Operations

The Green Garage works to reduce the environmental impact of our community’s work by incorporating the following sustainable systems into our daily operations:

Recycling

Everyone who works at the Green Garage participates in our robust recycling system. Materials are sorted at the point of disposal and collected weekly by our friends at Recycle Here, where they are shipped to various facilities for processing.

Recycling bins


Composting

The Green Garage community composts both food scraps and compostable paper products, including paper towels and compostable coffee cups. Our three-point compost system includes a backyard compost pile, a freestanding tumbler, and worm composting. Finished compost is spread throughout the gardens surrounding our building, supporting a thriving native ecosystem in the city.

Compost_gals


Heating & Cooling

In the cold months, we heat our building using a solar-thermal radiant heat system–in which 10,000 gallons of water are heated via solar energy and then pumped through the building’s floor–supplemented by an electric heat pump as necessary.

In the warm months, we cool the building using a combination of natural ventilation (i.e., opening the windows when the air outside is cool and dry) and a two-step dehumidification process by which the air is cooled by moisture removal.

Natvent514

Both heating and cooling at the Green Garage are supported by our building’s super thick insulation envelope, which reduces the demand on each system. Click here to view our heating & cooling system in real time.


Water reduction & harvesting

Water reduction is achieved at the Green Garage through a combination of sustainable plumbing decisions, including the incorporation of low-flow and waterless kitchen and bathroom fixtures, as well as water harvesting. Our water harvesting efforts include a rooftop catchment system, backyard rain barrel, and a 1,500 gallon cistern located underneath our parking lot. Harvested water is used to maintain our gardens. As a result, we rarely need to use city water in garden maintenance.

Natural_water_system


Energy reduction

We reduce our day-to-day demand for electricity by using CFL light bulbs, abundant windows, and Solatubes, which bring in so much highly concentrated natural light that on sunny days, we are able to turn off most of the electric lights in the building.

natural light

Our community also shares a small, well-insulated refrigerator (actually a converted chest freezer), which requires very little energy to operate.

To learn about our sustainable systems in more detail, visit the As Built page of our wiki.