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Have Questions? 

We're always happy to show you around our shop or talk with you on the phone to answer questions about green and healthy building materials.

Give us a call: 
(406) 585-9958

Send us a message, and we'll do our best to respond within a day or two.

Store Hours:
M - F 9:00-5:30
Sat. 10-2

Closed Sunday

 

December Holiday Hours:

Closed December 23rd-26th

Closed December 31st

 

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Home » About Us

About Us

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.

Alexa

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.

 

Regional

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.

 

High Efficiency

Reduce: it’s the first of the three Rs (reduce, reuse, recycle), and our first and best line of defense against environmental degradation. Simply using less is the best way to ensure that our natural resources will be available when they are actually needed, whether by us or a future generation. Products with this label will help you to use less water, electricity, heating fuel, etc.

 

 

Low VOCVOCs (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.

 

Recycled Materials

Using products with recycled content benefits the environment by conserving virgin materials, avoiding the impacts of extraction, and by making use of materials that might otherwise end up in a landfill as waste.

 

 

Rapidly Renewable

 
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.

 

Natural

Synthetic materials can sometimes pose challenges in terms of our reactions to them, and their disposal when they’ve reached the end of their usefulness. Our world has developed a natural process in which things biodegrade and are thereby cycled back into the system. However, man-made materials—vinyl, for example—have sometimes been developed without our clear understanding of how they will affect us during or after their use.