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Green Depot opens in Albany

Other items at Green Depot include nontoxic cleaners, paint and other household items.

Jenny Gitlitz, who helped Green Depot work on a screening system for its products, said only products that have gone through a "very rigorous internal green filter," make it to the shelves.

Also, Green Depot only buys from suppliers within a 1,000-mile radius to cut down on the carbon footprint left from cross-county transportation.

Tracy Hall, the executive director of the U.S. Green Building Council New York Upstate chapter, gave a guest presentation about the benefits of shopping green.

She commended the store for its innovative practices.

"I think this filter that has been developed is going to go a long, long way," she said.

She spoke about how making small changes in lifestyle can have a big impact on the environment.

"We need to go beyond the light bulb," she said.

Washing clothes in cold water, weatherizing homes, using a programmable thermostat and "thinking about what you have plugged in," are all pivotal.

Hall said keeping cell phone charges plugged in when the phone is not charging still draws current, sometimes more than when the phone is charging.

Wayne Williams, chief sustainability officer at U.W. Marx Construction Company addressed another angle affected by the "green" initiative. He spoke about how the building industry is changing in response to the availability of new, green products and how federal funding is available for many new projects that are "going green." He said if funding expands to existing structures the potential benefits to the environment would grow. He is optimistic that funding will become available.

"We have a finite amount of natural resources moving forward. We have a finite amount of places we can build," he said.

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