-by Alaina Caudillo
Earlier this month TJ, Nicole, and I took a trip to The Green Building Center, located at 1952 East 2700 South in the Sugarhouse area. The owner of the Green Building Center, Ashley Patterson, was incredibly knowledgeable and helpful in answering all our questions and giving us a complete tour. The store does a great job utilizing many of the same products they sell such as integrating LED lighting and the use of a solar electric system, a Chili Pepper water heater, and natural lighting fixtures called Sun Pipes. Sun Pipes resemble sky lights, but transfer less of the heat coming from the natural light indoors and they conserve more heat in winter months, all the while providing an incredibly bright lighting option for your home or business. Among other things I observed a solar oven, a few types of wood stoves, and a few alternative water heaters, many of which qualify for tax credits. One of the alternative water heaters was the Chili Pepper, which they use in the store, that notifies you when the hot water from your water heater is warm so you don’t have to run the faucet while waiting for the water to heat up.
I was amazed at the selection of books for sale that can help you get started in choosing the right products for you and your family. This is a great place to find a wealth of different information, along with green products for your next remodel or home- improvement project! Some of the options available at the Green Building Center include reclaimed, FSC certified, sustainably harvested wood as well as cork and bamboo flooring. In addition, the green building center also sells beautifully recycled glass tiles and decorative paints containing zero VOC’s (Volatile Organic Compounds) which can be matched to the color of your choice. The possibilities are endless in terms of choosing a product that will address the issue that is most concerning to the consumer, whether that means ease of use or a certain environmental concern. For example, you can choose an oil based finish for hardwood flooring made from linseed oil, which has more VOC’s but is more absorbable and easier to use, or a water based polyurethane finish that is lower in VOC’s but can be a little harder to use. Another great resource in flooring options is the real linoleum that they carry which is made from linseed oil and pine resin which makes it a biodegradable alternative to the typical “linoleum” that is actually made from vinyl.
It’s easy to improve the aesthetic value of your home as well with sustainably made products. Consider integrating beautiful furnishings and accessories into your design scheme, such as decorative pillows and clay based plasters that add texture and color to your walls. Clay based plaster is a wonderful option for bathroom walls because they naturally absorb some of the water vapor, acting as a mold inhibitor. A great way to improve the years we spend throughout our lifetime asleep is to invest in organic cotton bedding and eco-friendly mattresses made from wool or natural latex. These materials are naturally flame retardant without being processed chemically to provide you with this very important, as well as mandatory, safety quality. So if you are looking to make some greener decisions in your home life make time to check out The Green Building Center, a wonderful local business who would love your support!