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

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DFN began in 2002 in response to the plea of Dalit leaders: "Educate our children!"

Green Depot would like to acknowledge our employee Isaac McPhee for his efforts to contribute to the global community. This month he will be taking two weeks off of work and going to Sholinger, India as a volunteer with the Dalit Freedom Network (DFN.)

The DFN is an organization that works with India’s most disadvantaged people, the Dalit (also knows as “untouchables.”) The organization helps start schools and medical clinics in the community and also has a micro-finance program. They have already succeeded in starting 100 schools for children. They also offer adult education and training in areas like mechanical repair and computers. This will be Isaac’s fourth time to India with the DFN, and this time he is going as a faciliator and point person for a group of volunteer doctors and teachers.

As citizens of the world, we applaud Isaac’s effort. It is truly global thinking like this that will lift all of us into a sustainable future. Thank you Isaac!

To learn more about the Dalit Freedom Network, please click here.

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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.

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This week, Green Depot Founder, Sarah Beatty hosted a special evening with “The Father of LEED,” Rob Watson, and Jigar Shah, CEO of The Carbon War Room. 75 people gathered for a discussion of the political, environmental, and technical realties of the race to prevent unmanageable climate disruption. Attendees included representatives from across the community including lending firms, retail stores, designers, artists, media and event companies, climate change organizations, public schools and universities, green building experts and more! This kind of cross-disciplinary discussion is vitally important if we hope to begin to tackle the issues of our time. All of the event’s attendees are dedicated, in their lives and organizations, to thinking bravely and differently about how to combat climate change. The challenges that we face are universal – engagement and cooperative action from all segments of our markets and communities is essential.

The leaders of this week’s discussion are both prominent, active leaders in the fight against climate change, Rob Watson and Jigar Shah.

Rob Watson is pioneer of the modern green building movement and  is best known as “the Father of LEED” for his leading role in the development of the LEED green building rating system, the most widespread and fastest-growing international green building standard. In 2007 he founded EcoTech International Group to meet the fast-growing demand for green building technologies and services worldwide. As the Director of International Energy and Green Buildings Programs at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Mr. Watson has worked in China on green building programs and market development since 1997, and is a recipient of a “Green Innovation” award by China’s Ministry of Construction, the only foreign expert so honored.

Jigar Shah is the CEO of the Carbon War Room, Jigar is dedicated to identifying business-as-usual practices and replacing them with low-carbon solutions. Prior to the Carbon War Room, Jigar founded SunEdison in 2003. Under his leadership, SunEdison revolutionized the solar industry by introducing a business model to sell solar as a service. The transformation to solar power service agreements is responsible for turning solar services into a multi-billion dollar industry. Jigar is also an expert on energy project finance, changing energy policy, working with entrenched stakeholders, and convincing individuals to embrace energy technology. He works closely with entrepreneurs, policymakers, and investors around the world to develop, incubate, and implement sustainable solutions.

The event was sponsored by Tipping Point Productions and Serious Energy.

We look forward to continuing the conversation at future such events, and in the community at large.

Click here to visit our Homepage.

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Eco-Friendly Fall Yard Care

October 14th, 2011 | Posted by sschultz in Environment | Gardening - (0 Comments)

Fall is here, the leaves are changing color, and for many of us that means that our yards will soon be covered in Autumn foliage. Fall leaves can be undeniably gorgeous, but if left to build up on lawns for too long they can affect the health of your grass. Treat your yard right over the next several weeks and you will be rewarded with lush, springtime grass. Fall Yard Care can be an inexpensive, quiet, and low-toxic activity that gets you outside and gets you moving.

The first step is to make sure that your lawn is the proper length going in to winter. Most websites recommend that your final clipping of the year leave your lawn about 2 inches high. Next, you’ll want to clear the leaves off of your lawn periodically to avoid smothering your grass over the winter. Retire your leaf blower and make sure you have good rake. Raking instead of using a leaf blower gets your body moving better, and is much easier on your neighbors too.  Make sure your rake has a good handle, and remember to switch the position of your hands from time to time to reduce strain. A good technique for avoiding leaf-raking-related injury is  to walk backwards with your rake, pulling the leaves straight back with you.   Some leaves can be left under your shrubs and trees to decompose over the winter and fertilize the plants. This can also cut down any mulching you might need to do in those areas to improve the tree’s health and increase its growth rate.

Once your leaves are raked together, do not send them to a landfill! Those leaves store nutrients from your yard and you should make sure you get them back so you make use of those nutrients again for next year’s flowers, leaves or grass. If you have space in your yard, we recommend that you dedicate a small area to composting.  You can create small piles, or you can use a garden composter for easier aeration and turning. Be sure to follow proper composting techniques for maximum decompostition. When your leaves have decomposed, you will be left with a rich soil to distribute around your yard in the spring. If you don’t have space to compost in your own yard, collect the leaves in biodegradable bags for collection. Most cities collect yard waste, and will compost or mulch it all on a large scale!

GREEN DEPOT SOLUTIONS
We offer a full range of solutions for eco-friendly fall yard care.

Let it Rot The Gardener’s guide to Compost

 Let It Rot! is a classic guide to turning household waste into gardener’s gold. 






  

Brill Razorcut Push Mower

Five flame-hardened, welded steel blades are designed to minimize friction, and allow you to cut your grass quietly, efficiently and easily.





True American Leaf Rake

The True American leaf rake features an innovative head and large basket design to help gather more leaves in less time.



The Reynolds Geobin Composter

The Reynold’s GeoBin, made from a lightweight but rugged plastic, creates an instant compost system.





Click here to see our entire Fall Yard Care collection.

References for this post include: www.homeownernet.com and www.pallensmith.com.

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How can you incorporate sustainability into your life beyond the paint you put on your walls, or the toilet you choose to install? By greening your holiday celebrations! Pacific Northwest eco-mavens Corey Colwell Lipson and her mom Lynn Colwell have written a book called Celebrate Green which is an incredible resource for ideas on how to make holidays healthy and eco-friendly. The first holiday that they set out to tackle was Halloween – a holiday typically heavily laden with PVC and High Fructose Corn Syrup. They got so inspired, that they quickly launched Green Halloween® – a non-profit, grassroots initiative to encourage families to find eco-friendly costumes, decorations and treats! Now a nationwide movement, and a program of EcoMom Alliance, Green Halloween educates and inspires communities all over the country by showing how easy, affordable, and fun it can be to factor our earth and our health into our daily choices.

It is easier to green your Halloween than you might think, it just takes a little forethought! Here are some of their great ideas:

+ Instead of giving away conventional candy, consider items such as pencils made from recycled newsprint, temporary tattoos sporting eco-savvy themes, or 100% fruit leathers. Even organic lollipops are better for children and the planet and some come in compostable wrappers.

+ Instead of buying a costume this year, see if you can make one out of materials you have lying around your house, can borrow from a friend or can find at a thrift store. Or, host a costume swap with your neighbors.

+ Decorate your front lawn, porch and home with items from nature. Pumpkins, gourds and hay are all great, green items that can be composted when November 1st rolls around.

To read all about Green Halloween and find fun events near you, visit GreenHalloween.org. You can learn how to get involved locally, sign up for the super nifty newsletter, and get fab DIY costume ideas, recipes, upcycled décor how-to‘s and more. There‘s even a trick-or-treat bag design contest for kids! So forget orange and black. With upcoming events in cities across the U.S., this community initiative is adding much-needed green to Halloween. It‘s a scream!

Check out this video of Corey showing green Trick or Treat alternatives to Halloween Candy:

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