30 September 2008

Canadian recycling show set for November

The Canadian Waste & Recycling Expo will be held Nov. 5 to 6 in Toronto. It's run by the same folks who do the International Hardware Show in Cologne, Germany. I enjoyed the site's tips on how to be a green exhibitor. The seminar on "how to market compost and related products" might be interesting.

29 September 2008

Building an eco-community around your store

I'm on a mailing list for a green retailer, so I got some promotional e-mail the company is sending out. The key is that the store is going above and beyond to build a community of green-thinking, and most of all, loyal, customers.

From that e-mail message, let me list the many ways the company is offering entry-points for customers.
  • yoga and reflexology sessions
  • new full house line of inexpensive green cleaners and refills
  • store visit by local Green Party candidate
  • free product samples
  • 20 percent off sale
  • tone in e-mail is personal, friendly, and engaging

For a change, I'm not linking to anything. I just want to make the point that if you can build your customers into a community, that's a real competitive advantage.

26 September 2008

David Meyers is happy about being certified

Tile and stone product maker Laticrete sent me a press release about one of its senior architectural specialist, David Meyers, who has been certified by the USGBC as a LEED accredited professional. A quote from Meyers in the press release:
It’s a lot about access. It adds a little more credibility to my role with Laticrete. It gives me a better idea of how we fit into the process and what the requirements are for green building projects. I can better articulate how Laticrete can be utilized and how we can help solve issues when a green projects decides to utilize tile, stone or allied products.

And it's nice to see someone so pleased with his accomplishment! :-)

25 September 2008

Container homes in the news

I've read three recent green blog posts on prefab housing made from recycled shipping containers, and who am I to buck a trend? Inhabitat and Greener Buildings both posted about the SG Blocks version, one of which is the showcase home at the currently running West Coast Green show.

The other post, in Ecolect, is a multifamily urban development in Salt Lake City, pictured to the left. The development, City Center Lofts, features ...
  • Constructed from 50% recycled materials by weight
  • High-efficiency air-to-air heat exchanger and HEPA filtration
  • No- or low-VOC paints, sealants and adhesives
  • Green planted roof
  • Natural ventilation
  • Low-E, high performance insulated windows
  • Demand (instantaneous) hot water heaters
  • Secure bicycle storage at street level

24 September 2008

Nutrifacts for homes

Designer and architect Michelle Kaufmann has written a white paper (pdf) on "nutrition labels" for homes (see photo above from her blog).

By using the typography and style of food nutrition labels, she immediately communicates the essentials of her intention: that in buying a home, as in buying food, you should consider whether your choice is healthy and good for you. That message would have a lot less impact in a different design! Clever.

23 September 2008

Bloggers think highly of Home Depot's eco-initiatives

When a blogger reports on what researchers say about bloggers, are we dropping just a bit too deep into our own naval-gazing? Nonetheless, I have to mention that according to J.D. Power, bloggers and Web commenters have been giving online props to, first of all, organic supermarket Whole Foods and, following right after, Home Depot. From these stats, the research report summary goes on to conclude that "consumers expect retailers to not only stock eco-friendly products, but also to follow policies and procedures that support environmental sustainability."

Well, I'm not all that surprised, myself, that the random typing of an infinite number of bloggers eventually came up with something nice about Home Depot. :-)

22 September 2008

New soaker hose saves water

Dramm's new ColorStorm premium soaker hose features thicker walls -- and that, according to the maker, prevents wasteful sprays of water. And of course, the whole idea of a watering hose is that driblets of water go right where they are needed, unlike traditional profligate sprinkler systems. The hose itself is made of recycled materials.

18 September 2008

Depot's Duke dorm declared dutifully dandy

The Home Depot Smart Home at Duke University -- a small dorm and "living laboratory" -- has earned LEED Platinum certification.

The environmentally conscious experiment in student living has solar panels, a roof covered with plants, uses rain water for irrigation, and more. The structure earned 59 points on the LEED scorecard, seven above the required minimum for Platinum certification.

16 September 2008

Your dream "green" vacation (redux)

One of the first posts I put up on this blog was for a green vacation hub that offered a chance to win a trip to a Mexican eco-tourism resort.

In my first post, I teased that jetting off to Mexico is not very eco-friendly, given the jet fuel used, no matter how many carbon offsets paid the way. But the good folk at RezHub.com didn't seem to mind (or more likely, didn't read the blog), since they just sent me another press release announcing a new "Dream Green Giveaway." Who says you cannot care about the environment of the Yucatan peninsula while enjoying the luxury spa, Tai Chi sessions, in-room Jacuzzi, and free mini-bar?

15 September 2008

New glass tiles are 70 percent recycled

Hakatai has announced a new Tivoli series of glass tiles made from bottles and waste glass. The company says that 70 percent of the product comes from post-consumer recycled material. It's available in Indigo Blend and Black Gold Blend.

High-end builder offers free solar roof

Shea Homes, which offers a line of "Shea Green Certified" homes, is offering free solar panel roofs with new homes. Sold through its high-end Trilogy brand, the builder claims that the panels can reduce energy bills by 60 percent. The deal is part of a partnership with BP Solar.

Compare to my previous items: Ikea selling solar panels, back-up system for solar power users, builder opens solar division, and solar homes in California. Seems clear to me that solar energy is an up and coming trend throughout the home channel.

12 September 2008

Have a ball with this prefab house

Here's a European prefab house that's formed in the shape of a truncated icosahedron -- that's the same shape as a soccer ball. Made by Easy Domes, the units are built of sustainable and recycled materials. And yes, that's grass growing on top. From the Web site, it looks like the company will ship overseas, so it's an option for American homeowners who want an energy-efficient prefab green house, or who want a funny looking round house, or who really really like soccer. Thanks to Inhabitat for the tip, and there's more info here.

11 September 2008

Toronto considers strict limits on packaging

From the Toronto Globe and Mail, here's a report today that the city of Toronto may tax plastic bags (to the tune of 20 cents each), and even ban some kinds of packaging. Toronto wants to divert 70 percent of waste from landfill by 2010, up from 42 percent today.

Survey: Seniors are early adopters

ICOM Information & Communications, a marketing solutions company that conducts consumer surveys, reports that older consumers are the ones most likely to be buying green products.
Both male and female groups 55 years and over reported above average usage of environmentally friendly home goods. Leading the way was the 55-59 year-old female demographic, who was more than twice as likely as the average consumer to use green products. Males 65-69 years old were second, more than 1.7 times as likely to use than the average American.

In total, 62 percent of respondents said that they use some kind of environmentally friendly product. Now, you have to figure that some of those polled said they did even if they don't, seeing as these days some people feel a certain level of cultural pressure to be eco-aware. But that's still a pretty huge number of folks who are voting with their wallets to go green.

Visit the ICOM Web site for more on the survey.

10 September 2008

Marketing to race fans -- green race fans

So Volkswagen is sponsoring a race series, and all the cars are running on carbon-zero diesel fuel. The home channel angle is that one of the cars is being sponsored by flooring maker Laticrete (that's the car right there).

So the moral of the story? That a building materials maker is seeing the value of marketing to race car fans who also are concerned about the environment. It costs money to sponsor a car, and I'm sure that Laticrete doesn't think it's throwing its money away. Further evidence of the mainstreaming of eco-friendly attitudes.

09 September 2008

North Pac, RoyOMartin in deal to distribute certified OSB

LBM distributor North Pacific has partnered with building products maker RoyOMartin to sell FSC-certified oriented strand board through North Pac's Napa, Calif., distribution center. A RoyOMartin spokeperson told me that all the company's certified OSB products will be available through to NorthPac customers. According to a press release:
These products contain no urea formaldehyde and are categorized as Low-Emitting Materials – Composite Wood under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System. North Pacific’s distribution center will be stocking RoyOMartin’s FSC-certified Tuff Strand, StrucWall, StructWall XL and The Grid brands, ready for next-day delivery to dealers and distributors in the Northern California region. RoyOMartin’s fully-automated OSB mill is one of the largest in the world, and one of the only mills producing FSC-certified OSB.

Consumer Reports offers tips to save energy

The nonprofit organization is offering advice on getting the most out of your appliances, as well as 25 tips for saving energy.

08 September 2008

Greenbuild 2008 to take place Nov. 19-21

I've mentioned the U.S. Green Building Council from time to time here on the blog. The Council oversees the LEED certifications system, sponsors research, and is active on Capitol Hill, to name a few highlights. Well, today I learned that the Council also holds a Greenbuild Conference and Expo -- this year's event is set for Nov. 19 to 21, in Boston.

The event Web site suggests that the following kinds of people will attend: "Architects, Building Owners, Code Officials, Contractors, Developers, Educators, Engineers, Facility Managers, Financial Services Providers, Government Agencies, Green Power Providers, Home Builders, Interior Designers, Landscape Architects, Nonprofit Organizations, Product Manufacturers, Schools and Universities, and Students." Yup, kinda seems like they are not expecting any retailers or pro dealers, more's the pity. But don't let that stop you from going if you see anything interesting on the event schedule.

04 September 2008

Polished cement gains ground as eco-friendly floorcovering

The U.S. Green Building Council has ruled that FGS/PermaShine's industrial/commercial Polished Concrete Floor System can be counted toward LEED certification. Naturally, the Permashine folks are very happy about that:
"We have known the FGS/PermaShine Process represents a very sustainable floor system and this new Credit Interpretation Ruling by the USGBC adds further credibility to our claim that polished concrete is green," said Greg Schwietz, president of L Construction Chemicals, which makes the FGS/PermaShine family of products.

According to Permashine, the concrete floor is shiny, thus reducing lighting needs, and it also captures and releases heat, reducing peak energy needs by keeping temperature level throughout the day. Might be a good option for home channel retailers trying to get LEED certification for their stores.