Creating a room for your new baby is a very big part of getting ready for his or her arrival! But, picking the colors and prints for fabric and walls and finding the right furniture are only part of the picture. It is important to make sure that the materials and supplies you choose for the room support your child’s health and development as well! Babies and small children breathe in more air for their body weight than adults do – which means that their exposure to air pollution can actually be greater than for adults – at critical stages of development too.  In this blog post, we offer Green Depot solutions to reduce your child’s exposure to chemicals of concern in the nursery like Formaldehyde, PVC, Flame Retardants, and more.

Flooring
Flooring is one of the greatest sources of chemical off-gassing in a home – and since small children often spend a lot of time on the floor, their exposure to those chemicals can be greater. Choose flooring that is PVC-free, has no-added-urea-formaldehyde, a non-off-gassing finish or chemical treatments of other kinds.

- Wool Carpet is an excellent choice for a nursery. Naturally flame resistant and easy to clean, wool carpet does not need the stain treatments and flame retardants that can get added to synthetic carpeting. Wool feels great soft and cozy underfoot and is known for its durability too – so it should last well into (or past) your baby’s college years!

- Cork Flooring is a quiet and resilient flooring option. This beautiful flooring is available in planks that click together and “float” without the need for adhesives.

- Natural Fiber Area Rugs are a great way to add a pop of color or pattern to baby’s room! Put one down over your wood floor to quiet footfalls during naptime.


Paints & Finishes
People say that high contrast and colors are great for a baby’s nursery so go bold if you want to, but choose a zero-VOC paint! We have several paint lines that are high on performance and  low on toxins. Click here to see our full selection! The finishes that you choose for flooring and furniture are equally important. Look for wood finishes that are low-toxic and won’t off-gas into the room for months. OSMO’s Polyx Oil wood finish meets German regulations for safety on children’s toys; and Vermont Natural Coatings is made from whey – a by-product of Vermont’s cheese industry!

 

Clothes and Bedding
When choosing bedding and clothes for our child make sure that there are no chemical hazards lurking. Believe it or not, some baby bedding and even pajama’s can contain toxic flame retardants! These chemicals are added with good intentions, but scientists are beginning to tie them to serious health and developmental concerns. Fortunately, we have a full line of organic cotton clothing and bedding products that are free of chemical treatments.


Baby Care and Toys
When buying baby care items avoid plastics as much as possible as they can contain chemicals called pthalates, many of which are known endocrine disruptors. We have a full category of options here.

- Diapers: 60% natural materials, and chlorine free for when you need diapers on the run
- Baby Bottles: made from glass with silicone sleeves for grip
- Silicone nipples: latex, BPA, phthalate and PVC free

Latex, BPA, phrhalate and PVC free
Latex, BPA, phrhalate and PVC free


Laundry & Cleaning
It is a little ironic that many of the cleansers available on the market today can actually pollute our homes with toxic fragrances and dangerous anti-bacterials at the same time that they claim to be making homes cleaner. Check out the Environmental Working Group’s website to see how the cleaning products in your home rate for chemical safety. We’d like to highlight these healthy options for keeping your house cleaning as clean as possible:

- Charlies Laundry Soap: hypoallergenic, non-toxic, biodegradable and concentrated – use approx 1 oz per load!
- Green Depot All Purpose Cleaner: our house brand, biodegradable, non-toxic and refillable at our refill stations
- AFM SuperClean: super concentrated, tough enough for toilets and safe enough for dishes!


Green Depot Registry!
If you’re expecting, our online registry program makes it easy to share the products you’d like with your community! Click here to sign up!

 

Want to look deeper into chemical safety for kids?

+ The Center for Environmental Health has an excellent page on Children’s health at home here.
+ CHEJ is another informative resource for information about chemicals and child health.
+ The State of Minnesota also has some great information here.
+ Read what the American Lung Association says about Indoor Air Pollution here.
+ The Environmental Protection Agency has a very informative website about child health here.

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Cooling Down the House

July 19th, 2013 | Posted by sschultz in Green Homes - (0 Comments)

July 19, 2013: NY1 has reported record-setting heat at LaGuardia airport  — 100 degrees — the highest on this date since 1977!  So, it seemed like a good time to review some steps you can take around your home to help keep you and your family comfortable through the hot summer months.

1) Keep your blinds and curtains drawn
While this can sometimes make your home feel somewhat dark and maybe dreary compared to the bright day outside, it is an easy step to help keep your interior shady and cool. Blocking the suns rays can go a long way. If you need to replace your window coverings, consider blinds that have insulating qualities. Comfortex offers window coverings that provide R-Value in addition to privacy.

 

 

2) Turn on your fan
A good fan will use a lot less energy than an Air Conditioner and keeping the air circulating will help you feel cooler. Based on the sleek design of a jet engine, our Charly Fans can move up to 81,000 cubic feet of air per hour! Maximize the cooling effect of the fan by keeping a spray bottle of water handy to spritz your brow. Refreshing!

 

 

 

3) Seal the cracks around your home’s doors and windows
Maximize the effects of your air conditioner by keeping the cool air inside. This is a tip that we bring up a lot — but it bears repeating: Caulk the cracks around your door and window frames to prevent air exchange with the outdoors. If there is existing caulk in the cracks that is failing, scrape all of it out before applying new product.

 

 

4) Insulate Everywhere
Fully insulating your home will help keep you cool and save you money.  Attics can especially heat up in the summer and will work against your air conditioner as it works to cool your home down. Make sure that you have great insulation up there, and that it is fully covering the floor of the attic – even the door to it! You might also consider lining the inside of your roof with a reflective insulation like Nest or Reflectix – this will bounce the heat-waves away from your attic in the summer. Once you’ve checked the attic, check the rest of the house. Even small gaps can make a big difference. Ultratouch Multi-Purpose rolls are perfect for filling crannies like the  areas around pipes, newly installed vents, and more.

 

 

5) If you have an attic, make sure that it is ventilated
An attic fan, installed with proper vents from which to draw, can have a huge effect on the temperature in your attic, and the load on your electricity.  The SolaTube Solar Attic Fan attic fan is one of the most technologically-advanced, environmentally-friendly ventilation solutions available. It circulates air and ventilates your attic space, to help keep your home cool and comfortable. Powered by Solar Star’s proprietary 10-watt solar panel, the Solar Star attic fan will not add to your energy bill while it helps lower it!

 

 

6) Stay hydrated
Dehydration can exacerbate the discomfort of the heat and cause some serious health problems too. Carry a re-fillable water bottle with you at all times! The Vapur Anti-Bottle is collapsible and freezable too so you use it as an ice pack until the water inside melts! It conveniently flattens out when empty so it can easily be tucked away into a bag or pocket.

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Sometimes the changes in our global climate seem like so large of a problem that it can be hard to imagine how one individual, family, or community can make a difference. Do not be discouraged! There are actions that you can take this month in your home, apartment and office that can make an impact.
“How?” you ask…
Through improvements in energy efficiency!

Before we dig into some action ideas, take a look at some of the points from the Environmental Protection Agency’s 2009 report Buildings and their Impact on the Environment: A Statistical Summary:

  • + Buildings in the United States contribute 38.9 percent of the nation’s total carbon dioxide emissions, including 20.8 percent from the residential sector and 18.0 percent from the commercial sector (2008).
  • + Buildings accounted for 72 percent of total U.S. electricity consumption in 2006…
  • + The annual mean air temperature of a city with 1 million people or more can be 1.8–5.4°F (1–3°C) warmer than its surroundings. In the evening, the difference can be as high as 22°F (12°C)… One study estimates that the heat island effect is responsible for 5–10% of peak electricity demand for cooling buildings in cities.
    (Italics are ours, not the EPA’s)

As illustrated above, buildings (both residential and commercial) contribute greatly to energy use and carbon dioxide emissions which contribute, in turn, to climate change. Therefore, increasing the efficiency of our buildings should help slow the changes we’re seeing. Anyone who lives and or works in a building (i.e.: most Americans) has a place where they can (through direct action or influence) make a difference. Actions taken to conserve energy in our built environment have the dual benefits of fighting climate change and saving you (or your landlord, or your company) money on the electric bill.

Not sure where to start? Here are some ideas both big and small:

Caulk The Cracks: Sometimes even the smallest gaps can make a big difference. Running a bead of caulk around window and door frames helps stop drafts and save energy. Cover the Fan: If small cracks make a difference, imagine what a 10″ hole can do! Stop unwanted energy loss through your exhaust fans. These magnetic covers are easy to put on and take off as needed.
Seal the Pulleys: Permanently stop cold drafts infiltrating your house through the pulley assemblies inside your casement window frames with easy to install Pulley Seals.

 

 

Paint the Roof White: The heat island effect of cities can be greatly reduced by painting roofs white – this reflects the sun’s rays rather than absorbing them so buildings stay cooler.  Get Double Pane Performance:
Indow Windows interior inserts give you energy saving performance equivalent to replacement windows without the cost, hassle and waste of replacement and allow you to keep the charm of your originals.
Blow in Some Insulation: With cellulose insulation, you can add significant R-value to your walls without taking the house apart!

 

Still more ideas…

 

1. Pipe insulation, shown above, keeps pipes from freezing, sweating, and losing heat.

2. Switch and outlet gaskets prevent drafts through places we might not consider particularly drafty, but are a source of energy loss.

3. Xtra-Foam seal drafty windows, doors, and leaks with this low expanding, multipurpose foam.

4. Air conditioner weatherseals seal the gaps around air conditioners and in windows

5.  Indoor window insulating kits seal windows airtight.

6. Water heater insulation jackets make home water heaters more efficient.  Handheld adhesive foam prevents leaks around doors and windows.

7. Bonded Logic Ultratouch Mini Rolls help to seal known gaps in insulation, reducing noise and energy loss.

8:  Air conditioner covers prevent winter air from entering through a window unit air conditioner.

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Whether you love throwing large backyard barbecue parties, or prefer lounging quietly in the sun with a  good book, a beautiful deck is the foundation for enjoying your outdoor spaces at home. Winter is almost over and soon it will be prime deck-sitting time. In part-one of this two-part series we’ll give you some ideas for finishing your deck (whether it be a traditional wood, or an exotic species).  In part two, we’ll talk about the different benefits of our decking options!

 

 

 

New Deck Finish: Osmo Deck Oils

Osmo Deck Oil is easy to apply (almost impossible to screw up, actually) and it will not flake, peel, blister or crack over time. This finish penetrates into the wood grain, strengthening it from within and allowing the wood to “breathe”  as temperature and humidity fluctuate.  It smooths the surface of the wood and protects it against damage from weather, water, beverage spills (wine, beer, soda pop, etc), and the colored versions even protect against damage from UV rays (the Clear “Teak” does not offer UV protection.)  One of the other exceptional benefits of Osmo Deck Oil is that it is very easy to maintain. Should you decide that your deck could use another coat of finish, you don’t have to sand or apply a chemical stripper! Just clean the deck well, and then apply another coat of deck oil right on top of the old.

+ Will not crack, flake, peel or blister
+ Penetrates the wood grain and strengthens from within
+ Easy, “no-mistakes” application
+ Effective on exotic and domestic species
+ Great colors!

 

Refresh Your Existing Deck: Osmo Wood Reviver Power Gel

If you have a deck that is looking old and weathered but still has lots of structural life left in it, Osmo Wood Reviver Power Gel will bring back its good looks! With just one application, this innovative new product rejuvenates, revitalizes, refreshes, and returns resilience to exterior wood that has been dulled, grayed, and weathered. Osmo Wood Reviver Power Gel restores the natural character of exterior woodwork to near its original color, gently without damaging the wood grain. After treating your deck with the power gel, finish it with one of Osmo’s Deck Oils for long-lasting beauty.

+ Refreshes and cleans weathered wood decking and exterior furniture
+ Revives resilience and color without damaging wood
+ Ready to use, no need to mix or measure
+ Brush it on, wash it off

 

More Deck Products:

 

Vermont Natural Coatings: Using the strength of natural whey proteins and water-based resins, this finish is waterproof and provides protection against mildew, mold and harmful UV rays. Acri-Soy Penetrating Clear Sealer: This finish, based on  natural plant oils protects deck surfaces by creating a molecular bond and seal. For a stained surface, apply a coat of TimberSoy Natural Wood Stain first – then finish with a top coat of Acri-Soy. Ready-Strip Deck Brite:
This non-acid brightener and cleaner is safe for decks and other exterior surfaces. Back to Nature Ready-Strip Deck-Brite contains no acid, is biodegradable and non-flammable


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A Bathroom for 2013

February 12th, 2013 | Posted by sschultz in Green Homes - (1 Comments)

Are you thinking of remodeling your bathroom this year? Good news! It is now easier than ever to work sustainable and low-toxic elements into a bathroom renovation. From the flooring to the accessories, here are some examples of product choices to help you make your bathroom more healthy and more environmentally friendly. You will see that you don’t have to compromise style!

Water Savings
For a sustainable bathroom remodel, water savings is “low-hanging fruit”. With just three simple fixture choices (toilet, shower head and faucet), your bathroom can become a paragon of water conservation. Caroma dual-flush toilets combine cutting-edge efficiency with stellar performance. These water saving fixtures have an average flush of just 1.2 gallons, and their 4″ trap practically eliminates clogs! For water savings in your shower, Oxgenics Shower Heads are designed to use up to 70% less water than standard fixtures while delivering an invigorating and spa-like shower experience. Finally, when considering the bathroom sink, one of the easiest ways to save water is to turn off the tap while brushing your teeth! You can also install an inexpensive faucet aerator to cut your use even further.

Caroma Somerton: This Dual-Flush fixture has an average flush of just 1.2 gallons. Water Sense Certified. Oxygenics Shower Heads: A full-power shower head for  spa-like experience – using 70% less water than normal showerheads! Faucet Aerator: Save water, increase velocity and reduce splash! Great for kitchen and bathroom sinks.

 

Vanity and Surround
A gorgeous sustainable vanity is easy to achieve. Start with a base of cabinetry with no-added-formaldehyde and sustainably harvested materials like Executive or Bellmont Cabinets (pictured above). You can get the gorgeous lines and visual textures of marble or granite with an american-made countertop like Cambria, Vetrazzo or IceStone. These surfaces are durable enough to withstand the frequent cleaning and exposure to toothpaste, cleansers, and personal care products typical in the average bathroom while continuing to look great! Tile backsplashes, accents and tub-surrounds can provide splashes of color and offer an easy-to-clean surface. Choose a company that uses recycled content like Fireclay Tile or Oceanside that use post-consumer waste like recycled glass bottles and old toilets for their raw materials.

Bellmont Cabinets: Beautifully crafted cabinets with recycled wood fiber and no added formaldehyde. Fireclay Tile: A myriad of gorgeous styles and colors – made from recycled ceramic and glass in California. Cambria Vanity Top: Twice as strong as granite, Cambria will resist most stains and is easy to clean.

 

Flooring
When choosing flooring for a bathroom one simple phrase rules: EASY TO MOP UP! Many people love the look and feel of tile on the floor of their bathroom which has the benefits of being very durable and generally easy to clean. Another classic choice for bathroom flooring is Marmoleum, a kind of classic linoleum. Completely PVC free, Marmoleum is made of Linseed oil, wood flour, wood resin, natural pigments and a jute backing. Unlike your grandmother’s linoleum, Marmoleum comes with three layers of factory finish and does not have to be waxed  on a regular basis. It is also super for bathrooms because it comes in sheets (uninterrupted surface makes it easy to clean), it is naturally anti-microbial, and it comes in a vast array of colors so it can fit into any design. If you like the idea of using sheet flooring in your bathroom but want something new and a little different, Capri Sequel may be the option for you. This  engineered combination of cork and rubber offers a subtle slip resistance and longevity.

 

Marmoleum: PVC-free and available in every color imaginable, Marmoleum comes in sheets and can even be inlaid Capri Sequel: Sequel is comfortable under foot, durable, slip resistant, and contains post-industrial recycled content Green Depot Tub & Tile: Formulated with a low pH organic salt, this  concentrated, non-corrosive tub & tile cleaner emits no irritating fumes.

American Clay is a great alternative wall finish for bathrooms.

Walls

A great challenge for bathrooms, especially full bathrooms, is the potential for mildew growth. Fortunately there are some wall finishes that actually work to frustrate the growth of that unsightly and unhealthy stuff. American Clay, great for well ventilated bathrooms, is a dynamic and versatile earth plaster that is naturally resistant to mold growth. If standard paint is more to your liking, use Moldex or Yolo Colorhouse Paints which both contain mold-inhibiting ingredients.

 

Cleaning and Accessories
Once you’ve got the big renovation done, here are some products to keep the healthy, green theme going:

Grunge Buster Grout Brush: Made of  recycled plastic and bamboo, this brush is perfect for cleaning tile AND hard-to-clean grout simultaneously. EVA Shower Curtain: These stylish non-PVC shower curtains do the job without off-gassing Poly-vinyl choride toxins! Green Depot Tub & Tile: Formulated with a low pH organic salt, this  concentrated, non-corrosive tub & tile cleaner emits no irritating fumes.


Click here to see more of our green bathroom accessories.

 

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Renovating a basement can be a great way to add living space to your home without the expense of building up or out! Here at Green Depot we have several products that lend themselves so well to this kind of project, you could almost say they were made for it! Because they are usually at least partially underground (below-grade) basements are often cold and even a little damp feeling, but they don’t have to stay that way.

Insulating your basement:

   
Tyroc Underlayment:  Created for basement applicatons, this subfloor
paneling evens out small variances, acts as a vapor barrier and allows the cement under your flooring
to breathe. This subfloor is impervious to mold, mildew and moisture. Install your flooring of choice over it.
Nest Radiant Barrier Insulation:   This reflective insulation blanket adds an R value of 12.5 with just 1/4 inch of material. A water proof vapor barrier, moisture will not affect the insulating qualities. Reflects warmth back into your basement. Ultratouch Cotton Insulation:  Made from cotton, this insulation is pest, mold and fire resitant. Available in a range of R values Ultratouch adds a cozy cotton blanket to your basement without any fiberglass, or formaldehyde.

  

Finish your basement with products that bring warmth and coziness – and protect your Indoor Air Quality:

   
Cork Flooring:  Made from a rapidly renewable resource, cork floors are warm, resilient and comfortable underfoot.  This natural flooring is durable, quiet, and comes in a wide range of styles and applications. Wool Carpet:  Few materials invite you to take your shoes off and feel cozy like wall to wall carpeting can. Wool carpets bring warmth, style and comfort without the need for chemical stain masters and flame retardants that  can offgas, plus wool is a fast growing, renewable fiber! YOLO Colorhouse Paints:  Basements tend to be short on natural light, so the warmth and vibrance provided by their designer colors makes YOLO a great choice for a refinished basement. In addition to a harmonious palette, all YOLO paints are intrinsically mold and mildew resistant whatever color or sheen you choose.

 

Complete the job with a couple of essential appliances to maintain the comfort of your new living space:

   
BioSmart Heaters:  Infrared heat is perfect in a basement because it creates a much cozier feeling than more common heaters.  The unique shorter wavelength is a penetrating, direct source of heat, much like the sun. BioSmart heaters heat the space evenly from floor to ceiling – warming up the objects rather than simply the air.   Austin Air FIlters: Keep your new basement living space feeling clean and comfortable with a high quality air filter that will help control dust, mold spores, chemicals, pet dander, odors and more!

If you are thinking of finishing your basement – whether for extra guest space or craft space,  an office or a game room, the healthy and environmentally friendly materials above will contribute to making your space comfortable and inviting.  Work with a contractor to be sure that your basement is suitable for renovation (no leaks), and that you have the proper building permits as required in your area. A contractor will also know the proper tools for framing in a concrete setting – which can be a little tricky.

Click here for a helpful post about basement renovations on Diynetwork.com!   


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