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First Off-Grid Building in San Francisco Coming Soon!

The Eco Center

Last month, Lorax Development broke ground on a building that’s being billed as the first off-grid building in San Francisco.  At 1400 sf, The Eco Center is certainly an example of the future of green buildings — buildings that are off-grid and sustainable.  The Eco Center is a $1.5 million environmental education center that will be located in McLaren Park.  Designed by Toby Long Design for the non-profit Literacy for Environmental Justice (LEJ), when it opens in the fall, it will be the first building in San Francisco, purportedly, to recycle its own wastewater.  Additionally, the off-grid center will have solar panels and an extensive green roof. 

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AmCork, Affordable and Beautiful Cork Flooring Option

Tropical

Amcork, a Texas based company, offers an incredible variety of cork flooring and wall covering options.  Their flooring is available in floating floor planks (12"x36") and glue-down parquet tiles (12"x12").  Wall tiles are 12"x24" size.  There are two things that set this company apart from others that I have found: price and style.  Amcork has 21 colors of wall tiles and 25 colors of flooring available. 

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5 Green Ideas for Your Kitchen Rehab

Natural Kitchen

Gwendolyn Bounds invested about 16 months and $83k in her posh, green kitchen remodel.  The process was slightly more difficult than she imagined, but nonetheless, as you can see from the below video: the result is quite nice.  David Johnston, green building and renovation expert, unofficially inspected the work and gave her high marks for the eco renovation.  Her remodel included Energy Star appliances, locally made fly ash concrete countertops, Plyboo and Arreis cabinets, no-VOC paints, FSC-certified wood floors, Nu-Wool recycled newspaper insulation, LED lights, and double-paned efficient windows.

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Harmony Art, Organic Fabrics for Interior Home Design

Graceland Whispering

Harmony Art, based in California, is an organic fabric company which was started a few years ago by a woman named Harmony.  She designs all the prints, most of which are inspired by nature.  The colors are wide-ranging and the prints are modern and fun.  They offer jersey, interlock, twill, denim, sateen and flannel.

I am using her solid white sateen, which has a slight sheen, for our living room curtains.  The fabrics are of wonderful quality and start at around $15/yard.  You can visit her site to find online retailers, which is how I ordered my fabric.

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A Perspective of Green Building [Quotable]

Bruce Irving

"Truth is, I’ve been a skeptic about many aspects of the green building movement.  My eyebrow arches when, for example, someone uses bamboo flooring (which is held together with lots and lots of glue, often containing formaldehyde, and is shipped to the US on bunker-oil-burning ships) to floor a new ‘green’ 11,000 sf house.  Tough too to get on board when magazines feature low-VOC paints on one page and walk-in showers with multiple heads and bodywashers on another.  Greenwashing, marketing whatever’s hot, and just trying to make ourselves feel better as we change almost nothing about our consumption habits — the suspicion of these plus the thought that a year’s worth of green living is negated by 2 minutes operation of a coal-powered electricity plant … you get the picture … but after my time in the desert of cynicism, I’ve been reminded that every little bit helps, and just because larger forces are at work doesn’t mean we do nothing as individuals—as long as we keep lobbying against the big stuff, like coal-powered electricity plants."

     — Bruce Irving, Renovation Consultant, former producer of This Old House

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Any Thoughts on Quick Crete's Greener Concrete Mix?

Ecocasttiles After extensive R&D, Quick Crete was able to come up with a house blend of greener concrete called Ecocast.  Ecocast is made of 70% post-consumer and industrial waste.  The blend may help contribute towards LEED credits for your project and contains recycled aggregates and other materials such as pozzolans.  The new formula produces an average compressive strength of 5000 P.S.I. in 28 days and comes in four colors: strata, geo, erosion, and stone.  Ecocast can be used in standard and custom designs, so check it out to see if it’s better than what you’re currently using.  Anyone have any experience using Ecocast?

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