Refuge Sustainable Building Center promotes sustainability in the built environment through sales of products which respect human health and the natural world. We are a locally-owned business founded on the idea that consumers should have the power to make better choices for themselves, their families, and their world. Our team members are personally committed to making sustainable lifestyle choices, and to helping our customers do the same. Visit our store in Bozeman, Montana or contact us for help with your sustainable building project.
In June 2010, Refuge changed hands and is now under the ownership of long-time Bozeman area businesswoman Alexa Calio. After graduating with a degree in Wildlife Biology in Virginia and working in Minnesota, Alexa moved to Montana to conduct research in Yellowstone park. During the 18 years that she lived in Gardiner, she built a log home from the ground up. After finishing the chinking portion of the project and "swearing never to touch the stuff again," she founded Roche Jaune, Inc., Chinking and Plaster Specialists. Many large and small, fine and rustic jobs later, Alexa moved her family and business to Bozeman. As the new owner of Refuge, Alexa has already brought several new products to the store, including Fireclay Tile, RAIS Stoves, and YOLO Colorhouse VOC-free paints. In addition, Refuge now offers free delivery service; contact us for details. Also ask about our free in-house design services, as well as plaster application, chinking installation services, and tool rental for DIYers looking to plaster on their own.
What Does Green Mean?
We're glad you asked. It's not always easy to understand how our actions and choices as consumers impact our world. To better help you with your decisions, we've developed a guide explaining a few of the major factors involved in understanding the environmental benefits of our products as compared to their conventional counterparts. Look for the following symbols on our product labels throughout the store.
Climate change is one of the most serious threats affecting our planet’s health. Carbon emissions from fuel-burning vehicles are a major contributing force to this global problem. Regionally produced and manufactured products travel a shorter distance to you, the consumer, making for a lighter carbon load.
VOCs (volatile organic compounds) are chemicals emitted as gases from a variety of substances, including the solvents found in many paints, finishes, and adhesives. Responsible for the notorious “new” smell of materials including carpet, cars and construction sites, VOCs off-gas as airborne toxins both during and after their initial application, causing health problems ranging from nausea to cancer in cases of heavy exposure.
Some natural materials are better able to replenish themselves at a rate that keeps pace with the demand for them. Using these materials in place of their slowly-growing counterparts reduces the impact on less renewable species, and others that depend on them.