October 13, 2009

Great Local Find: Jill’s Paint in Atwater Village

Jill’s Paint is an old-fashioned specialty paint store whose merchandise includes a commitment to environmentally-friendly alternatives.

What an incredible green gem of a resource this place is! From paints to stains to recycled plastic buckets and bamboo brushes, Jills Paints has all of their green bases covered. They even offer environmentally friendly adhesives and cleaning solutions.

The staff is incredibly knowledgeable and eager to help, and their hospitality is vast and rare to find in today’s market. Where else can you find this type of green selection while being treated to a glass of wine to celebrate the afternoon?

If you’re looking for a wide selection of green paints, great advice, and top notch customer service, then you have got to give Jill's Paints a try:
3534 Larga Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90039
(323) 664-9067

A Cut Above the Rest-- Eco-friendly Tiles

We are so thrilled to see the availability of green materials expand so greatly!

Within just the last year or two we have seen a large increase in the number of green start-ups as well as new collections from well-established companies that meet the growing demand for green materials.

However, with the increase in attention to green products, there is also a marketing trend to "greenwash" or make products seem more environmentally responsible then they really are so it's more important than ever to thoroughly evaluating a material.

Tiles we’re excited to use at The Go Green Home include:
Crossville- Echo Glass Recycled tile with up to 75% recycled depending on the color. www.crossvilleinc.com
Syzygy- Hand Made clay tiles from New Mexico. www.syzygytile.com
Inertstyle- Icestix 60% recycled glass tiles. They also have recycled porcelain options. www.interstyle.ca
The Five elements- Natural stone stones, durable IPe deck tiles www.thefiveelements.net

When evaluating a green material we look at:
- What’s it made of?
- Is there recycled content? How much?
- Is there anything in here that could offgas?
- Where is the factory it’s coming from?
- Where were the materials sourced?
- What has the factory done to cut down on waste?
- Is it durable? What are customer reviews like?

For more ideas visit www.regreenprogram.org and check out the green product checklist.

September 1, 2009

CFLs vs. LEDs - The Green Path to Lighting

A lighting question we've all had recently is whether CFL's (Compact Flourescent Lights) or LED's (Light Emitting Diodes) is the better choice for the eco-conscious consumer. This choice is predominantly based on personal preference, for they each have their pros and cons. LED's only offer directional light, which is better for use as a reading light, accent lighting, or motion lighting. CFL's however, offer omni-directional lighting similar to that of traditional condescent bulbs. LED's significantly benefit the environment in that they emit a low heat output while lasting about 60 times longer than regular bulbs and 10 times longer than CFL's. CFL's also contain high traces of mercury, which if are disposed improperly or broken can release toxic fumes into the atmosphere.

Now let's get down to everyone's favorite portion, costs. This is where trouble comes into paradise. Up to this point in the article, everyone may have had their minds set on LED's as a lighting choice due to its sufficient benefits for the environment. But, at an astronomical 50$ a bulb, compared to a 3$ CFL bulb, the consumer in all of us would certainly diminish the environmental concerns and go for the CFL. Again, this choice is all based on personal preferences. Certainly the LED's upfront costs are higher, but they last much longer, save more energy, and can be properly disposed of afterwards. On the other hand, CFL's are much cheaper, last longer than traditional bulbs, and can exhibit lighting for entire rooms. Unfortunately, they contain high traces of Mercury, a highly toxic gas.

A good option is to use both LED's and CFL's for their specific lighting strengths. For exterior spot lighting, reading lighting, or recessed can lighting use LED's so they last longer and create excellent intimate light for that area. For everyday household lamps and room lighting fixtures use CFL's. Fortunately, the price of LED's will diminish in the future as more research and testing is done on them. Soon they will be the prime lighting choice for all structures and residences due to their environmentally concious benefits. To find out more information on these two light bulbs including cost comparisons and life spans, please visit the Chic Ecologist.

July 27, 2009

Barefeet for Happy Homes

Remember being a kid, running through a fresh-cut lawn, nature's fertile ground cushioning your feet? Those days are back and for much more reasons than comfort. The overall health of your home, your family, and your feet are dramatically improved by walking barefoot. In fact, many cultures have been practicing this tradition for thousands of years, in particular, many Asian countries. At first they did this because of the poor quality of public walking areas and streets as well as their sleeping, sitting, and eating accomodations, which were usually on the floor, making it understandable as to why the footwear stayed outside. But even now, with much improved pavement systems and raised Western-style furniture, the tradition remains.

Shoes transfer large amounts of bacteria, toxins, pollutants onto the interior floors which gets circulated throughout the home. Walking barefoot also benefits the health of your feet tremendously. It is much healthier for the skin of the feet because rubbing points on shoes and sandals can leave callouses, bruises, and chafing, as the feet are naturally aired and circulated, the risk of fungal or bacterial growth (athlete's foot) is much lower. In addition, the overall structure and strength and agility of your feet will be improved by barefoot walking. Footwear hinders the full capacity of your feet's movement, bounce and flex, creating weak muscles, bones and ligaments.

The act of simply taking off your shoes can have tremendous outcomes, not only for the health of your feet but as well as the air circulation and quality within your home. So kick off those shoes and let your feet and family reap the benefits of going barefoot!

July 14, 2009

It's Raining, It's Porous!

Excessive stormwater runoff is one of the most detrimental effects that urban development can have on the natural environment. The journey rainfalls take to get to the ocean from the concrete city surfaces are quite extensive; from the driveways to the gutters to the main line to the oceans. And all along the way, picking up hazardous chemicals such as tar, oil, gasoline, etc. Moreover, little of this runoff is left to replenish the groundwater supply.
Solution? Porous concrete surfaces, also known as pervious or permeable concrete surfaces, address these issues by allowing rainwater to flow underneath the surface to ensure a healthier groundwater supply. These surfaces also create a lesser demand for retention ponds and other stormwater management devices. Flow rates through pervious concrete surfaces can be as much as 5 gal/sq. ft. within a 1 minute time period! Porous concrete surfaces are almost identical to conventional concrete surfaces despite the fact that the fine aggregate is eliminated entirely and the size distribution of the coarse aggregate is kept narrow, allowing and maintaining the hardened properties in concrete that we need to support our massive structures, homes, and automobiles. For more information about this amazing concrete alternative, please visit Pervious Concrete Inc., one of America's largest installers of pervious concrete surfaces.

June 29, 2009

The answer to improved indoor air quality is right under our feet!

What's one of the biggest culprits in poor indoor air quality? CARPET.
Much research has been conducted to understand the effects of interior carpeting on indoor air quality, mostly due to it's high content of chemicals and restrictive air-flowing properties. One of the most common emitted chemicals from manufactured carpeting is styrene and 4-PC. Styrene is a well-known toxin and carcinogen, while 4-PC is a latex backing used in 95% of carpets which emits a strong odor, one that is most notable during the first few weeks of the carpet's installation. 
In addition to off-gasing its own pollutants, carpet als acts as a filter, trapping all pollutants from the bottom of our shoes or feet, from animals, etc, and holding them in our living space. Consistent vacuuming and steam cleaning can help eliminate these pollutants but will not eliminate them all. Area rugs are a good compromise, as they can be cleaned and aired out more thoroughly. Fortunately, more and more carpet manufacturing companies are using sealants and adhesives that are low-VOC and less harmful for the environment. 
In The Go Green Home, to help maintain good indoor air quality,  we decided to use cork flooring, a very sustainable alternative to treated lumber or carpeting, due to its rapid regeneration process. The cork floor is sealed with a non-toxic finish, and will not trap pollutants in the way that carpet does. We're also making it convenient to take off your shoes when you first enter the house so that you don't have to track the day's worth of pollutants inside with you.

June 25, 2009

The benefits of indoor plants

Did you know that indoor plants can enhance your life? Plants do not just add to the decor of your home they also make your home healthy and cleaner place for a family. In fact, there have even been studies which prove that hospital patients heal quicker in rooms with living plants! Oxygen is produced by plants when they absorb in Carbon Dioxide and exhale Oxygen. Just by having a couple plants around the house you are filtering the air you breath and decreasing the Carbon Doxide in the air. In The Go Green Home there is a central planter under the skylight so that the plants can grow up the three stories of the house. But a central planter is not the only way to really include plants in your home. A living wall is a great way to welcome more greenery into your home! For more information, click here.

June 23, 2009

Save Energy With Natural Daylight!


Humans are diurnal beings. We live by the light of day, and studies continue to show that exposure to daylight is linked with health and wellbeing. Homes and buildings that are lit with natural light, are not only more favorable to our bodies, but to our energy bills.

Our goal at the Go Green Home was to maximize the full potential daylight since we’re in Southern California, where we average 330 days of sunshine (90%) a year. To do this, we paid particularly close attention to the orientation of the home relative to the path of the sun in its seasonal cycles and designed the home accordingly.

At The Go Green Home, all of the South-facing walls have large glass windows and doors to maximize the daylight that can enter to not only light up the rooms, but also heat up the floors during the winter. On the contrary, in the Summer time, when the sun is higher in the sky, the direct light is blocked by specially designed awnings.

 By taking the time to make these extra calculations at the onset, we’re able to save tons of energy and dollars by limiting our reliance on artificial lighting and heating.

And, it feels so good to know that we don’t have to flip a single light switch when it’s light outside.

June 10, 2009

Keep Your Feet Happy with Warm Flooring Systems

At the Go Green Home, we've installed STEP Warmfloors in, a subfloor heating system, in all of the bathrooms which will also reduce the overall energy consumption of the house and wil offer inceased comfort.
Rolling out of bed on a cold morning, it's easy to turn the warmfloor upon entering the bathroom to warm your toes, instead of needing to raise the temperature of the entire living space.
Through floor heating, the household warmth increases, allowing the thermostat to stay lower, thus saving money on energy consumption. The material is non-hazardous and recyclable and requires minimal maintenance throughout the duration of the flooring.
These systems operate on only a 24 volt mechanism which can be installed under any type of flooring (carpet, hardwood, tile, etc.). In addition, the warm floor material is self-regulating, therefore drawing only the required energy it needs for the entire surface, one of its greenest attributes. For more information you can visit STEP Warmfloor's website .

June 2, 2009

Saving Water With Every Flush... or half-flush

Since bathrooms consume the most water in a home, we carefully researched the most efficient fixtures for the bathrooms at the Go Green Home. First on our list to find was high efficiency toilets since toilets alone account for nearly 30% of indoor water consumption.
By installing High Efficiency (1.28 GPF) and Dual-Flush toilets (.9/1.6 GPF) in The Go Green Home we will significantly reduce the demand for water, ultimately saving thousands of gallons a year!
Local utilities see the value too and are offering rebates between $50-300 for replacing your toilet with a highly-efficient one.
If you want to learn more about High efficiency toilets then visit Toto's website, or click here for rebate info.

May 5, 2009

Dozens of locals come to find out what's inside the walls

The Go Green Home opened it's doors to the public as part of Santa Monica's Alt Build Home Tour on Saturday May 2nd. Almost 100 visitors came through to discover the advanced techniques and products we used to ensure a highly efficient home and durable home.

March 30, 2009

What's Next? Drywall

The drywall of choice for the Go Green Home are DensArmor Plus® High-Performance Interior Panel for the bathrooms and ToughRock® gypsum board for the rest of the house, both products manufactured by Georgia Pacific.
DensArmor Plus® High-Performance Interior Panel is a GREENGUARD certified highly mold-resistant interior gypsum wallboard, featuring fiberglass mats on both the front and the back for the best in interior protection from moisture currently available. All of the bathrooms feature DensArmorPlus to prevent any possible moisture problems.
ToughRock gypsum board is a wallboard or ceiling covering material for use in new building construction or renovation work, and the gypsum core is covered on both surfaces by 100% recycled paper.
What sold us on using Georgia-Pacific Gypsum is that GP is a committed member of USGBC and supports sustainable production of gypsum wallboard by using reclaimed gypsum, recycled plant waste, recycled paper, and clean fuels.

March 20, 2009

Convenience and Energy Savings With The Push Of A Button

To compliment the innovation throughout the home and tie all of the components together, the Go Green home will feature a full home-automation system by Lifeware. This efficient system helps save the homeowner time and energy by offering a quick and easy way to access all home controls from one point.

Automatic settings allow users to shut off lights in unused rooms of the house, preheating the oven, or even to control room temperatures. Our favorite features are the energy monitoring system and the Lifescene customization where we can program "Goodbye" and have all energy-consuming fixtures and systems turned off.

We'll be showing you more pictures of the integration as the become available. In the meantime you can check out http://life-ware.com/ for more information.

March 18, 2009

Go Green Home's Healthy Water System

To ensure healthy water from every faucet, The Go Green Home will feature a state of the art water filtration and softening system.
The Pelican Natursoft Salt Free Softener is the most environmentally conscious water softening/conditioning system available on the market. Pelican Natursoft keeps the healthy minerals in the water so homeowners can enjoy naturally softened water. The system does not require electricity, waste water for the purpose of backwashing, nor does it require the addition of salt.
The problem with traditional salt based softeners is that they waste water and release salt into our limited ground water supply. The state of California has actually prohibited the installation of these types of softerners.

Pelican NaturSoft systems utilize materials that do not leach harmful chemicals back into the ground water supply thus conserving our most precious resource, fresh water. For more information, click here.

March 17, 2009

High Efficiency Spray Foam Creates Fully Sealed Envelope and Saves Wood

For the Go Green Home we decided to use NCFI's eco-concious spray foam for insulation purposes. When inside the home, you can see and feel an insulation that protects indoor air quality and maintains its insulating value for the life of the home. We also saved on 30% of our lumber consumption by using the spray foam insulation due to its superb sealant qualities and extensive coverage area. Not only does it benefit the builders, but as a homeowner, you can save up to 40% a month on energy costs. Our spray foam boasts an impressive R Value (measure of thermal resistance) of 6.4 per inch due to it's closed-cell technology, which prohibits pests and acts as a natural mold inhibitor for the walls. It also acts a complete air and vapor barrier, perfectly sealing all cracks and gaps, conforming to any space possible. NCFI guarantees that the spray foam will never sag or settle, thus maintaining it's insulating value for the life of the home.

March 16, 2009

Rainwater Harvest Will Yield Sustainable Bounty

The average American family of four consumes anywhere from 900 to 1200 liters of water daily…
Harvesting rainwater offers many advantages: it conserves municipal and well water; it is free; gravity fed systems conserve energy; it is low in salts and good for plants; and it can reduce flooding and erosion. Rainwater provides an excellent primary, supplementary, or alternative source of water.
The rainwater cistern is historically an underground basin of water, but it can also be an above ground barrel or tank. Cisterns are used to make sure that water is not contaminated nor suffers from evaporation. The rainwater cistern can hold large amounts of water and is completely sealed from contaminants, except those in the water itself. Historically cisterns are put underground because it is one of the safest places to put something that is to be kept under constant temperature. Good materials for cisterns include plastic liners or membrane material in wood frames, ceramic, and fiberglass. Tanks are heavily pigmented to deter algae growth. The two main reasons why people use cisterns are either for the sake of survival in a place where the only potable water is rainwater, or ecological awareness in search of sustainability. A rainwater cistern needs to offer enough capacity to collect enough useable water from a catchment surface.
At the Go Green Home we installed a below-ground 1200 gallon water cistern made of plastic that is approved by the FDA for potable water.
During the 1970s California encouraged water conservation with the California Water Conservation Tax Law. This law provided tax credits up to $3,000 for implementation of rainwater, greywater, or combined storage cisterns or other water conservation devices. However, in 1982 the law was repealed.
On Feb 27, 2009, the state declared a historic declaration of drought, so it is clear that now is the time to start doing things differently.

February 11, 2009


The amount of daylight in this house is incredible! Even now as the walls are filled in, there is so much light in every space, that one barely needs artificial lighting until the sun goes down. To make sure we’re not letting in too much heat along with all of the light we’re inviting in, we went with dual pane windows with low-e glazing. To compliment the style of the home we chose aluminum frames. What sets these apart from other aluminum windows is that they are thermally broken. A thermal break is a non-metallic resin or plastic material installed in the metallic window frame that physically separates the interior part of the window from the exterior part. Hence, the pathway for heat energy to be transferred or conducted through the window frame is thermally broken. The space between the panes of glass is filled with argon gas and continuous warm edge spacers which reduces temperature conductivity. The windows are glazed with the most advanced low-e coating, a microscopic coating on glass that deflects heat but lets in light.
The Heritage Thermal break system is the thermal strut system which offers better U-values and higher structural strength.

February 4, 2009

Weather Protection System

Once the exposed wood elements of the building were all protected with Bora-Care, the non-toxic termite insecticide, a layer of protective housewrap has been firmly secured around the building [see diagram above]. This additional step is a preventive measure that is essential to protecting the exposed wood frame from water and ultra-violet rays during the construction stage. A good housewrap not only keeps water out but also is “breathable”, allowing damageable moisture to escape while limiting inward movement of moisture.

We have partnered with Typar on this project. Unsurpassed in water holdout capacity and superior tear strength, Typar has the perfect balance of strength and breathability. The Typar Weather Protection System is made with recycled content and complements indoor air quality with its low-VOC composition and reduces the risk of water intrusion which can lead to mold growth.