& r & Though not quite ready to open, brother and sister owners Bruce Gage and Nadine Sullivan have scheduled an open house Sept. 15, featuring a book signing by Kelly Lerner. The event runs from 4-7 pm at the store, on the corner of Sprague and Helena.
& r & Lerner has co-authored, with fellow architect Carol Venolia, Natural Remodeling for the Not-So-Green House. The book, released last month, shows a variety of makeovers of existing homes to illustrate how they can become better connected to the Earth, use fewer resources and look great, too.
& r & It is meant to puncture illusions, such as the idea that building a new, "green" house in the country has no environmental costs.
The point is not lost on Gage. He's remodeling his own old house in East Central and the Eco Depot, moving into a 1903 structure -- originally built as a carriage house for city-owned horse-drawn vehicles -- will itself be a model of sustainability.
& r & The building will have solar-generated power, solar-heated hot water, in-floor heating and a pellet stove, if needed, for heat.
"We are not hooked up to any fossil fuels," he says. He is re-using as many of the original materials as possible. "That's the most environmentally friendly -- use what you have instead of everything new.
& r & "The whole concept here is that everything we have is a display, from the floors to the heating system to the paint," he says. "Windows" are cut into the walls so the recycled cotton insulation is visible. The solar power and hot water systems will also be open for people to check out. The floors are made from bamboo, recycled glass tiles or "true" linoleum made without petroleum products.