of insulation. Because the insulation contains so few chemicals, if it does succomb to flame,  the smoke it generates doesn’t generally emit the same kinds of toxins that other insulations can as they burn.

Pest Resistant
The same borates used to add flame resistance also inhibit mold and mildew and repel insects and vermin.

Click here to visit our Cel-Pak page.
We carry a variety of other insulation products as well. Click here to see our full offering.



Click here for an introduction to this exciting project!

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Green Holiday Entertaining

November 24th, 2011 | Posted by sschultz in Air Quality | Green Products | Living Green | Waste Reduction - (Comments Off)

Are you looking for ways to make your holidays more sustainable? From reducing waste, to increasing energy efficiency, to reducing toxicity there are tons of ways to make our celebrations more sustainable. Our friends Corey and Lynn over at Celebrate Green have lots of creative ideas for greening Christmas, Kwanzaa and Hanukkah.  Another great resource is Practically Green where you can find tips on avoiding BPA in your holiday meals, green gift ideas and more! Below are some of the green solution available at Green Depot! You can see all of our eco-friendly Holiday Supplies by clicking here.

Holiday LED String Lights
Light up your home this Holiday season with LED lights, the energy efficient version that uses up to 80% less energy to operate than traditional incandescent lights. Use them indoors or out to brighten your holidays

 

 

Dinuba Stainless Steel Water Container
This beautiful stainless steel container is stylish and functional. Use it for storing and serving water at events, or for everyday use on your countertop or in your fridge. This is a perfect alternative to the classic tub of plastic water bottles – even better it’s BPA-free! Great for water – or your favorite festive beverage! Comes in 5L and 15L sizes.

 

Compostable Cups
These compostable 12oz cups are made of Kraft Paper coated with corn-based lining. Great for hot or cold beverages – you can use them for hot apple cider, or rum punch. At the end of your party, unlike those red plastic cups, these don’t have to go to the landfill.

 

Juniper Ridge Room Spray
Few things evoke the feeling of holiday more than the fresh scent of pine trees. Juniper Ridge’s Room Spray was made to capture the smell of the forests of the Cascade Mountain range using real, wild-harvested botanicals, no toxic or artificial chemicals.

 

For more, browse all of our eco-friendly Holiday Supplies by clicking here.

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It’s September, and colder months loom just on the horizon. The days will soon grow shorter, and most of us in colder climates will be spending much more time inside of our homes.

The home environment isn’t necessarily one we readily consider. When we think about living sustainably, we usually consider how our actions might impact the natural environment outside of our homes – how the products we buy affect the health of watersheds, or forests; how they contribute to climate change or preserve biodiversity. We consider how the products we purchase impact the lives of the people manufacturing them.

But products used in the home – whether it’s cleaners, or interior paints, or furniture, or our vacuum cleaners – affect the air quality inside our living spaces, our home environments. Many conventional products (like those containing volatile organic compounds, or VOCs) can detrimentally affect our own health.

Indeed, this is such a legitimate concern for many that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has an entire website devoted to educating folks about the health of their home environments.

As the EPA site summarizes quite well, indoor air pollution is caused by a number of problems. The main cause of concern – which may require a professional evaluation to determine if it is a serious issue in your home – are leakages from any indoor combustion sources such as oil, gas, kerosene, coal, wood, or tobacco.

But the EPA also notes that products used for household cleaning and maintenance, personal care, hobbies, and outdoor sources such as radon and pesticides can contribute to an unhealthy indoor environment. Moreover, building materials, furnishings, and air fresheners can release harmful components into the air more or less continuously. GREEN DEPOT SOLUTIONS There are lots of options available to anyone looking to improve the quality of their home environment.

Here are a few ideas from Green Depot:

1. Testing: Testing is the first step to knowing if you have an issue with your indoor air quality. The National Jewish Health Family Air Care Indoor Allergens and Mold Test Kit is a big step in determining if you have any issues. This kit comes from the nation’s leading respiratory hospital and enables users to screen their homes for the five most common triggers of asthma and allergies, testing for cat, dog, dust mite, and cockroach allergens, as well as 13 species of fungus or mold. Another option for testing indoor air quality is a Radon Gas test kit. Prolab Inc produces both a short term and a long-term radon test kit, providing you a comprehensive analysis of radon in the home.

2. Air Filtration: Breathing air that has been purified of harmful gases is beneficial to the health, as well. The Andrea Air Purifier is the first air purifier capable of absorbing toxins like formaldahyde, using the absorptive properties of living plants. It contains an air fan to draw air into the plant’s chamber and then releases it, purified. Any household plant can be used as the filtration agent.

3. Humidifying: Using a humidifier during the winter months can help alleviate respiratory conditions like asthma, bronchitis, sinusitis, and nosebleeds. The Germ Guardian H1000 Tabletop Humidifier is an Energy-Star rated cool mist humidifier. It runs silently, using ultrasonic technology, and unlike other humidifiers has an anti-bacterial coating to prevent the introduction of mold and mildew particles into the air it is improving. It utilizes a metal diaphragm vibrating at high frequencies to create water droplets which are then expelled into the room.

4. Vacuuming: The Electrolux Versatility Upright Vacuum is a full-featured vacuum cleaner. This cleaner includes a quick-release wand, allowing you to vacuum hard-to-reach spaces on the ceiling and in difficult corners. High impacts plastics and rugged construction make this a durable product, and the anti-odor HEPA filter captures 99.7% of pet dander, dust mites, pollen and mold for healthier indoor air.

- – - – - – -

This may not be a complete list of all the things you can do to improve your indoor air quality (switch over from conventional fiberglass insulation to a healthier option like Ultratouch eco insulation). But, we hope this proves to be a good place to start and give you some ideas!

For green building materials, like eco insulation, as well as many other green products for a sustainable lifestyle, visit: http://www.greendepot.com

For more information about indoor-air-quality, we recommend you visit the EPA website: http://www.epa.gov/iaq/

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A HEPA filter. Image credit: Flickr user John Loo licensed under Creative Commons.

Standard vacuum cleaners can actually aggravate allergies in a home because of the allergens and pollutants they can recycle into the air.  Texas A&M University provides a guide to allergens in the home and vacuum cleaner use, which illuminates a few interesting facts:

1. The average vacuum cleaner – one without a HEPA or UPLA filter – filters particles from 30 to 50 microns in diameter, exhausting harmful allergens that are smaller than this back into the home.

2. The most common airborne particle size is 2.4 microns.  Human hair is 60 – 100 microns; a dust mite is 125 microns; dust mite waste is 10 – 24 microns; mold is 4+ microns; pollen is 10 – 40 microns; bacteria is 3 – 50 microns; fungal spores are 2 – 10 microns in diameter.

3. HEPA filters and ULPA filters are the two most effective and common air filtration systems found on vacuum cleaners.  Of the two, ULPA (Ultra Low Penetration Air) filters are the most effective: they filter out 99.999% of air particles.  HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filters are the next most effective air filter: they filter our 99.97% of air particles – more than enough for all but the most sensitive of allergy sufferers.

For more facts on the effectiveness of air filters for a healthier home environment, visit the aforementioned guide by clicking here.

GREEN DEPOT SOLUTIONS

Green Depot is having a vacuum cleaner sale at the moment, which can help to ensure that the indoor air quality of your home is the healthiest it can be.  Take a look at these green products:

The Electrolux Versatility Upright Vacuum is a full-featured vacuum cleaner.  This cleaner includes a quick-release wand, allowing you to vacuum hard-to-reach spaces on the ceiling and in difficult corners.  High impacts plastics and rugged construction make this a durable product, and the anti-odor HEPA filter captures 99.7% of pet dander, dust mites, pollen and mold for healthier indoor air.

For something a little more basic, the Electrolux Egrorapido is a cordless two-in-one stick vacuum for cleaning floors, and a hand vacuum for spot jobs around the home.  It includes a motorized brush roll, has no bag to dispose of, and includes attachments for a variety of uses.

For green building materials, like eco insulation, as well as many other green products for a sustainable lifestyle, visit http://www.greendepot.com.

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an intensive green roof in manhattan. image licensed under creative commons.

In terms of sustainability and reducing one’s impact on the environment, living in a city can have – perhaps surprisingly – distinct advantages over living in the suburbs or countryside.  New York City, in particular, is consistently ranked as one of the most energy-efficient places to live in America, thanks to our proliferative public transportation system, reliance on natural gas as our primary energy source, walkability, and mixed-use zoning laws.  Indeed, an average New Yorker’s carbon footprint is about one-third that of an average American.

I don’t meant to offer unqualified praise of New York City and its efficiency, because there are significant environmental drawbacks to living in a large city, as well.  The issues we face in New York are substantial: lack of access to green space; the relatively long distance food must travel to feed our massive population; elevated asthma rates, especially in children; the urban heat island effect; and severe water pollution from heavy rains, thanks to our combined sewage-storm water pipes.

But fortunately, different governmental, nonprofit, and civic organizations are working to address these issues, and Sustainable South Bronx is one of them.

In particular, Sustainable South Bronx (SSBX) is working on the expansion of green roofs – the environmentally- and socially-beneficial effects of which are substantial and numerous.

Green roofs, in their most basic form, are living vegetation systems, or gardens, on the roofs of buildings.  They come in numerous forms, shapes, and sizes, but this is one of their great strengths – they can be adapted to function in nearly any scenario, providing substantial benefits to the buildings and communities where they are located.

Typically a green roof consists of an impermeable membrane across the surface of the roof.  On top of this is placed a drainage layer, a filter fabric, a lightweight growing medium, and finally vegetation.  Roofs which are capable of bearing very heavy loads can support even trees and large shrubbery; roofs which are a little weaker typically support lighter-weight flora like grasses and wildflowers.

The benefits are indeed surprising, and actually mitigate many of the urban environmental issues I listed above – even childhood asthma rates.  Green roofs provide insulation from the sun, and lower the temperature of the building, reducing cooling costs in the summer, and reducing heat loss in the winter.  They also perform important functions for the urban water cycle: green roofs absorb rainwater, preventing excess water from running directly into the sewage system which exhausts into local waterways (including the East and Hudson rivers in NYC).  Green roofs also reduce the urban heat island effect through natural shading, insulating, evaporative and evapotranspirative properties.  They also provide more green space to area residents, and reduce air pollution by trapping particulate matter, and reduce greenhouse gases by absorbing more carbon dioxide.  To read more about the numerous benefits of green roofs, feel free to read this report by Sustainable South Bronx on the urban heat island effect. [PDF].

SSBX was founded in 2001 by environmental justice activist Majora Carter.  SSBx actually built the first green and cool demonstration roof in NYC above their offices in the Bronx; in 2007 they expanded their mission to a for-profit green roof installation company, Smart Roofs LLC.  But what is perhaps most innovative about SSBx’s approach to sustainable community development is its keen awareness of the intersection of social issues and environmental issues, the hallmark of an environmental justice approach.  To that end, SSBx has built green roofs with the community in mind, for the purpose of increasing green space in one of the most dense city neighborhoods, with the least access to green space.

A rendering of the Bronx Greenway. Image: NYCEDC.

And not only does SSBx support the expansion of green spaces throughout the Bronx, they do so through community green job training programs, boosting employment and worker activity, while at the same time improving the health of people and the environment in one of the most underprivileged and polluted parts of New York City.  The Bronx Environmental Stewardship Training Academy (BEST) is one of the city’s most successful green collar training programs.  The program has trained numerous people who continue the upkeep of other SSBx projects – like the Bronx Greenway, where they have planted and continue to maintain over 400 trees.

For green building materials, like eco insulation, as well as many other green products for a sustainable lifestyle, visit http://www.greendepot.com.

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