Renovating a basement can be a great way to add living space to your home without the expense of building up or out! Here at Green Depot we have several products that lend themselves so well to this kind of project, you could almost say they were made for it! Because they are usually at least partially underground (below-grade) basements are often cold and even a little damp feeling, but they don’t have to stay that way.

Insulating your basement:

   
Tyroc Underlayment:  Created for basement applicatons, this subfloor
paneling evens out small variances, acts as a vapor barrier and allows the cement under your flooring
to breathe. This subfloor is impervious to mold, mildew and moisture. Install your flooring of choice over it.
Nest Radiant Barrier Insulation:   This reflective insulation blanket adds an R value of 12.5 with just 1/4 inch of material. A water proof vapor barrier, moisture will not affect the insulating qualities. Reflects warmth back into your basement. Ultratouch Cotton Insulation:  Made from cotton, this insulation is pest, mold and fire resitant. Available in a range of R values Ultratouch adds a cozy cotton blanket to your basement without any fiberglass, or formaldehyde.

  

Finish your basement with products that bring warmth and coziness – and protect your Indoor Air Quality:

   
Cork Flooring:  Made from a rapidly renewable resource, cork floors are warm, resilient and comfortable underfoot.  This natural flooring is durable, quiet, and comes in a wide range of styles and applications. Wool Carpet:  Few materials invite you to take your shoes off and feel cozy like wall to wall carpeting can. Wool carpets bring warmth, style and comfort without the need for chemical stain masters and flame retardants that  can offgas, plus wool is a fast growing, renewable fiber! YOLO Colorhouse Paints:  Basements tend to be short on natural light, so the warmth and vibrance provided by their designer colors makes YOLO a great choice for a refinished basement. In addition to a harmonious palette, all YOLO paints are intrinsically mold and mildew resistant whatever color or sheen you choose.

 

Complete the job with a couple of essential appliances to maintain the comfort of your new living space:

   
BioSmart Heaters:  Infrared heat is perfect in a basement because it creates a much cozier feeling than more common heaters.  The unique shorter wavelength is a penetrating, direct source of heat, much like the sun. BioSmart heaters heat the space evenly from floor to ceiling – warming up the objects rather than simply the air.   Austin Air FIlters: Keep your new basement living space feeling clean and comfortable with a high quality air filter that will help control dust, mold spores, chemicals, pet dander, odors and more!

If you are thinking of finishing your basement – whether for extra guest space or craft space,  an office or a game room, the healthy and environmentally friendly materials above will contribute to making your space comfortable and inviting.  Work with a contractor to be sure that your basement is suitable for renovation (no leaks), and that you have the proper building permits as required in your area. A contractor will also know the proper tools for framing in a concrete setting – which can be a little tricky.

Click here for a helpful post about basement renovations on Diynetwork.com!   



Yolo's Scout Palette with Rais Stove

So, you’ve caulked around all your windows, you’ve checked the insulation in your attic, you’ve covered your air conditioner unit and all drafts in your home are now officially blocked. Q: What more can you do around the house to make your family feel warm and cozy this winter?  A: LOTS!

In Denmark, a part of the world known for its long, gloomy winters, they use the word Hygge (pronounced HOOG-uh)to describe that perfect, warm, cheerful, comfortable, bright feeling that  is desired indoors during the cold, dark and dreary winter months. Candles, warm colors, a wood fire, textiles and good friends can all contribute to the experience of hygge.

Here at Green Depot we have many offerings that evoke hygge without without hurting your indoor air quality (an especially important feature when stuck inside with the windows shut…) Even better, you can improve the coziness of your home without any major remodeling!

YOLO COLORHOUSE PAINT
Conceived by a pair of interior designers, the YOLO Colorhouse palette is created to be timeless and easy to live with. Each color is designed to be a rich backdrop for comfortable living, adding a sense of depth to interior spaces. Their colors are designed to work together to create harmonious spaces as seen above in their Scout Palette with tones inspired by nature. YOLO performs like a premium conventional paint, yet it has low odor, no harmful chemicals, and no added solvents and no VOCs while still boasting excellent hide and durability. 

RAIS STOVES
Carefully handcrafted in Denmark by skilled craftsmen, nothing brings the authentic experience of hygge to your home like a RAIS stove! Some of the most efficient and least polluting wood stoves on the market, they are engineered to burn so efficiently that they even burn up most of the particulate matter in the smoke before it gets released into the air! This works so well that burning wood in a RAIS stove releases no more CO2 than would be released if that wood were naturally decomposing on the forest floor. In addition to being great for Air Quality, their efficiency means that you can enjoy a hotter burning, longer lasting fire while using much less wood than most wood stoves!

TATINE TISANE CANDLES
The bright glow of a candle combined with a delicious aroma can bring comfort with just the strike of a match. The maker of Tatine Tisane candles considers scent as a story, meant to delight and move you with a sense of personal connection. “Celebration Day,” as seen at left, features scents of orange and pine – perfect for the holidays! Completely paraffin-free these candles are made from beeswax, soy wax, and a mixture of essential oils and fine perfumes.

 

BIOSMART INFRARED HEATERS
BioSmart® Infrared Heaters represent the state of the art in space heaters. The far infrared waves they produce move quickly on the water molecules in the air and heat your home evenly from floor to ceiling. Infrared heat creates a much cozier feeling than more common heaters because the unique shorter wavelength is a more penetrating, direct source of heat, much like the sun. This is considered the region of infrared that is most harmonious with the human body and the most effective at producing heat. BioSmart far infrared heaters produce energy waves in this therapeutic far infrared range. They are so therapeutic and healthy that Far Infrared is the heat source of choice for infant incubators in hospitals.

AREA RUGS
A natural fiber area rug can instantaneously warm up a room with color and texture. In addition to tieing a room together visually and offering a splash of pattern, an area rug can also offer friends and family a warm and comfortable place to gather in front of a wood stove or fireplace. Green Depot area rugs are free of toxic flame retardants and stain blocking chemicals so you can feel even more comfortable stretching out on one with a good book.



These are just a few ideas to make your home feel welcoming and comfortable this season! If you are looking for more design ideas, please check out our profile on Houzz.com!  We hope your coming cold-weather months are very warm and hygge-filled!!

New Accessory Dwelling Unit in Portland

The City of Portland’s Build It Green! Home Tour and Info Fair (BIG!) turns eleven this year. BIG! is a self-guided tour of 16 green remodels and new homes around Portland. The Home Preview web page is a great place to begin planning your tour day, as it’s easy to start and stop where you choose. With so many homes to see, tour-goers usually check out the free Info Fair at Green Depot first, then prioritize the homes based on their features.

As they move through their route, tour-goers can chat with homeowners, designers, do-it-yourselfers and contractors about space-efficient dwellings, solar panels, green roofs, rainwater harvesting, natural landscaping, affordable housing, water and energy conservation, natural building materials and alternative construction techniques.

Tour date: Saturday, September 22, 2012, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m

Eight accessory dwelling units (ADUs) will open their doors on tour day. All of these “backyard cottages” are new construction projects, with the exception of a converted garage.

For the Master-Draper ADU, an existing garage was converted into an energy-efficient art studio and compact dwelling, maintaining the existing footprint. An open outdoor room with sliding doors extends living space to the pocket garden. In 480 sq. ft. of living space, features include a salvaged farm sink, wine barrel stave railings, day lit loft and a mosaic bathroom designed and tiled by the owner.

Walt Quade’s home, 80 sq. ft. pre-fab studio, teardrop trailer and 325 sq. ft. ADU for his sister-in-law is also featured on the tour.

Among other homes you’ll visit are an eclectic accessible remodel featuring Universal Design elements; Planet Repair Institute featuring shared community, natural building techniques and permaculture; the Whitridge Full Plane House expressing the homeowner’s deeply held values of a low-impact home suitable for raising children; and Cully Grove, a new pocket neighborhood of 16 dwellings, common gardens and guest house.

New this year are drop-in workshops at several homes included with the ticket price. Topics included are small home communities, rainwater harvesting, Living Building Challenge, Energy Performance Score, permaculture and more.

The Wicky Pickers

The Info Fair at Green Depot Portland is a prelude to the Tour with green exhibitors, demonstrations, food, drink and live music by the Wicky Pickers! The fun begins at 10 a.m. and ends at 2 p.m. Come get your tickets, enjoy coffee from Da Pressed Coffee and join the fun before heading on the tour! Green Depot is located at 819 SE Taylor, Portland. The Info Fair is FREE and open to all. Enter to win a dual flush toilet and other prizes! Here is a list of the nearly 40 exhibitors already signed up:
City of Portland: Your Sustainable City, Bureau of Environmental Services, ReDirect Guide, The Green Living Journal, Oregon Home Magazine, Energy Trust of Oregon, NW EcoBuilding Guild, Mobius Home, Rebuilding Center, Arciform, Modern Mud, Yolo Paint, Portland Metro Restores/Habitat, The Heat Pump Store, Shelterworks, Kitchen Compost Caddy, Sustainable Northwest Woods, Car 2 Go, Structures NW, Birdseye Hardwood, Decoupage Floors, Marmoleum, EcoCrush, Sunlight Solar, Modspdx, GreenHammer, Indow Window, Jacobs Heating and Cooling, Buckman Neighborhood Architectural Heritage Center, GreenSaversUSA, The Golden Rule, Galaxy, and JRA.

Tickets are required for the tour homes. These are available online or in person at Green Depot.

– $15 general admission
– $10 honored citizens/students/alternative transportation.
– Children 13 years-old and under are FREE.

Want a free Tour ticket? Volunteer for the Tour or Info Fair!

Want more info or have a project you’d like to be considered for 2013? Send an e-mail to Valerie Garrett, tour coordinator, greenhotline[at]portlandoregon.gov.

BIG! is sponsored by Metro, Energy Trust of Oregon, Oregon Home, Solar Oregon, Green Depot, KINK-FM, City of Portland Bureaus of Development Services, Environmental Services, and Water.

This post was authored by Valerie Garrett.

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!

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!!

This Holiday Season as you look for gifts or supplies for the children in your life, you’ll probably consider the child’s age and interests, and the quality and durability of the product. It is much less common to consider the safety of the toy – most people assume that there are government regulations in place to protect us. Unfortunately, the reality is that, as a country, we still lack consensus on how to approach regulation of chemicals in consumer products – even those intended for children.

There is currently legislation at both the federal level and in many states seeking to clarify strategies to protect our children from toxic chemical exposure. The Safe Chemicals Act of 2011, introduced to the House by Sen. Frank Lautenberg is one. Another is the Child-Safe Product Act, currently under consideration in New York State. It is notable that parents, health care professionals and educators are not the only ones showing support for this kind of legislation – many businesses are too. Today, Green Depot Founder Sarah Beatty testified at a New York State Assembly hearing on the Child-Safe Product Act. In her testimony she explained why businesses should welcome regulation of this kind:

The Child-Safe Products Act protects workers in manufacturing facilities, nearby communities, and all consumers from toxic chemical exposure. It reduces the potential for product makers’ legal liability for illness linked to toxic chemicals, and it increases investor confidence that they will be free from:
• Worker’s compensation claims from occupational illness linked to on the job toxic chemical exposure; and
• A tarnished public image, resulting in decreased sales, suffered by so many brands in the past few years due to contamination.

According to the American Sustainable Business Council the economic benefits of chemical regulation include: cutting the costs of hazardous waste storage and disposal; improving worker protection; decreasing health care costs, and future liabilities; and supporting market trends that transform supply chains that result in better businesses.

There are many arguments in favor of this kind of legislation – and support and awareness are growing across the country. This time next year, as we are shopping for meaningful gifts that will delight our favorite youngsters, let’s hope that we won’t still be having to wonder and worry about the possibility of lurking toxins!

Click here for more information on The Safe Chemicals Act of 2011.

Click here for more about the Child-Safe Products Act under consideration in New York State.