Friday, May 28, 2010

Trees Make Sacramento Green in Many Ways

According to many people I speak with here, Sacramento currently has second highest number of trees per capita. We are only behind Paris France; that is pretty cool! Not only does it make our city more beautiful, but it also keeps us cooler in the summertime, warmer in the winter and it reduces smog in the region. We are fortunate that SMUD has the foresight to see the benefits of providing even more trees to shade our homes and The Sacramento Tree Foundation has the mission to help promote and facilitate the planting of trees, including the SMUD trees, in our region. They have a goal of planting another five million trees in our community. This is an incredibly economical way to reduce the energy consumption of your own home. Get a couple free trees and consulting and over time start seeing the saving in your bills.

To find out more information about getting trees, donating, volunteering or just educating yourself more, visit the Sacramento Tree Foundation’s website at


Monday, May 24, 2010

Congrats to Soil Born Farm for a great Day on the Farm!

The Green Living Center participated this last weekend at The Day on the Farm event at Soil Born Farm’s American River Ranch. Green Sacramento has been participating since the first event they had and I really must admire how much they have grown! What a beautiful site and great experience it is out there. Soil Born Farm is a non-profit farm and education center focused on local, organic food and food awareness programs to our community. This year the event was in conjunction with the Veggie Run, a 5K and assorted age variation run walk event. So many new people got exposed to this treasure and even though it was a bit chilly and windy the crowds were astounding. Thanks go out as well to the Sacramento Natural Food Co-op who has help sponsor this event since its conception several years ago.

For more information about events and ways to get involved with Soil Born Farm go to their website at

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Emerald City

For years we have had some great city employees who have been pushing for the city to establish more sustainable practices and guidelines. But most of what we have gotten out of elected officials is rhetoric. Now we have a mayor who is trying to stand up and get all our elected officials to stand behind a green banner for many of the right reasons. We need job growth and the development of a more sustainable, local economy which we can accomplish through business innovation and planning guidelines that promote green practices.

Mayor Kevin Johnson kicked off his Green Initiative this week to a packed house and a visit from the Governor and his wife. After more than six years in the green building industry it was such a relief for me to see all of the people already engaged from our community and strong support from the top reaches of our local and state government. Mayor Johnson seems to have a good approach to address this initiative. His plan is not to reinvent the wheel or to detract from the great foundation of work that others have already done, but rather to identify and support what already exists and help identify and address ways to fill in the gaps.

I plan to support and attend all of the monthly meetings that will be hosted by the mayor through the end of this year. It will connect us directly to the mayor, city council, city and county staffs and so many of the other businesses and organizations that are already working hard to build our economy. With organization and support like that we really do have a chance for a green renaissance!

If you’d like to learn more visit the mayor’s website at

Josh Daniels
Green Sacramento

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Trinity Glass Products

Handmade in Seattle, Washington and inspired by the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest, Trinity Glass Products present an exceptional composite surface material that’s perfect for contemporary or traditional design aesthetics.

Offering the polished look of granite with earthy, muted colors and small particulates, Trinity satisfies the desire for a natural stone appearance without the negative environmental impacts. Trinity Glass Products are made with 70% recycled glass and low carbon cement sourced from the local Seattle community.

Trinity Glass Products come in six colors and one size. Please visit Green Sacramento for samples and pricing.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Upcoming Events @ The Green Living Center

We've started teaching classes here at the GLC in our Education and Events Facility. We will be doing classes both for the industry and for the public. We also rent out the space for meeting, events and parties, so stop by and check it out. Please contact Green Sacramento at 916.448.8109 for more information.

Classes for the Industry

March 29: LEED Green Associate (GA) Exam Prep Course - The one day course will give you a complete understanding of green building principles, while our proven study methods and comprehensive study package will give you everything you need to pass the LEED GA exam the first time.
March 30 & 31: LEED® AP Building Design and Construction - The LEED® AP Building Design and Construction (LEED AP BD+C) accreditation is the internationally recognized mark of professionals who are experts in developing high-performance green buildings. LEED BD+C focuses on LEED systems for New Construction, Core and Shell, and Schools. EIA’s two day workshop and comprehensive study package gives you everything you need to pass the LEED AP BD+C exam the first time.

The Green Living Center - Spring Saturday Series
All classes in this series are $25 each with discounts when signing up for more than one class.

Green Remodelling - Saturday, April 10th from 10am to 12pm – This class will cover some basic concepts in green building and remodelling, including materials options, energy efficiency considerations and construction practices and methods. Learn what to look for when choosing contractors as well. This class will be taught by the team at Green Sacramento and Green Sacramento Construction Services.
Energy Efficiency Programs and Rebates in the Sacramento Area – Saturday, April 17th from 10am to 12pm – Learn about the opportunities in the Sacramento area to make your home more energy efficient and identify how to get that work subsidised by the utilities and government agencies. The instructor for this class is Tommy Young from E3/Norcal
Landscape Tune-ups for Water Efficiency – Saturday, April 24th from 10am to 12pm – Warm weather has arrived, and so have water meters for many Sacramento homeowners. This course will provide an overview of strategies for reducing landscape water use, including design, plant selection, irrigation tune-ups and new technologies. Save water and money! This information-packed 2-hour class will be presented by Ed Chandler, founder and Principal Landscape Architect of Loftgardens | Landscape Architecture.
Greening Parties, Events and Wedding – Saturday, May 1st from 10am to 12pm – Do you want to take some steps to make your next event less wasteful and more environmentally conscious without compromising the style and elegance that you desire? What should you look for in a caterer to ensure that you are getting healthier foods without compromising on taste and appearance? Melissa Smith owns and operates Shades of Green Event Services and operates the Education and Events Facility at the Green Living Center.

Consider using the GLC Education and Events Facility for Your Next Event
The Green Living Center is the great location and facility for that special party or meeting. Located in the hub of mid-town Sacramento, the facility provides a relaxing and private setting perfect for community events, small weddings, social events, seminars, workshops, and business meetings. When the facility is not being used for classes, it is available for private rental. The Center is designed in a large, open layout with ample skylights for stunning natural daylight. The expansive brick walls are adorn with rotating installations provided by the 20th Street Art Gallery.

For more information please contact Green Sacramento at 916.448.8109.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Residential green building remodeling & deconstruction -- some brief notes…

Remodel vs. build new – consider the green alternative – the “greenest building” is one that is already there. Beyond remodeling for functionality, added space or modernization – remodeling creates an opportunity to make a building more durable, energy and water efficient and healthier for inhabitants.

Some of these opportunities are:

  • Upgrade insulation, add radiant barrier (roof especially). Consider spray foam.
  • Improve structural deficiencies exposed during remodel.
  • Weatherstripping and air sealing.
  • Upgrade wiring, add better, more efficient fixtures, switches, outlets.
  • Plumbing – renew piping pipe insulation and allow water recirc., install better, more efficient fixtures.
  • Duct testing and sealing. Upgrade/improve equipment efficiency.
  • Removal or remediation of Toxics - Lead, Asbestos, Fiberglass, etc.
  • Revealing areas for repair of leaks and sources of moisture for fungus (dry rot), termites and mold as well as rodent and vermin entry areas.
  • Improve ventilation, natural lighting with skylights, new windows.
  • Add radiant heating and cooling systems (non-forced air alternatives).
  • Select Low and No VOC and Formaldehyde/off-gassing finish materials.
  • Pre-wire and pipe for future solar electric and solar hot water (or install if budget allows).
  • Install whole house fan/ventilation and balanced attic venting for night-time cooling.
  • Install ventilation for better moisture control in bathrooms (use timers) and kitchens.

One of the old accepted standards of remodeling has been the necessity for and presence of a dumpster. One of the signs that your neighborhood was being improved was the number of dumpsters out on the street or in the driveway.

As the new values of green building take hold and landfill costs continue to climb, “Out with the Old and in with the New” has to be rethought. Here is a list of issues to be introduced and discussed:

  1. Value of reusing materials - old growth lumber no longer available except by salvage, antique fixtures – light fixtures, antique plumbing, antique hardware, “wavy glass” etc. – these are typical, high value items.
  2. Recycling materials by segregation– separation of lath and plaster for example so each can be handled and disposed or repurposed.
  3. Recycling steel, wiring, piping, cardboard, concrete, plastics, aluminum, drywall, roofing, framing, etc.…
  4. Techniques of salvage and deconstruction – accessing, break paint bond, incremental prying, nail removal, tape broken or split parts together (wood can be glued and made “good as new”), paint stripping, reuse and refinishing.
  5. Dealing with toxics – lead, asbestos, mold.

Planning - Pre-deconstruction evaluation.

Prior to doing any demolition or deconstruction, take an inventory of materials that can be re-used or recycled. Here are some things to consider for wood salvage:

  1. Reuse of materials for their function – eg. reuse a door as a door, a framing member for framing, siding used for siding..
  2. Reuse or “upcycling” of material for other use – “cannibalize” a door for it’s finish material, old growth framing becomes finish lumber, etc.
  3. “Pre-sell” items for salvage – do a “pick and pull” for certain items. Liability concerns.
  4. Plan for separation, sorting and storage.
  5. Plan for re-use, recycle or resale.

Some “dumpster wood”, coated with lead paint – when stripped, solid heart redwood, 13” wide x 2” thick. Turned into a garden bench and a countertop.


Other resources:

Paint stripping

Window rehab

Accoya wood

List of Northern Calif. Salvaged wood and material resources

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Green Sacramento Celebrates 5 Years Saturday, March 13, 12-5pm 10% off all purchases

We opened our doors on March 15, 2005 at our original location on Fulton Avenue. Owning a ‘green’ business at that point was still very radical. But we have endured through our early years on the ‘fringe’ and through an economic downturn that has seen many in the building industry falter. We have endured because we have a commitment to providing our customers with great service and high quality products that are also healthy and sustainably produced. We have been in our new space, the Green Living Center now for five months with five other businesses focused on different aspect of green building and will be celebrating the opening of this new center as well.

So please come and celebrate with us. Along with good food and drinks we will have all of the other business owners here to advise customers on their projects in architecture, design, landscape architecture, green building and energy efficiency. Bring in your drawings, ideas and concepts and speak to our professionals. Green Sacramento will also give 10% off any purchases placed on or before that day. View our Events and Education Facility that we are getting ready to open and enjoy the company of a growing green community. Also stick around that evening for 2nd Saturday. We have partnered with 20th Street Art Gallery and will be featuring the art of Bernie Weston.

We truly hope to see you here!

New Education and Events Facility at The Green Living Center

Providing more educational opportunities around various topic of sustainability and green lifestyles has been a goal of ours from the beginning. We now have both the facility and the resources to do this now. We will focus on both classes for industry professionals and for the public. For the professionals we have begun by teaming up with the Environmental Institute of America who has training courses for LEED certification and for finding and securing stimulus money for businesses. These courses will be one to three days depending upon the class. EIA has developed a strong curriculum and has a very professional and well educated teaching staff.

Our first classes will be:
· March 29 LEED GA
· March 30 - 31 LEED AP BD+C (Building Design and Construction)
Find more information online at , or call us at 916.448.8109

Melissa Smith of Shades of Green Event Services has also signed on as our events coordinator and will start to put together classes and events for the public as well. Some of our programs will include hands on classes in historic home window repair and design charettes for developing out door living spaces. We will also host classes on green building concepts and practices that will help you feel more confident and get your building projects focused and organized. What types of classes and events would you like to see? We really want to know.

Soles 4 Souls

In partnership with the 20th Street Art Gallery, The Green Living Center is collecting new shoes for those in need. There are over 300 million children around the world who are without shoes, that’s about the population of the United States! The shoes that are collected from this project will go to children in the Greater Sacramento area. We are specifically hoping to collect shoes in children’s sizes 2-6. Donations will be made to Soles 4 Souls a non profit that distributes shoes to children all over the world. We are hoping to collect 50 pairs of shoes by March 13, 2010 in honor of Green Sacramento’s 5th Anniversary, the grand opening of The Green Living Center, and Second Saturday! Please drop off any donations to 911 or 919 20th Street Sacramento, CA 95811

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Gifts From the Heart

Wooley Wood Works is a family owned business located in Sonoma County, CA. They specialize in crafting custom handmade Children’s furniture that is high quality and safe.

The company was founded when the Wooleys first became Grandparents. They wanted to create a treasure for their grandchild to cherish forever. So naturally safety was a huge consideration. Precautions you can expect from a Wooley creation includes the use of non toxic finishes, including products that can be found at Green Sacramento (Vermont Natural Coatings and OSMO), non-toxic waterproof glue (Titebond III), rounded corners, sanded surfaces, non-skid pads on table legs and plastic glides on chairs, to prevent injury or damage.

Customization of a Wooley Wood Works item includes the ability to choose wood type, stain or paint color, personalized artwork or lettering (via Woodburning) and cut-outs.

High quality is ensured by not only a lifetime of experience and joy in wood working, but meticulous inspection and a satisfaction guarantee.
Please visit their website for more information:

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Windfall Lumber

Beautiful, Durable, Simple, Sustainable, Unique… all are qualities desired in a countertop.

Windfall Wooden Countertops possess all these traits and more. Made in Tumwater, WA from sustainably harvested Northwest hardwoods and reclaimed exotic timber, Windfall Lumber provides an unparalleled butcher-block countertop.

Every countertop produced by Windfall Lumber has a story. For instance the African Hardwood Blend is FSC Certified Recycled and it comes from used pallets made in West Africa for use in the United States. The Western Black Walnut is salvaged wood from Northwest Orchards.

Many of the wood species come in either side grain or end grain, giving the same species a completely different look. These countertops maybe stained, finished and refinished with OSMO natural wood finishing products allowing for a greater range of customization for your project. OSMO products are also available at Green Sacramento.

Please visit Green Sacramento for samples and pricing.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Squak Mountain Stone

Squak Mountain Stone is back at Green Sacramento.

Warm to the touch and rustic in appearance, Squak Mountain Stone is a truly unique countertop experience. Squak Mountain Stone is a lightweight countertop that resembles limestone in its "natural" color variation and texture, but is hand-cast in Seattle, WA.

Armed with a new formula, Squak Mountain Stone is now made with over 50% recycled paper and glass, as well as low carbon cement. All of the materials used in creating a slab of Squak Mountain Stone are sourced from the local Seattle community.

With Squak Mountain Stone you get all of the benefits of a beautiful stone countertop but with added peace of mind. Squak Mountain Stone comes in five colors and two sizes. Please visit Green Sacramento for samples and pricing.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Eco by Cosentino

Want a countertop that contributes toward LEED points, is Cradle to Cradle certified, and Greenguard certified? Look no further, Eco by Cosentino may be the answer for you.

Eco by Cosentino is a virtually non porous countertop material that is stain, scratch and scorch resistant. Made with 75% recycled content, Eco by Cosentino includes:
· Porcelain from used china, tiles, bathroom and kitchen fixtures, and decorative pieces
· Mirror from homes, commercial buildings, factories
· Glass from vehicle windshields, windows, bottles, and from consumer recycling programs
· Stone scraps left over from other solid surfacing projects and industrial processes
· Crystallized ash from industrial furnace residuals

The resin used to bind the materials of Eco by Cosentino is partially produced from corn oil. During the manufacturing process of Eco by Cosentino 94% of water used is cleaned and reused, and 99% of VOCs produced are purified at the factory. The company also participates in quarry restoration programs.

Eco by Cosentino is available in ten colors and has a 5 year limited warranty. Please visit Green Sacramento for samples and pricing and take advantage a 10% discount through the end of February on all of our pre-made slabs.

Green Sacramento
@ The Green Living Center
919 20th Street in Midtown

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Rainy Days

Rainy days are perfect for musing about home improvement projects. Sitting by the window with a strong cup of tea and a notepad, I've begun sketching out my plans for spring improvements. New screening shrubs along the west side, a deciduous shade tree strategically located for future shade, and an expanded kitchen garden. Before too long I'll be getting seeds started using one of those handy plastic kits with the tray and clear cover, available at most local hardware stores. My neighbor stopped by yesterday- the rain has reminded her that she could use a drainage system in her yard, and wanted to discuss a design contract.

Glancing over my shoulder, my fiancee reminds me that there are plenty of things we could work on inside the house, well before the ground begins to dry out. New low-VOC paint for the back bedroom, cork flooring in the office, and of course the new sustainable kitchen cabinets she's been wanting. She even has a book of color swatches that she borrowed from Green Sacramento. After discussing for a few minutes we decide to take care of the painting and the floor now, and wait until the spring for the cabinets since we can start cooking more on the barbecue while the cabinets are being installed.

She joins me for another cup of tea, and we stand at the window looking out at the rain. I'm looking forward to this year- new beginnings and finally taking care of projects we've been putting off for a while. Here's to a rainy day, and plans for the future.

-Ed Chandler is the owner of Loftgardens Landscape Architecture, co-located in the Green Living Center, 919 20th Street in Midtown Sacramento.