The LifeEdited Apartment transforms to allow for all aspects of home life in just 420 sf

Graham Hill’s LifeEdited apartment is finally complete and, in a recent article, the New York Times is calling it the apartment of the future!

Launched in 2010, the project began as an international competition. Graham Hill (the founder of Treehugger) challenged designers around the world to come up with a design that would allow for a large sit-down dinner party, comfortable lounging for 8, space for overnight guests (with privacy), a home office, a hideable kitchen and more! The winning design was submitted by Romanian architecture students Catalin Sandu and Adrian Iancu and construction began!

The build out of the apartment included many green features from the drywall and the insulation to FSC flooring and 0-VOC paints!

Graham Hill’s project is a thought provoking and inspiring demonstration of just how little space, and how little stuff, it actually takes to live a 21st century American lifestyle. Transforming apartments, along with transforming furniture and compact appliances, are becoming more and more popular and that means that soon, more and more of us may have the opportunity to live large by living small – just like Graham Hill.  Visit the LifeEdited website for more inspiring examples of compact living spaces and innovative, space-saving products.

Last year, Treehugger founder Graham Hill announced a new project called “LifeEdited.”  Inspired by mounting evidence that owning more stuff does not lead to more happiness, he decided to find a way to “have it all” without all the things that frequently seem to go along with that. First, he purchased a much-smaller-than-average apartment in New York City. Then, he challenged designers from around the world to come up with a design for his new 420 square foot space that would allow him to reduce his dependence on stuff and still live comfortably.

Graham Hill had certain requirements for his finished apartment design. Because he needs a home office, likes to host out-of-town guests, hold large dinner parties, and has hobbies that require some storage, the apartment had to allow for the following:
• a sit-down dinner for 12 people
• a comfortable lounging option for 8
• space for 2 overnight guests (with some privacy)
• a home office
• a work area with space for a rolling tool chest
• a hideable kitchen

Creative ideas for apartment designs poured in from all over the world that included minimalist bicycle storage, moving walls, and myriad takes on transformable furniture. You can see all of the designs (including the winning submission) that came in by clicking here. Anyone who already lives in a small space, or who is even just flirting with the idea of downsizing, will find these designs inspiring.

With products from Green Depot like drywall, 0-VOC paints and FSC-Certified woods, the project build-out is finally under way! We’ll be blogging about the project’s progress, so check back for updates.


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For more information about LifeEdited, please visit lifeedited.org

One of our country’s hubs of industry and innovation Chicago has a great sustainability story to tell. Chicago can boast both a  City Climate Action Plan and a City Center for Green Technology, not to mention countless other resources, events, and initiatives to help their residents adopt sustainable practices. One such event is coming up in just a couple of weeks, openhousechicago 2011 (OHC) on October 15 and 16! Presented by the Chicago Architecture Foundation, OHC is a free public event to get you into and behind-the-scenes of over 125 of the city’s greatest spaces and places.

The central themes for this event are sustainability and community—how buildings demonstrate a commitment to energy efficiency and green technology, and how design connects people and places to create great communities. Speaking to those themes, Green Depot Chicago will be a hub for green-building activity that weekend with great speakers, exhibitors and workshops lined up for both days!

Please see below for a complete schedule of OHC Events at Green Depot Chicago. Be sure to add us to your itinerary!

Whether you are an architecture buff, history enthusiast, or cultural novice, OHC is a unique event that’s fun for all ages, locals and visitors, suburbanites and city dwellers. Participating in OHC is like getting a “backstage pass” to a wide range of Chicago’s most important and interesting locations in many different neighborhoods.

OHC EVENTS AT GREEN DEPOT CHICAGO

Saturday, October 15
9am
Choosing Materials, Contractors and Starting with a piece of paper and a plan by Mark Wille
9:30am Hands on: Working with Clay Plasters by Anna Wolfson
10am Insulated Concrete Forms – Benefits and Construction since 1966 by Eric Barton
10:30 USGBC – Educational Opportunites
11am Greening Existing Building with LEED by Jason LaFleur
11:30am Urban Prairie Cabinets: Design A Healthy Kitchen using Frienly Materials by Michelle Silver
12pm Insulation, Weatherization and Energy Audits by Tom Decker
12:30pm Earth Friendly Products: Cleaner Cleaners by Luke Bobek
1pm Impervia Fiberglass Windows by Kim Robinson
1pm Sprayon Sound reducing Coating by John Finn
1:30pm Demystifying Sustainable Coating Technologies and Performance Expectations by John Bennett
2pm Designing with Spray Foam Insulation by Chuck Skopelja
2:30pm Fuhr Industrial Coatings and Coverage by Adam Fuhr
3pm Growth and Desgin Potential of Fiber Cement by Michelle McKenzie
3:30pm The Greenest Home in America, Highest LEED points and Cold Cathode Lighting by Jacek Helenowsi
4pm Energy Star Homes and Businesses/Eco Smart Buildings by George Sullivan
4:30pm Foundations Bamboo Flooring by Stanley Sulkowski
5pm Chrysalis Clear and Creativly Designed Green Wall Panels by Steve Vegler
5:30pm reBuilding EXchange and Deconstruction Reuse by Meegan Czop
6pm Energy Efficiency within the Home:Property Services and Audits by Joe Konopacki
6:30pm Strange Patina – Unique, Vintage, Rare, Antique by Ron Smith

Additional Presentations:
Design and Construction by McKinley Wells
Solatube International by Tim Cofran
Winsol Power by Ron Cowgill
GreenBoo by Dennis Rossi
WCPT AM/FM with Mark Earnest
Illinois Association of Energy Raters and Home Performance Professionals by Corbett Lunsford
Grow Modular and & Readapted by Bill Mitchell
Builder Brothers Builders by Joe Builder
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and more R’s
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Sunday, October 16
10am Impervia Fiberglass Windows by Kim Robinson
10:30am Weatherize for Convective Heat Loss by Bob Chomko
11am Financial Incentives for Green Building and Remodeling by Dan rappel, Bill Seeger, Chris McAuliffe
11:30 Sustainable Back Yards – Compost Bins and Rain Barrels – Chicago Dept of Environment by Mark Wille
12pm PlyBam: A Grade Bamboo Plywood and Countertops by Mark Wille
12:30pm Foundations Bamboo Flooring by Stanley Sulkowski
1pm Experts Expert Consultant: Q & A for an Attainable Green Home by Tim Heppner Chicago Green Homes
1:30pm Eco Friendly Resin Panels for your home, business or design needs by Steve Zegler
2pm Growth and Design Potential of Fiber Cement by Michelle McKenzie
2:30pm Build Your Own Bamboo Tool Box  by Cynthia Main & Blake Sloane & Mark Wille, reBuilding EXchange
3pm Demystifying Sustainable Coating Technologies and Performance Expectations by John Bennett
3:30pm Fuhr Inustrial Coatings and coverage by Adam Fuhr
4pm Ivy Coatings by Joe Silver
4:30pm A Discussion on Acronyms from the Three Rs to the Three Cs by Robert Hammond
5pm Custom Designs: Bamboo, Cork, Reclaimed and Urban Forest Wood by Mark Wille
Looking forward to seeing you there!
 
Visit the Green Depot homepage: www.greendepot.com

Portland's Planet Repair Institute

Portland is among the greenest cities in America – from the way they eat, to the way they get around, to the way they build their homes. Every year, City residents and contractors push the envelope for sustainable materials and energy efficiency, and every year Portland’s Bureau of Planning and Sustainability curates a tour of some of the year’s most exciting projects. They call it the Build it Green! Home Tour and Information Fair and tickets are now on sale!  2011 is the 10th anniversary of the BIG! Tour and Fair, and will take  place on Saturday, September 24th! 

This is a fantastic way to learn about the latest, greatest, and most inspirational things happening in green building in the Rose City! This year’s tour features 20+ homes – each of which incorporate outstanding sustainable elements, from energy-savings to sustainable material use. These homes will be open for ticket holders to tour, and the homeowners will be on hand to answer your questions!

Among the homes open on the tour will be The Bungaloft, a project that features owner-built cabinets, fixtures and other details, made in part with recycled and reclaimed materials. Also featured is the Water House – the first Watersense-certified home in Oregon; and the Planet Repair Institute using cob, earthen plaster, and reclaimed materials. To see a preview of all the homes on the tour click here.

This year, the BIG! Tour will be kicking off with a fun, resource-rich, Information Fair in the Green Depot parking lot! Enjoy live music by the Wicky Pickers, and refreshments while checking out green building product demos and visit our varied exhibitors like: cabinet and furniture makers, solar firms, designers, realtors and more!
You will also be able to ENTER TO WIN a free Caroma Profile dual-flush-toilet (it has a built-in sink!) 

This year’s events are happening on Saturday, September 24th.
FREE BIG! Fair: 10am – 2pm
BIG! Tour: 11am-5pm
Tickets for the tour are available at Green Depot Portland (cash or check only only) or online.
– $15 Adults
– $10 car free/students/honored citizens
– Free for children 13 and under

For information on having an exhibitor booth at the fair please contact sschultz[at]greendepot.com. Availability is limited.

This just in: O Magazine is featuring one of our products, as suggested by Jayma Mays of Glee fame!

Upcyling is the process of taking a discarded or waste product and turning it into something of greater value.  It’s an even more environmentally-responsible method of manufacturing that goes one step beyond recycling.

Brooklyn Slate was founded in 2009 by local entrepreneurs Sean Tice and Kristy Hadeka.  According to Bklyn Slate’s website, the two visited Kristy’s family slate quarry in upstate New York and brought back a few all-purpose boards for home use.  They wound up finding a number of uses for these pieces of slate, which would otherwise have been discarded as a waste product or ground up for gravel: as trivets for tea kettles, and as drink coasters.

The duo decided to produce a line of slate products, sourcing from the family quarry, hand-picking the choicest pieces of discarded black and red slate.  They hand-finish the pieces of slate and treat them for food safety.

The result is a series of beautiful slate products, and Green Depot is delighted to carry several of their products: cheeseboards; garden markers; seed markers; and coasters, among others.

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

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.