I haven’t accumulated enough stuff in my lifetime nor have I left the country for long enough to need a self-storage unit. Trust me, I do go through a fair amount of things. I'm a nester; a man of many possessions. But somehow so far, I’ve been able to get away with creative methods — craigslist, friends, charity — when ridding my home of non-garbage castaway items without having to resort to throwing things in the trash.

For space-strapped urbanites and those with straight-up crammed closets, inheriting Granny’s silver tea service of Grandpa’s antique pinball machine (stuff you don’t want at home but can’t get rid of) may mean self-storage unit time. When renting a self-storage unit, the main considerations are location, affordability, ease of access and security. What if you plan on visiting these climate controlled, oversized overstock lockers on a regular basis and consider them extensions of the home? Can self-storage be green?

Apparently, it can. A Brooklyn business called iStoreGreen rents secure, eco-friendly 25 square-foot to 200 square-foot spaces for folks to stash excess stuff. Although I’m sure there are other self-storage companies with environmental commitments out there, the concept of iStoreGreen seems pretty novel.

Here’s what makes iStoreGreen unique:

 • The iStoreGreen building near Downtown Brooklyn is 100 percent powered by renewable energy sources certified by Green-E.org. The company is also the the first storage company in NYC to partner with EPA’s Green Power Partnership.

• The hot water in the building — the building itself is a converted turn of the century warehouse, not a new structure — is heated via a solar water heater.

• Reclaimed wood from the building remodel is used for shelving and furniture for the company offices.

• The packing materials used in day-to-day operations are biodegradable and/or recycled.

• Customers have the option of donating unwanted storage items instead of chucking them in a landfill-bound dumpster.

All totally cool. With a price-match guarantee and a two-months-for-free offer, it seems that this eco-friendly alternative won’t break the bank.

Given that iStoreGreen is in NYC and can be reached by public transport (although not easily), the eco-cost of traveling to and from a storage unit is pretty minimal. Granted, some customers will just unload and return only once but others (especially in NYC) may need to visit their units often.

What about folks — according to a 2005 Slate article, one in 11 Americans own self-storage space — who don’t have access to public transportation and must travel long distances just to visit a specifically "green" self-storage center? 

Would eco-friendly self-storage even make sense if the emissions saved in keeping a green roof over your excess stuff’s head is negated by the fact that you are driving 90 miles every three months to add to the pile? Are you better off going non-green and going local in this case?Discuss. 


12 Hall Street

Brooklyn, NY 11205


Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.

Sustain n' store
Short on storage space at home after that spring cleaning purge? iStore Green in Brooklyn offers eco-friendly self-storage.