The EcoDorm at Warren Wilson College

Imagine the state of your average college dorm room: lights left on, electronics left charging, garbage and recycling thrown together in the same bin. A dorm can seem like the last place a person would find any sort of concern for the environment. But, as it turns out, sustainability is now spreading to college campuses across the country! Programs such as The Sustainable Campus and others are working with universities to help them reduce their carbon footprint and provide eco-friendly housing to students. All over the country, schools are adjusting how they manage waste, protect indoor air quality, and save energy.

From instituting programs that encourage students to change their behavior (turning off lights, unplugging electronics, and sorting waste) to adopting responsible building practices, colleges and universities are making great strides towards sustainability while improving their bottom line. In 2009 The New York Times  reported that more than 600 U.S colleges and universities had already made a pledge to become carbon neutral; and more than 90 dorms across the country were LEED certified. For example, they cite the EcoDorm at Warren Wilson College in North Carolina that consumes two thirds less electricity than a conventional building of the same size. Another example of a green dorm is a LEED Certified student residence building at Harvard University that features renewable bamboo flooring, low VOC finishes, and regionally sourced siding with recycled content.

If you happen to know a student who is moving into a dormitory this fall, help them (and their roommates) go green in their dorm room with these Green Depot solutions!

Keep Warm With Wool
Help save energy by turning the thermostat down and using a comfy throw blanket while catching up on course work! The Eco-Wise Pendleton Throw is 100% wool and is machine washable. Wool is a naturally renewable fiber and the fabric in these blankets has been Cradle to Cradle certified.




Prevent Phantom Energy Use
For all your electronics, from your phone to your laptop, a TrickleStrip –Saving Surge Protector will greatly reduce the amount of vampire/standby energy consumed by dorm electronics. Be sure to flip it to “off” when going out!

  

  

Wake Up On Time and In Style
After a late night studying, it is important to have a high quality alarm clock. The bamboo-clad Vers Alarm Clock Radio is compact, and is also a dock for an iPod. Gorgeously hand crafted, this unit cuts down on plastic use and the company plants 100 trees for every tree they use in production.

 

  

Deodorize the Dorm with Plant Oils – Not Petro-Chemicals
It’s common for every college dorm room to have that smell every once in a while. Be it from people living in close quarters, or the resonance of that pizza from three days ago, or maybe you can’t put your finger on it. Whatever it may be, Airscense to the rescue! This room freshener doesn’t cover up odors; it neutralizes them using a petro-chemical-free formula.

 

Charge Electronics Anywhere on Campus
The Solar Back Pack, efficiently charges all hand-held electronics through built in solar panels even as it holds textbooks and a laptop in its spacious main compartment. On a cloudy day, the charger can also be powered up using a USB power cable.



Zoe Bloom contributed to this post.

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Green Depot Mercer Rug: A luxurious, hand-tufted, cut-pile rug in rich colors, and various sizes. GoodWeave Certified.

Do you know who made that area rug you’re about to buy? There can be a lot of questions when it comes to judging if a rug is sustainable or not. From what it’s made of, to where it comes from, to who made it – there is not often a lot of information available! Fortunately, there is an organization that is working to shed some light in the industry: GoodWeave International.

GoodWeave International (GWI, formerly known as RugMark) is an organization working to end child labor and increase sustainable practices in rug manufacturing. Taking a stand against child labor in the rug industry is important because children employed making rugs can develop spinal injuries, respiratory problems, and impaired vision as a result of the work. In addition to physical ailments, the lack of educational opportunities for these children can also have a lifetime’s worth of repercussions. The goal that drives GWI is simple, yet aggressive: to grow demand for GoodWeave certification so that rug manufacturers around the world will embrace socially responsible practices and end the use of child labor in the rug industry.

To be certified, a company must apply and meet GWI’s strict standards like requiring employees to be 15 years of age or older, fair labor practices and healthy, sustainable working environments. To make sure that a company remains true to their high standards after being certified, GWI sends inspectors to licensed manufacturers to visit on a random, yet regular basis. The GWI uses the funds raised through its certification program to provide educational opportunities for former child laborers.

All Green Depot Area Rugs carry GoodWeave Certification. Hand woven in India out of the finest natural fibers like wool, hemp and jute, each beautiful creation is certified by GoodWeave International! All are 100% biodegradable, made from renewable materials, vegetable dyes, and are child labor free.

Whatever the style of your home, an area rug can instantly update the mood and look of any room in the house. We carry a pattern for everyone; from the bold, geometric “Ikat Rug” to the fun, imaginative “Smart Car Rug,” ideal for children. These are great for the person looking for stylish, sustainable, and savvy decor.

   
Green Depot Ikat Rug: These handwoven, wool area rugs feature designs that are as dramatic as these rugs are sustainable. Green Depot Smart Car Rug: Perfect for a child’s room! Made with exclusively natural materials. Green Depot Delancy Rug: This plant fiber area rug is handwoven in a contrasting black and natural diamond pattern.

 

Green Depot Area Rugs are now 45% off and can be found at our Seattle and Portland locations. Shipping is available!

Zoe Bloom contributed to this post.

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Many people think that weatherization is just for protecting a home and its occupants from the ravages of winter storms and cold temperatures, but in fact, it is just as important in the summer. Improvements to a home’s weatherization can also help your home stay cool when the mercury rises, increasing your comfort and drastically decreasing your energy bills.

Here are some projects and tools to help you keep cool this summer!

CAULKING
When you are running an air conditioner even small cracks can be a big drag on your energy bill! Make sure that your window and door frames are sealed by checking the caulk around your window frames where they meet the siding. If the caulk appears to be dry and cracked, remove the old material with a putty knife or scraper and run a fresh bead of caulk to renew the seal.

Eco-Bond Clear Adhesive Caulk
This adhesive sealant will work in temperatures from -40 to 200 degrees Fahrenheit. It has excellent bonding power and won’t shrink or pull away from the seal. It is low-odor, low VOC and non-flammable.

 

 

REFLECTIVE INSULATION
With reflective material on either side of a thin but dense insulation blanket, this insulation works by reflecting heat waves away from a building in the summer, or back into a building in the winter. Reflective insulation is less than an inch thick, so you can add an effective layer of R-value to your home or building without sacrificing square footage. We carry two kinds of reflect insulation, Nest (great for retrofit projects) and Skytech (best for new-construction, building wraps.) Both insulations are easy to install, flexible and durable; offer superior acoustical performance; and will not promote the growth of fungus or bacteria. Even better, they are made from 90% recycled materials; are 100% recycleable, and free from formaldehyde, VOCs and carcinogens.

Nest

  • – Perfect for retrofit projects – like lining the interior roof in an attic
  • – Insulation value of R 12.5 with just 1/4 inch of material
  • – Offers a thermal break and a vapor barrier
  • – Fire Rating: Classified UL

 

SkyTech

  • – Great for new construction – especially a whole house wrap
  • – Insulation value of R 13.7 and just 3/8ths of an inch thick
  • – Breathable – allows vapor to pass through
  • – Fire Rating: NFPA Class A/UBC Class 1

 

 

ATTIC VENTILATION
During the hot summer months, attic temperatures can soar and that can have a huge effect on the amount of work your air conditioner has to do – especially on the upper floors of your home. 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.

SolaTube Solar Attic Fan
This 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!

Click here for more suggestions for ways to weatherize and save money!

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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.

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Earth Day weekend in Seattle means an excellent opportunity to see some of the latest trends in Green Building in action. To celebrate Earth Day, the NW EcoBuilding Guild is hosting a 24-site Green Home Tour around central Puget Sound. From the zHome project `in Issaquah, to the Mighty House Heat Conversion remodel in West Seattle, there will be lots of projects to learn from on this home tour. This year Green Depot is participating in the tour by hosting one of the homes – and with a Green Home Expo on Saturday!

Here are some highlights from this year’s Seattle Green Home Tour:

Envision Homes

Site Wo1: Envision Home features include green roof, solar hot water, radiant heating, tight building envelope, salvaged and reused materials, and healthy living. 2216 Walnut Avenue SW


The ShelterKraft Cargo Cottage

Site No3: The ShelterKraft CargoCottage™ is a compact home built from a reclaimed steel shipping container, using green building products (e.g., recycled countertops, salvaged materials, zero-VOC paints) and integrating green technologies like solar and wind power, graywater reclamation, and other alternative energy and off-the-grid systems. 1210 W Nickerson Street


GreenPod's "WaterHaus" gets un-wrapped at Green Depot Seattle.

Site Wo5: GreenPod Development’s WaterHaus is a modular home that features SIP construction, built-in infra-red heating, a living wall with edibles, sustainable finish materials, and fish pond fed by an alternative water system. The WaterHaus will be parked at Green Depot Seattle during the Green Home Tour, and for the week following.

If you aren’t able to make it on the tour, take it virtually by checking out the tour website where there are a lot of details on every site on the tour!

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Wherever you are in the continental 48, evidence of spring is starting to pop up! As the weather warms up and the days get longer many of us feel inspired to do some kind of home improvement. In this post we’ll take a look at several kinds of projects that are perfect for this time of year – from large to small!

BIG PROJECT: DECKING 

Trex Decking: Start spring off with a Trex Deck! Beautiful, durable, and sustainable, a Trex deck will give you years of enjoyment with minimal maintenance! Easy to install, with lots of options for railings, colors, patterns and even lighting! Using a unique combination of recycled plastic and reclaimed wood, Trex products provide the best qualities of both materials. 

 

 

 

MEDIUM PROJECT: GARDENING
Start on your yard now so it is in great shape for summer! There are lots of green choices you can make for your yard and garden beds. Here are some of our picks:

Heirloom Seeds: Three wonderful Heirloom Seed Collections: Herbs, Flowers, and Vegetables from the oldest seed house in America.  Rain Barrel: Collect and store rain-water in this collapsible barrel for use around your garden when rain is scarce. Easily folds away for storage Compost Tumbler: The Tumbleweed
Compost Maker rotates on a solid steel axis to turn kitchen and garden scraps into compost.

 

SMALL PROJECT: SPRING CLEANING (On Sale through April 20)
It feels so good on a bright spring day to open the windows, let in some fresh air, and start clearing out the cobwebs that may have collected un-noticed over the winter. If you are planning to do just that in the next few weeks, be sure that your cleaning products are themselves as clean as they can be! We’ve got a full range of spring cleaning supplies from non-toxic cleansers to scrubbers and cleaning cloths from sustainable materials.

   
Green Depot Tub and Tile Cleaner: Formulated with low pH organic salt, this highly-concentrated, non-corrosive tub & tile cleaner emits no irritating fumes. Full Circle Cleaning Mitt:
Tough, natural loofah on one side, soft absorbent bamboo fiber on the other. Shaped to reach into tight corners.
Sebo X4 Automatic Upright Vacuum: Protect your carpets and your health with the high-tech, beautifully engineered SEBO X4 vacuum.
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