Build Green

If macramé figures into your concept of green building, you need to emerge from a time warp. And if your builder claims he can’t find materials, fire him! According to a recent survey, 46 percent of homeowners building new or remodeling want to go green but discover their builders are unwilling to take on the task of locating materials.

Construction pros no longer have that excuse—not since the Green Fusion Design Center opened in San Anselmo. It’s a mecca for both homeowners and builders—at its 4,000-square-foot showroom, you can salivate over flooring (Clic technology cork planks, Marmoleum in ice cream colors), plasters in earthy colors from American Clay (you can trowel them on Sheetrock, but you must apply a pricey primer first), countertops nicer and warmer than that marble slab you had in mind—save the latter for the morgue. Milk paints, Tulikivi masonry stoves, organic bedding—it’s not just walls and floors.

What does it mean to build green? Owner Greg Snowden uses a comprehensive method to determine which products to carry—and he rejects 90 percent of those he considers. Some are green but must be shipped long distances. Some are local but aren’t as good or as reasonably priced as a choice from further away. After nearly a year in business, Snowden fields plenty of manufacturers’ product pitches, so he spends part of each day investigating alternatives and weighing competing factors.

The center also carries home furnishings—Snowden says he sleeps on a natural rubber mattress called Green Sleep. Another, Shepherd’s Dream, is all wool, with an all-wool topper called the Snuggler. Asks Snowden, “How much more natural can you get?”

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