East Coast or West Coast many of us across the country will have had to deal with the trauma of water damage in our homes before this year is over. Unfortunately, many of the problems caused by flooding or leaks do not disappear with the water – and one of the most pernicious of these is mold.  Mold can create unpleasant odors, cause nasty stains, and in the worst cases mold can release toxins into the air and cause major health problems. If you are wondering how to prevent or eliminate mold in your home in a healthy and environmentally sound way, here are some of our recommendations. 
 
+ Be sure to protect yourself while dealing with mold and always wear gloves and a mask. We recommend using natural latex gloves.
 
+ Make sure that all water has been removed and the space is completely dried out. Running a space heater and/or a dehumidifier in the affected area will speed drying.
 
+ Softer materials like carpeting or ceiling tiles that got wet will likely have to be disposed of because they are typically too difficult to clean thoroughly enough. Be sure to remember that the subfloor underneath your carpeting or other flooring may need to be  addressed as well.
 
+ Remaining surfaces can be scrubbed with Moldex to kill and prevent mold. Surfaces can also be treated with Oxyboost to kill mold or mildew. Mix 2 to 3 ounces of Oxyboost into a gallon of hot water and scrub the area down, then rinse and repeat if necesary. Both Moldex and Oxyboost are free of dyes, bleach, and ammonia.
 
+ Once mold has been removed, dry the surfaces completely before repainting, or covering with flooring, insulation or drywall.  
  - If you are replacing the carpet or flooring in a basement, consider Tyroc Underlayment - it allows air-flow underneath flooring and is itself impervious to mold
  – If you have to replace drywall, we recommend Mold Tough Drywall – it will help prevent mold from taking hold in the walls
 
+ After drying, walls should be primed with AFM Transitional Primer (AFM 80190) and painted with Moldex Paint or YOLO Colorhouse  paints. (YOLO paint is mold and mildew resistant because it contains an antimicrobial ingredient – the same stuff used in dandruff shampoos)
 
+ Once a home has dried out, been cleaned thoroughly and refinished or repainted, we recommend using an Austin Air Purifer in the space on an ongoing basis. Austin Air units contain filters that are fine enough to trap lingering mold spores and other contaminants. Austin Air Purifiers are trusted by FEMA and the Red Cross.

 Recommended reading from the EPA:
 
Flood Cleanup: Avoiding Indoor Air Quality Problems
 
Mold Cleanup Guidelines
 
If mold covers more than 10 square feet, the EPA recommends that these guidelines are followed:
Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings

To see more Green Depot products related to storm cleanup please click here.

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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!!

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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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Cellulose Insulation filling the space between the apartment's floor joists. Great for sound insulation.

Cellulose Insulation filling the space between the apartment's floor joists. Great for sound insulation.

Graham Hill’s “LifeEdited” apartment is not only going to be very space-efficient – it will be very energy efficient as well! This past week, construction got started as they put down the essential basic subfloor, and under that, insulation!

First, they removed the existing floor. Then, using Cel-Pak Cellulose Insulation supplied by Green Depot, they filled in all the air space between the joists in the floor. The picture to the right shows how they blew it in right to the top of the boards and then leveled it off before installing the plywood subfloor.

A great choice for the quality of a home’s air, cellulose insulation is made from 100% recycled newspaper. After the newspapers get shredded down, they get coated with borate (a naturally occurring salt) which is an effective pest and fire retardant. This product is free of fiberglass and PVC – two materials which can hurt the indoor air quality of a home. Many people don’t realize that insulation can affect the quality of a home’s air even from behind the drywall – but as air circulates through the space it also passes through walls and crawl spaces. This increases as a home (or in this case, an apartment) settles, and small openings happen between floors and walls (usually behind the baseboards.)

Plywood Subfloor installation complete over insulated floor.

Plywood Subfloor installation complete over insulated floor.

Here’s a quick list of the benefits of cellulose insulation:

Energy Saving
Cellulose insulation is applicable in a wide range of settings, whatever the desired R-value. Cellulose fills gaps around pipes, wires and outlets blocking those hard to insulate areas where drafts can occur.  It even blocks heat transfer at freezing temperatures.

Sound Insulating
The density of cellulose makes it an excellent sound barrier – far surpassing the sound insulating qualities of fiberglass. Putting it between apartments this way will sustantially decrease the sound-transfer both directions! (STC rating of 45 in a 2×4 wall)

Fire Retardant
Cel-pak is impregnated with borates which makes it very fire resistant. Burn tests have shown it resist fire far longer than other types of insulation. Because the insulation contains so few chemicals, if it does succomb to flame,  the smoke it generates doesn’t generally emit the same kinds of toxins that other insulations can as they burn.

Pest Resistant
The same borates used to add flame resistance also inhibit mold and mildew and repel insects and vermin.

Click here to visit our Cel-Pak page.
We carry a variety of other insulation products as well. Click here to see our full offering.



Click here for an introduction to this exciting project!

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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.

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