Despite the fact that we are now living in the 21st century, aerogel insulation seems like a material out of science-fiction. It is the lightest solid known, although by volume it is 99% air. It is breathable, but it doesn't absorb water. It is incredibly strong for its weight. But most importantly, it is a fantastic insulator.
InFuez, Inc., the maker of Fuez solid slab surfaces, is being mentioned more and more these days (first noticed in the Portland SIPs House). Fuez is made of low-carbon cement, curbside recycled glass, and a natural aggregate in a facility that’s 100% wind powered in Portland. Fuez can contribute to up to 5 LEED credits and can be used as tiles, flooring, or countertops. It’s a handsome product and pricing is competitive with, if not more affordable than, traditional stones and other recycled content products.
If you like bamboo, you may be interested in this new bamboo subway tile from Anchor Bay Tile. Available in autumn blush, chestnut, ebony, and natural (see below), the three-by-six inch tile is made in the USA with bamboo that's harvested at maturity between 5.5 to 6 years. Anchor Bay Tile uses bamboo that qualifies for SCS Indoor Advantage Gold certification and claims the tiles work well in dry applications for both residential and commercial projects.
A solar and wind powered green substation isn't the only project in Portland to receive federal funds. The Edith Green/Wendall Wyatt Federal Building is getting well over a $100 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to renovate all aspects of the building. The most noticeable change will be a vast wall of greenery covering the westerly facade.
After seeing these in Dwell, I’ve noticed Woolly Pockets popping up all over, including on Flora Grubb Garden as a do-it-yourself vertical garden. For the longest time, I couldn’t figure out how a flexible, breathable, modular gardening container made from recycled plastic bottles would work without gushing water all over the place. But it does (watch the video below), only if you do things right. Woolly Pocket Gardening Company has various options available from $29 – $350.
CalStar Products recently introduced a fly ash brick and fly ash paver that’s been getting major attention in the industry. The innovative fly ash products are behind the company’s attention in the Wall Street Journal and finalist nomination for the Crunchies in the Best Cleantech category. They’re made from 40% fly ash and 60% local aggregates, together with some proprietary ingredients.