Cooling Down the House

July 19th, 2013 | Posted by Lesia 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.

Western Red Cedar is a gorgeous and practical choice for all kinds of  exterior applications including siding, fencing and decking.  It looks great year after year, and weathers the elements and ravages of outdoor life especially well thanks to several intrinsic properties:

Natural Defenses
Thanks to preservatives that occur naturally in the wood fiber, Cedar is intrinsically resistant to moisture, decay and insect damage. These preservatives are also toxic to decay-causing fungi.

Dimensionally stable
Because of its low density and shrinkage factors, Western Red Cedar is one of the most stable American “softwoods.” It lies flat, stays straight, and holds fastenings tightly so your deck or siding stays sturdy and looks great – even with shifts in temperature and humidty.

All Weather
Cedar will stand up to the elements (sun, rain, heat and cold) year after year.

Rated for safety
Cedar exceeds safety classifications for flame spread and smoke development and does not require preservative treatments.

Easy To Work With
Western Red Cedar produces long, lightweight lengths of timber with a fine, straight grain and uniform texture that make it easy to cut, saw and nail with common tools. It is also very light on pitch and resin so it holds glue bonds and takes stain beautifully.

We are very excited to announce that our Seattle and Portland locations are now stocking FSC-certified Western Red Cedar decking, siding and fences from British Columbia. You will love it when you see it!

Trex Decking

A gorgeous deck can add living space to your home, help you get more fresh air and sunshine, and create a comfortable space for  your friends and neighbors to gather on a beautiful day or summer evening! Earlier this spring we covered options for finishes for protecting and beautifying your deck. In this follow-up post we will cover our choice decking materials including tropical hardwoods, composites and more!

 

TREX DECKING
Using a unique combination of reclaimed wood and plastic, Trex decking and railing products provide the best qualities of both materials. The recycled plastic (from sources such as grocery bags and stretch film) shields the wood from moisture and insect damage so there’s no rotting, warping, or splintering.  The wood in Trex comes is the waste product of a wood working factory! This decking does not need a finish, and is resistant to UV damage, and pests. Durable and low-maintenance, Trex will hold up and look great year after year. We have seven beautiful colors to choose from, as well as railing and light options to give your deck the perfect finishing touch.

 

Tigerwood Decking

TIGERWOOD – In-stock in Seattle and Portland
Our FSC-Certified Tigerwood Decking is gorgeous and durable. A dark red tone, with dark and light stripes throughout, this Tropical hardwood has a high structural rating and is very easy to maintain. Tropical hardwoods are dense and resinous woods, full of tannins that protect the wood against rot, so you don’t need a finish. The density of Tigerwood makes it extremely stable and resistant to warping. A deck made of Tigerwood has a 25-30 year life span – even without a finish!

Over time your Tigerwood deck will naturally weather to a silvery grey color.  You can maintain the dramatic appearance of the new wood by applying a finish that offers UV protection such as Vermont Natural Coatings.

 

 

 

Western Red Cedar Decking

CEDAR DECKING – Coming soon to Seattle and Portland
We will shortly be introducing Western Red Cedar decking to our West Coast locations. Naturally resistant to moisture, decay and insect damage, this is a beautiful and classic choice for decking. Western Red Cedar has twice the stability of most commonly available softwoods. It lies flat, stays straight, and holds fastenings tightly.  This lightweight wood is easy to work with, and receptive to a wide variety of stains and finishes. Natural preservatives in the wood fiber make it strong against decay causing funghi, making it extraordinarily rot resistant. 

 

 

Learn more about our great deck finishes here.

Photograph by Adam Golfer for Bloomberg Businessweek

With Earth Day right around the corner, Bloomberg Businessweek highlights Green Depot as an industry leader in the flourishing world of green building. The article covers the inspiring story of our founder Sarah Beatty, the burgeoning growth of the green building industry, and Sarah’s work with the American Sustainable Business Council fighting for safer chemical legislation.

Don’t miss it: With Eco-Friendly Building Supplies, Green Depot Thrives in the Construction Rebound

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.

http://www.greendepot.com/greendepot/product.asp?s_id=0&prod_name=Magnetized+Exhaust+Fan+Cover&pf_id=AMEFC10&dept_id=700&mscssid=DU3V6BPPQJAF8N0X4VCJK3VFNC500439

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