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.
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.
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! is a classic guide to turning household waste into gardener’s gold.
Five flame-hardened, welded steel blades are designed to minimize friction, and allow you to cut your grass quietly, efficiently and easily.
The True American leaf rake features an innovative head and large basket design to help gather more leaves in less time.
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.
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:
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
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
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
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
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.