Green Guide

A preview of our ongoing guide to green living

Pliny Fisk of the Center for Maximum Potential Building Systems
Pliny Fisk of the Center for Maximum Potential Building Systems (Photo By Mary Sledd)

Come take a sneak peek into the beginnings of The Austin Chronicle's ongoing Green Guide. This is a mere snapshot of what will be a much larger, more dynamic guide to be launched in May along with our Green Summer Fun special. Many thanks to researchers/writers Richard Whittaker, Meghan Ruth Speakerman, Andy Denham, Meredith Barnhill, and Nora Ankrum. – Kate X Messer

Allied Energy Systems

Specialists in high-efficency, water-cooled air-conditioning systems. 443-4466.

Austin Biofuels

Producing and providing biodiesel at 20 sites around Central Texas, this Austin firm sells to gas stations and also deals with fleet contracts. 677-3231. [email protected],

Austin Green Building Program

Austin Energy offers free energy-saving home improvements for renters and homeowners. Their online Sustainable Building Sourcebook is an invaluable primer on topics including energy conservation and nonpolluting construction techniques, plus links to contractors, consultants, and suppliers of green products and services around town. 721 Barton Springs Rd., 482-5300. [email protected],

Center for Maximum Potential Building Systems

Provides architectural and building design advice to maximize green engineering. 8604 FM 969, 928-4786. [email protected],

City of Austin Solid Waste Services

The city helps you find the right destination for your refuse, such as their landfill diversion recycling center. They'll tell you how to dispose of toxic waste safely, collect your brushwood or bulky waste, and do a full waste assessment. They even have a load-your-own woodchip mulch service (don't forget to pack a shovel). 494-9400.

DieselGreen Fuels

Austin's only commercial supplier of VegOil, a cheap and resourceful diesel alternative produced from used cooking oil. They also offer biodiesel blends (from B2 to B100) and conversion kits for modifying diesel vehicles. 3222 E. Fifth, 385-FUEL.

Earth Share of Texas

A coalition of 70 nonprofit environmental groups that participates in workplace giving programs. Employees at eligible workplaces can choose to contribute a small donation from each paycheck to fund programs such as planting trees in inner-city neighborhoods and providing bicycle helmets and educational programming for elementary students. 707 West #203, 800/GREENTX, 472-5518. [email protected],


This local one-stop eco-shop supplies all your green needs, from large installations like composting toilets and on-demand water heaters to household goods like cleaning products to organic and vegan clothing, kids toys, and biodiesel. 110 W. Elizabeth, 326-4474.

Ecology Action of Texas

Ever wonder whether it's safe to recycle that aerosol or what to do with old greeting cards? Ecology Action provides a handy A-to-Z of what can and can't be recycled. They also have guides to recycling drop-off points and pickup services, plus places to buy recycled products for home and office. 707 E. Ninth, 322-0000. [email protected],

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Through its Brown Center for Environmental Education, the Wildflower Center provides courses in native horticulture and indigenous garden design. Its online store also sells Native American Seed-brand seed, a selection of naturally grown and harvested wildflowers, and grasses. 4801 La Crosse, 292-4100.

Lower Colorado River Authority Water Conservation

In addition to water-saving hints, the LCRA gives helpful advice about water collection and recycling for the home. It also has info about utility rebates and firms specializing in rainwater and graywater collection and recycling. 473-3200 x4009. [email protected],

Public Citizen, Texas State Office

In addition to their eco-awareness raising and advocacy, these lobbyists provide useful information on energy efficiency and links to green energy providers. 1002 West #300, 477-1155.

R.C. Smoot Construction

Local specialists in concrete earth-sheltered homes, where underground construction is both comfortable and green. 844-8820.

Recycling Alliance of Texas

Committed to helping businesses become greener, this advocacy group combines lobbying and public education with helping recycling become more commercially competitive – getting member companies in contact with one another, so one firm's waste and byproduct becomes another's raw materials. 3701 Lake Austin Blvd. Ste. M-221, 473-3217. [email protected],


Habitat for Humanity's construction thrift center sells reconditioned, surplus, and donated hardware and building materials, with an ever-changing stock of essentials and unusual pieces. 310 Comal St., 478-2165; 7434 N. Lamar, 225-9264.

Rhizome Collective

This East Austin collective believes in RUST – Radical Urban Sustainability Training – which teaches a practical approach to building autonomous communities and greening our city through innovative skill-building and community organization. 300 Allen, 385-3695.

[email protected],


Rubber lumber is 100%-recycled rubber that can be turned into durable planks, boards, sill plates, and building foundations. 621 W. Division, 940/759-4181, 877/786-2371.

[email protected],

Saranature Worm Casting

Helping put farmers back in contact with nature, they already sell commercial volumes of worms for composting and are moving into non-GM microbes that will enrich soil long-term. 331-7435. [email protected],

SEED Coalition

The Sustainable Energy and Economic Development Coalition works for a sustainable energy strategy. Its mixture of businesses, activist groups, and individuals highlights the economic and health impact of going green to the public and policy-makers alike. 1801 Westlake #209, 797-8481. [email protected],

Shock Value

Austin's only vendor of Zap! cars, the 100% electric city-driving alternative. 2711 S. Lamar, 462-3337.

[email protected],

Texas CommisSion on Enviromental Quality

Grants awards and contracts for public education about on-site wastewater treatment. 239-4799, 239-5304. [email protected].

Texas Solar Energy Society

brings together experts and educators, ecologists, and electrical firms to spread the word about solar power, as well as biomass and other alternative fuels. 326-3391. [email protected],

Texas Water Development Board

Provides advice on rainwater collection for communities and individuals, plus free downloadable how-to guides and links to helpful associations and government agencies. 463-7847. [email protected],


Two programs help make public spaces green – literally – through free trees, planting advice, and arborculture. CommuniTrees helps community groups, schools, or anyone with publicly accessible land, while City Shade works with the local government to green up the sidewalks. 443-5323. [email protected],

See more Green Living Guide listings online at

To become a part of our larger guide, send your information to [email protected].

Got something to say on the subject? Send a letter to the editor.

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