Green Building Trends in 2012

December 27th, 2011 | Posted by Lesia in Green Building - (0 Comments)

Predictions for green building trends in the coming year are optimistic, inspiring, and point to a period  of growth and innovation ahead.

Green Building Services, a consulting firm based in Portland, Oregon, put out their predictions for the Top 10 Green Building Trends of 2012 – and they are very promising! From design firms building in efficiencies so that they meet future standards (rather than just keeping pace with current ones,) to increased transparency around product ingredients, to the adoption of LEED practices internationally – their list is jam-packed with reasons to feel optimistic about 2012. According to GBS, sustainable practices in general will continue to be increasingly incorporated into the mainstream – a perfect example of this being efforts by our nation’s sports teams to green their venues and events.

Building-Products.com, an online resource for the building industry, predicts that 2012 will be a year of innovation for green building products  despite today’s slow economy. In a recent article titled A Green 2012: Innovation in Interesting Times they describe a building of momentum in the development of increasingly sustainable and efficient products. Because “innovation breeds innovation” they say that we should expect to see very radical ideas presented in the coming year.

There are other promising signs for 2012 as well! One such is that support continues to grow for  The Safe Chemicals Act of 2011 – proposing an increase in regulation for the use of chemicals in consumer products. Another promising sign is that light bulb manufacturers have announced their intention to  move forward with the phase out of 100 watt incandescent bulbs – despite the last minute move by congress to save the bulbs from extinction.

If the above trends do, in fact, pick up steam in 2012 it will be a very energizing year indeed. We at Green Depot are looking forward to it with great anticipation – and we wish you a very Happy New Year!!

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!

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.


“>
For more information about LifeEdited, please visit lifeedited.org

The new zHome development in Issaquah, WA.

Several years ago, about 20 miles east of Seattle, Washington, a goal was set to build a model for 21st century homes – and the zHome project was born. September saw the completion of this state-of-the art project, and it is revolutionary on almost every level. Zero-Net Energy The buildings have built-in energy efficiencies to help minimize waste – like heat recovering technology – and that accounts for most of the lowered energy use in these homes. The buildings have solar-panels that generate and offset the remaining energy use to achieve net zero energy use and net zero CO2 emissions over the course of a year. Water Conservation zHomes are slated to use just 40% of the average water use of a typical home.  All 10 units have successfully earned WaterSense New Home Certification. These are the first homes in the State, and among the first in the nation, to receive this recognition. The units save water in a number of ways: high-efficiency water fixtures and appliances, rain-garden landcaping, and rain-water capture for use in flushing toilets and laundry. The zHomes are also the first in the Nation to win Salmon Safe certification for their handling of stormwater runoff. Sustainable Materials Use Each unit is finished with low-toxic, eco-friendly and durable materials from floor to ceiling to inside the walls. The bulk of the materials in the project come from within 500 miles of the site. They also used recycled materials in finishes like tiles and countertops; FSC-certified woods for decking, handrails, siding and more; and super-durable materials for siding and roofing to minimize frequency of maintenance and replacement. On top of that, 90% of the construction waste from the building of these homes was recycled or reused. There are many more exceptional qualities to the zHome project that make it one of the most innovative developments in the country today. Visit http://z-home.org to learn more! This project is a model for 21st century homes – they’ve proved that these ideas are scalable – let’s hope they aren’t unique for long! Click here to visit our website.

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
.
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.