By Barbara Kessler
Green Right Now

Green Depot, a Brooklyn-based supplier of environmentally sensitive building products and household products is extending its reach with a new flagship store in Manhattan.

The depot’s new uptown presence, at 222 Bowery, is set to open on Feb. 12, with 3,500 square feet of retail space featuring products such as cork and bamboo flooring, air and water filtration systems and low VOC paints that can be sampled a “paint bar”.

The new store will have a special section spotlighting new innovations on the market and another area devoted to helping parents create an eco-friendly, healthful environment for their children.

Browsers beware, you’ll need to remain alert: products will be displayed with eco-report cards, part of the store’s proprietary “icon” labeling system, that are designed to educate consumers. The labels explain how and why a product is green and assess it in the areas of air quality, conservation, energy use, local origins and responsibility.

This system was developed with the help of the Lowell Center for Sustainable Production to try to “demystify” green products and address issues of credibility and “green washing” head on, according to a store statement.

The labeling should help differentiate Green Depot from other green building suppliers, as the market absorbs a tide of bonafide green products and pretenders.

Green Depot also has stores in Brooklyn, Newark, Long Island, Boston, Philadelphia and Chicago as well as one planned for Albany. Consumers also can buy Green Depot products online.

New Yorkers, if curiosity about paints, caulks and sealants doesn’t send you into a tailspin of anticipation, you should know that the new Green Depot boasts a roost with a cultural and architectural pedigree worthy of a look-see on a couple levels. The Bowery store occupies the renovated Young Men’s Institute building (circa 1885), which once housed the studios of famed artists Mark Rothko and Fernand Leger and author William Burroughs.

Details like that tend to make a trip to your run-of-the-mill home improvement store seem déclassé by comparison.

To top it off, Green Depot has applied for LEED certification for the re-do (by architectural firm Mapos LLC.), which incorporates the original tile from the YMCA swimming pool as well as some of the building’s original wood trim.

“Our goal is to make the Green Depot store experience engaging, informative and fun, and empower everyday consumers who are trying to make the smartest choices for themselves and their families,” said Sarah Beatty, founder and president of Green Depot, in a statement.

Copyright © 2009 Green Right Now | Distributed by Noofangle Media