In the midst of Main Street’s “green area,” near the communal garden and several yoga centers, is the Green Building Resource Center (GBRC). Open since April 2004, the Center is a partnership between the City of Santa Monica and Global Green USA, an organization that helps people with the design and construction of green buildings.
GBRC offers free design advice for building projects, information about environmentally friendly building materials, publications and technical information for design and construction, references to local design and construction professionals, samples of building materials, and monthly workshops about green building topics.
“People come here to have a tangible place to learn more about green building products,” says proprietor May Chiu. “We have a lot of professionals – designers, contractors, and architects, who come here to learn about green building.” But non-professionals come also and can find sound advice, especially in a time when, as Chiu notes, everyone is trying to be “green” but not all businesses are offering true green products.
Samples on display at GBRC include flooring material made from salvaged wood, bamboo, linoleum, cork, recycled carpeting, and copper tiles; rubber shingles; spray foam insulation; and a “concrete insulation foundation” made from that dreaded substance, styrofoam. “Styrofoam is not a recyclable material,” says Chiu. “But this is considered a green product because it eliminates the usage of wood.”
Each displayed product features a list of its environmental benefits as well as a list of local retailers who sell it. GBRC does not sell the materials. The storefront does stock magazines and books about architecture, design, and environmental issues.
On September 25, from 5-7 p.m., GBRC will hold an open house to celebrate its fourth anniversary. The celebration will showcase the newly remodeled storefront center and will also announce new green building programs for the public and development series for building professionals. There will also be giveaways and refreshments. During regular business hours (10 a.m.- 3 p.m.) there will be a raffle of eco-friendly prizes.
Visitors to the open house can check out the unique desk made from a recycled broken solar panel mounted on steel legs, and the cute white teddy bear that Chiu calls “Tofu Bear” because it is made from soy. Who knew!
­GBRC is located at 2218 Main Street, 310.452.7677.­