Green Depot NYC - Certified LEED Platinum

As the leading retailer of green building products in the nation, Green Depot has long been at the forefront of supplying materials for certified green projects. The product experts at each of our locations have assisted with countless certifications – residential and commercial. So, we were pleased to get to apply our knowledge to our own flagship store in New York City. When we were done with our renovations in 2010, our Bowery store became the first to achieve a LEED Platinum Certified Retail Space in all of New York State .

The LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) designation is an “internationally recognized green building certification system,” organized and developed by the U.S. Green Building Council.  All buildings which apply for LEED certification are judged on a set of prerequisites and credits – prerequisites being mandatory for all projects, and credits accumulating to raise a building’s certification from Certified, up through Silver, Gold, and Platinum.  Credits are judged on criteria as diverse as the siting of the building, water efficiency, energy consumption, materials and resources, and indoor environmental quality.

Our New York City store, located at 222 Bowery is a beautiful, unique space and carries nearly all of our green building supplies and green lifestyle products.  We’re located in the building that once held NYC’s first YMCA and was home to a string of artists and musicians – including Mark Rothko – so we worked closely with the New York Landmarks Preservation Commission to preserve some of the original structural elements like tiling from the YMCA pool.

We gained LEED credits through our renovation projects: improved indoor air quality, low-VOC finishes, high-efficiency energy handler, LED light fixtures, and reused and recycled construction materials, among other criteria.

If you are in NYC, stop in and take a look at our Bowery store!  If you are working on a green building, we  have people knowledgeable in LEED Certification at all of our locations nationwide and we can assist you in reaching your LEED goals with Green Depot products. Most of our building products count toward LEED points in at least one category, so be sure to ask when you’re getting started on your project!

For green building materials, like eco insulation, as well as many other green products for a sustainable lifestyle, visit http://www.greendepot.com.

 (Originally posted on April 31, 2011 with the title “Proud to be Green!”)

Winter Projects Around the House

January 12th, 2012 | Posted by Lesia in Green Homes - (1 Comments)

Though many think that Summer is the time for home renovation projects, there are actually many eco-friendly home projects, big and small, that you can take care of at this time of year to improve your energy efficiency and update the look of your home. Here are some ideas:

Insulation and Caulking
Sealing up the leaks around your home can translate into instant energy savings! We offer many easy-to-use products that will help you fill in the gaps around your place with speed.

XtraFoam HH: Use this handheld adhesive spray foam to seal drafty windows, doors, and leaks with this low expanding, multipurpose foam. Bonded Logic Ultratouch Multi-Purpose Roll: perfect choice for smaller household insulating jobs including sealing gaps around air conditioning wall and window units as well as spaces around doorways. AFM Multipurpose Caulk: a water resistant, flexible, easy to install,
non-sag sealant with excellent initial and permanent adhesion.

Window Treatments
Roller or Roman, our window shades are a great way to add a splash of color to your room and create a finished look! Even better, by utilizing a specially engineered cushion of air or reflective fabric, our shades will also help insulate your home and save you energy.

Available in a wide range of styles and colors, our window-treatments help you save energy too.

Kitchen Projects
Major Holiday cooking projects are mostly past now, and the kids are back at school for most of the day – this is a perfect time of year to replace your cabinets and countertops. Many of our stores offer custom kitchen design services with Cabinet Design Professionals. The kitchen cabinets at Green Depot are selected for their fine quality, high style availability and eco-friendly options  like sustainable woods, healthy finishes, or low-urea-formaldehyde content.

We also offer a wide range of countertops that contain recycled material, like PaperStone, and even some that are made in the regions local to the store. Click here for our store locator.

Style and performance mix with sustainability and health in our cabinet lines, like Urban Prairie – shown here. PaperStone: Beautiful, warm and heavy-duty – perfect for today’s home. Twice as strong as granite, ideal for residential and commercial uses. Cambria will resist most stains and is easy to clean.

Floor Re-Finishing
When people imagine getting their floors re-finished, they also often imagine spending weeks with their windows open, airing out the house. With Green Depot’s low-toxic floor finishes, you don’t have to worry about the weather outside getting in, or endangering your home’s air quality. Even better, many of our finishes (like Osmo Polyx-Oil and Vermont Natural Coatings) cure quickly so life can return to normal in days – not weeks.

Made from natural oils and waxes, Polyx-Oil brings out the natural beauty of your wood. Spot-repairable. Made from post-industrial whey protein, Vermont Natural Coatings offer a low-toxic alternative to regular polyurethane finishes.

Green Building Trends in 2012

December 27th, 2011 | Posted by Lesia in Green Building - (0 Comments)

Predictions for green building trends in the coming year are optimistic, inspiring, and point to a period  of growth and innovation ahead.

Green Building Services, a consulting firm based in Portland, Oregon, put out their predictions for the Top 10 Green Building Trends of 2012 – and they are very promising! From design firms building in efficiencies so that they meet future standards (rather than just keeping pace with current ones,) to increased transparency around product ingredients, to the adoption of LEED practices internationally – their list is jam-packed with reasons to feel optimistic about 2012. According to GBS, sustainable practices in general will continue to be increasingly incorporated into the mainstream – a perfect example of this being efforts by our nation’s sports teams to green their venues and events.

Building-Products.com, an online resource for the building industry, predicts that 2012 will be a year of innovation for green building products  despite today’s slow economy. In a recent article titled A Green 2012: Innovation in Interesting Times they describe a building of momentum in the development of increasingly sustainable and efficient products. Because “innovation breeds innovation” they say that we should expect to see very radical ideas presented in the coming year.

There are other promising signs for 2012 as well! One such is that support continues to grow for  The Safe Chemicals Act of 2011 – proposing an increase in regulation for the use of chemicals in consumer products. Another promising sign is that light bulb manufacturers have announced their intention to  move forward with the phase out of 100 watt incandescent bulbs – despite the last minute move by congress to save the bulbs from extinction.

If the above trends do, in fact, pick up steam in 2012 it will be a very energizing year indeed. We at Green Depot are looking forward to it with great anticipation – and we wish you a very Happy New Year!!

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.

Many of our readers are familiar with the two most popular rating systems for how energy-efficient a given home is: The US Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star for Homes (the most popular) and the US Green Building Council’s LEED for Homes.

Both require much greater energy efficiency than traditional American building methods even come close to offering–and for that alone they are invaluable. But an organization called the Passive House Institute US (PHIUS), featured in a recent New York Times article and based in Urbana, Illinois, is setting a new, much higher bar for energy conservation: By making a home’s envelope close to completely airtight, making the most of the sun’s natural heat by way of big windows facing south and using a combination of Institute-mandated building techniques and green products to keep that heat in the house when it’s wanted (and let it out when it isn’t), a house that passes the Institute’s certification process uses on average 75 to 95 percent less energy than most new buildings built in the US!

Building a home to the Institute’s standards is somewhat more expensive than traditional building, though the extra expense is often more than offset by the savings from lower energy bills. But because most low-income people can’t afford to spend an extra cent more than necessary on building, but stand to benefit from green housing as much as anyone else, Habitat for Humanity has begun to experiment with Passive Solar housing itself.

H4H Vermont’s Green Valley chapter is currently building the first Passive Solar house in New England, on a city-donated plot in the colonial village of Charlotte. And the house is not only PHIUS-certified, but pre-fab, too–it’s made of modular units that are made in a factory and then trucked in and assembled in near-complete condition. This way of building saves vast amounts of construction waste and goes a long way to protect the natural environment of the building site. The house will be the first pre-fab, modular Passive Solar house in the country, and hopefully will kick off a long-lasting trend in this kind of homebuilding.

The project is in collaboration with the nonprofit Vermont Energy Investment Corporation, builder Preferred Building Systems, Charlotte-based passive-house specialist Peter Schneider, and Boston-based architect JB Clancy.  The house was completed this month, and a family of four is expected to move in by Christmas.

So you’re renovating, or maybe even building something new, and you’ve finally finished framing out your new walls. Now you’re ready to put up your drywall and maybe some tile, or maybe even wallpaper—but what about the ceiling? Sure, you can just drywall it too (and hopefully you’ve been using recycled-content drywall), but there are several other options to consider as well.

The decision of how to make your ceiling can be influenced by a number of factors beyond your decorative choices. A few things to keep in mind are how much sound transmission in and out of the room you want to allow, whether water and/or humidity will be present, whether the room’s activities require any particular kind of acoustics, and whether you’ll be applying tiles.

Here are a number of green products designed for ceiling use that you may want to consider, and some ideas on how they might best be used in your building project.

1) Recycled Content Drywall
If you’re not already using drywall with recycled content for your walls, your ceiling may offer another opportunity to include it. Typical drywall is made of a core of mined gypsum and two outer layers of non-recycled paper. The mining of gypsum typically launches large amounts of particulate matter into the air, threatening both the respiratory health of the miners and the air quality of the surrounding areas. And like most mining, the extraction process leaves large scars on the landscape at the mining site, and often contributes to soil erosion on the slopes where it is mined.

Instead of mined gypsum, recycled-content drywall is made of synthetic gypsum—a byproduct of the process coal-fired power plants use to limit the amount of acid-rain-causing emissions they release into the air. And not only does the use of synthetic gypsum reduce manufacturing waste, but it’s purer than mined gypsum, making for drywall that’s stronger and easier to work with. As an added benefit, the paper facing used on recycled content drywall is 100% recycled.

2) Tectum Interior Ceiling Panels
A dropped ceiling of rectangular panels, typically made of sound-absorbing (acoustical) materials, is another option. A dropped ceiling consists of a grid of lightweight metal strips that are hung from either exposed beams or a drywall ceiling, which hold the panels in place without screws or adhesive. This allows for easy access to any wiring or ductwork underneath, as well as easy replacement of any panel that needs it. Acoustical panels reduce the amount of noise bouncing around within the room, while also limiting the amount of sound traveling through the ceiling to rooms above.

For a green option, Tectum interior ceiling panels are made of wood fibers that are bound together without chemicals and come from Aspen trees grown in FSC-certified forests. The air-drying, low-energy binding process uses only sand, limestone, salt, magnesium oxide (from seawater), and water that gets recycled after use. The finished panels don’t off-gas at all, and are non-toxic enough to be added to compost piles for soil amendment. So not only do you get a quieter room, for a healthier indoor environment, but you get it without hurting the outdoor environment either! And for even further reduction in the noise coming out of the room , take a look at QuietRock Soundproofing Drywall.

3) Durock Cement Backerboard
If the room you’re building is a bathroom or kitchen, or any other room where high humidity and spilled water are common occurrences, you’ll need to use backerboard –commonly called “blue board,” because a common brand is (you guessed it) blue. Backerboard is typically used underneath tiles even in dry areas, where it acts as a surface stiff enough to keep the surface from flexing and pushing them off—and in wet areas, it provides a layer of water-blocking protection for the framing and surrounding rooms.

Durock cement backerboard is not only resistant to moisture, but mold as well, protecting the room’s air quality. And concrete is so durable that it’ll be a long time before you have to replace it, which saves the waste of valuable resources. And it’s even made of recycled materials—it’s 10-20% recycled fly ash.