Thursday, April 30, 2009

Zero-VOC Exterior Paint and Primer Sale

Much attention has been paid to interior paint and its effect on air quality, but it seems the exterior application of paints and stains has been misunderstood. There exists a common confusion among consumers as to the reasoning behind and benefits of going green when it comes to exterior painting. Traditional exterior paints contain chemicals that allow it to withstand the elements. However, because natural paints lack these chemicals, their use is limited to indoor applications. The eco-friendly exterior versions of these natural paints are considered to be green as long as they do not contain heavy metals or toxins. Because the outdoor air dilutes the effects of VOC's does not mean they do not have an impact on both the environment as well as the buildings tenants.

In traditional exterior products the excess amount of VOC's being emitted are reacting with the sunlight to create ground level ozone, which is a major contributor to smog, especially in densely populated areas. The newer Low-VOC and Zero-VOC products reduce the occurrence of this reaction. Outdoor painting projects also may affect indoor air quality if the off-gases of traditional paint make it into the home through open windows, doors, and vents.

Yolo Colorhouse carries a great line of exterior paints that are zero VOC, 100% acrylic for great performance, and 40% volume solids for excellent coverage. Right now through June 30th, purchase 5 gallons of Yolo Colorhouse exterior paint and receive one gallon of exterior primer for free, or purchase 15 gallons of exterior paint and receive one five gallon bucket of outside primer.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Vetrazzo Glass Orgins

Not only are Vetrazzo countertops beautiful, they are a great use of recycled glass. When looking at some of the glass, it is hard not to imagine where that glass came from, and what it used to be. Thankfully there are some industry standards that can help us find the origin of the glass in your kitchen or bathroom countertop.

Colorless glass, also sometimes called clear glass, is just that, void of color. The most common place to find this glass is in the grocery store, mostly likely bottling some pasta sauce or some peanut butter. The glass with the most shade variation is green glass. Iron, chromium or copper are the metals used to "color" this glass, and the reason why there are so many different shades of this particular color. Wine is the most popular use for green glass because of its ability to keep sunlight and temperature from affecting the contents. Blue glass is a naturally occurring color due to iron impurities found in sand. Originally most popular before the 1920's, it is now used for ink and alcohol bottles. The last color of glass is brown glass, which is also known as "amber" glass. This glass is very similar to green glass, it is manufactured by adding nickel, sulfur and carbon. The most common use of this color glass is beer bottles, because of its ability to keep light out.

A great product, Vetrazzo is a beautiful way to add character to either a kitchen or bathroom, and knowing it is made from recycled materials makes it even more desirable and unique.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Truth About Cotton, and Why To Go Organic

Its everywhere and nobody ever seems to think twice about putting it on in the morning, crawling into it at night, or even pulling it out of the medicine bottle; that is, until the introduction of organic cotton. Rather than mentioning what's NOT in organic cotton, it is far scarier to discuss what is in the traditional stuff and how long these chemicals have been hiding.

The conventional method of farming cotton uses many chemicals in many forms, fertilizers, insecticides, herbicides, and defoliants. The use of crop dusters are utilized heavily when farming cotton, in some cases crops are sprayed as many as ten times in one growing season. Whats worse? Five of the top nine pesticides known to case cancer are used in farming cotton, all of which are classified by the EPA as the most dangerous chemicals, type I or II. The unused parts of the cotton plant, the leaves, stems, and short fibers have a concentrated level of pesticide residue and is not allowed to be fed to livestock, so what do they do with it? Lets see, you sleep on a mattress, and sit on a sofa, and clean your ears with cotton swabs, all of which have the supersaturated, pesticide containing cotton.

Organic cotton is farmed on land that has not used pesticides for at least three years and uses beneficial insects to keep pest insects at bay. Given the choice, no chemicals sounds a whole of a heck lot better than known cancer causing carcinogens infiltrating my home. The cotton bedding sold at Green Sacramento is Coyuchi, and is an organic material. Offering more than just traditional sheets, blankets and duvet covers, Coyuchi also offers baby bedding.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Sunflower Board and Kirei

There are a lot of materials on the market today for home remodels and general construction and many people get lost in all the decisions they are making. However, one thing many homeowners rarely have the option on is Sheetrock, besides the color perhaps, which hopefully is a low VOC brand. There are a few products out there that are more sustainable than Sheetrock, have a completely new look, and can be used for more than just wall board.

Sunflower board is a composite material that utilizes bio-based technology, and is composed of sunflower seeds, which are rapidly renewable. The great thing about sunflower board is its versatility. It has hues of brown, yellow, and black outlines that create a great pattern. It can be stained like wood, cut like wood, and even routed like wood. Its uses go beyond wall board to include table surfaces, cabinetry, furniture, and interior decorative wall accents with the only limitation being kitchen and bathroom countertops.

Another great material is Kirei, made from the Sorghum plant and its leftover stalks after harvesting. These stalks are then heat-pressed with a non-toxic adhesive which creates a very strong, lightweight, multipurpose board. Common uses for Kirei include wall coverings, ceilings, cabinetry, furniture and flooring.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Changing Gears: Green Sacramento Builders

Green Sacramento has stepped up its efforts to be green, which allows us to become even more responsible for not only the products and chemicals we put into new developments, but also the handling and recycling of materials we are able to reclaim. Green Sacramento Builders offers tenant improvements, renovations, new construction, deconstruction, landscape and interior design. GSB sets itself apart with their expertise in LEED certified building, container structures, green roofs, advanced framing, and renewable energy.

Josh Daniels, the owner of Green Sacramento, has combined his extensive knowledge of green and eco-friendly products with the experienced director of operations, Randy Rosalex, as well as the project management expertise of Ron Conn. Together, Green Sacramento Builders was born out of a need for responsibility and innovation in construction.

The main ambition of GSB is to provide innovative, cost effective structures as well as unique homes while still maintaining a high level of functionality, a concern for the environment and ensuring a healthy space. From small renovation projects to larger, new construction, GSB has the ability to create sound environments conclusive to living a sustainable lifestyle.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Painting A Healthier Home

It is one of the biggest pollutants in any home, in fact it is the second largest ozone producer, coming in behind automobiles, and its all over your walls. A lot of the buzz surrounding paint right now has to do with VOC's, volatile organic compounds, which cause pollution, but what a lot of people may or not know is many paints with low VOC's may still contain toxins, which also cause pollution within the home. When looking for a paint, simply looking for a low VOC brand is no longer the standard, be sure to check for toxins which could also be lurking.

The benefits of low VOC paints and stains goes beyond health in the home. Many of these products are water based making clean up easy with just soap and water and they are deemed non-hazardous waste, which means their disposal is better for the environment. Low odor during application, no odor once cured, and no off gassing into the home, means the spaces can be occupied comfortably and safely sooner.

We carry both Yolo Colorhouse as well as AFM Safecoat interior and exterior paints, sealants, stains, cleaners, adhesives and coatings, which both meet the highest standards of low toxin, sustainable and non-pollution emitting products. In fact, Safecoat was the recipient of the Scientific Certification Systems' Indoor Air Quality Gold certification which recognizes their achievement of strict indoor air quality objectives in North America.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Green Second Saturday

April 11th is right around the corner, which means the 'green' edition of Second Saturday's is too! Green Sacramento will have its doors open, ready to invite fellow art walkers in to learn and explore everything Green Sacramento has to offer. Many vendors and businesses are combining this 'green' Second Saturday with Earth Day, so look out for events celebrating both.

Some of the participating art galleries have art focused around a green theme, whether that be green the color, or green the movement. Vox, an artists coalition, is putting on a green show in West Sacramento, where they are currently located. It includes a long list of artists as well as a live band. In addition to the art, Vox will also be hosting an electronics recycling event, where they will be accepting cell phones and laptops. Electronics such as these carry many toxic chemicals, and a majority of them are sitting in a landfill because they were not properly disposed of. All the proceeds from this event will benefit local artists and art programs.

Green Second Saturday shows off just how art and sustainable design can coexist, and even make beautiful, if not amazing design. Its no wonder either, the environment is often an artists best inspiration, displaying a variety of not only color, but also amazing complexity. Make your way over to Green Sacramento for tips on being green and living a sustainable life.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Reducing Your Bills With Home Energy Audits

Energy efficient appliances and energy efficient lighting are a great way to start an efficient home but if you want to do more or take that next step, its hard to know where to turn to next. With home energy audits, homeowners are allowed the opportunity to discover and pinpoint areas in their homes where energy is leaking out doors and windows and may also show you how to conserve hot water as well as electricity. These audits can be done either professionally or independently by homeowners. Professional home energy audits include room by room investigations of doors, windows and walls, looking for air leaks as well as insulation problems that allow heat loss. Also, many times these audits will include a measurement of the efficiency of heating and cooling systems. By pin pointing the problem areas where air either leaks in or out of the home, homeowners have the opportunity to make changes they know will reduce energy waste and save money on heating and cooling bills during the changing seasons. It is also very common for new homeowners to investigate the energy efficiency when looking to purchase a home and writing these audits into a clause in the contract, making sure the structure, even if new construction , is energy efficient. A great source for more information is the U.S. Department of Energy's "Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy" website. There are tips to conducting your own audit as well as ways to prepare your home for a professional one and what to look for when choosing an auditor.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Celebrate Earth Day!

Sacramento is bubbling with events for Earth Day and this year it is revolving around a celebration of a more sustainable Sacramento. In addition to the celebration on April 26 at Southside Park, which will include food, activities, and bands, there are many other businesses and attractions offering up a celebration of their own. One of the first Earth Day celebrations this year is taking place on April 4th, and it is at the Sacramento Zoo. Earth Fest is "a party for the planet" with crafts, entertainment, a recycle rummage sale, and of course, zoo exhibits. In the downtown area, at the California EPA Headquarters, there is an art exhibition called "Particulates Matter" on April 22nd. This is being held in conjunction with California's EPA 'Take Your Child to Work Day', so there will be art suited for children as well as adults. With the main focus on health effects of particulate matter (lung cancer and asthma) local artists give their rendition of just what it means to them. Another fun event for those who would like to get a little more involved is happening on April 25th at the Folsom Lake State Recreation Area. PG&E and many other sponsors are hosting a clean up event for such locations as Negro Bar, Granite Bay, Beal's Point, Brown's Ravine, and Willow Creek.

Green Sacramento will be participating in a couple events as well in the area, one of them being the Southside Park celebration, so be sure to stop by and say 'hi'. We also will be participating in an event at Plaza 555 from 11 am to 1 pm with food, drinks and other earth friendly vendors. In fact, Green Sacramento will be celebrating the entire week, starting on April 13 through April 22, Josh Daniels, the owner of Green Sacramento, will be featured on News 10's website discussing everything green. Earth Day celebrates awareness and appreciation for the earth and its resources, so show your consideration and participate in one of the many events put on in Sacramento.

Contact Information for Earth Day Events:
Southside Park:
Sacramento Zoo:
"Particulates Matter" Art Exhibition: