Neil Kelly Cabinets in Portland, Ore., reports that homeowners are continuing to have an interest in environmentally friendly or green cabinetry options for their kitchen remodels and home renovations. According to a company rep, this information is based on anecdotal evidence from the company’s 20+ designers.
But while the interest is there, as seen in an uptick in dealers looking for cabinetry options for chemically sensitive clients, there is some confusion about what constitutes a sustainable kitchen cabinet.
“The sheer number of cabinets on the market can be daunting for consumers,” states Mark Smith, president of Neil Kelly Cabinets. “But new labeling programs, such as the Declare label, which acts as a ‘nutrition label’ for building products, makes it easier for consumers to choose healthier products for their home.”
With Declare, dealers, builders and consumers can use its product database and label to find manufacturers that have declared their product ingredients, source and manufacturing locations and determine which are free of “Red List” chemicals and materials. Imperative 11, Red List, is part of the Living Building Challenge certification program
Smith advises homeowners to also ask these questions when evaluating cabinet options:
1. Will it contribute to a healthier home? Chemical sensitivity is a serious and growing public health problem that affects people of all ages, races and economic backgrounds. Consumers struggling with chemical sensitivity should use less toxic everyday cleaning products and also select kitchen cabinetry with lower VOC finishes. Cabinets that optimize indoor air quality and healthful living feature:
- No formaldehyde panels
- Regional responsible solid wood and wood veneers
- No formaldehyde and low VOC adhesives and finishes
- Certified woods
2. Is it healthy for the planet? Many consumers want to minimize their environmental footprint, yet maximize a room’s style and design. One way to do so is to learn about a company’s manufacturing process. Selecting U.S.-made cabinets also helps reduce a product’s overall carbon footprint.
3. Does it integrate well into a home’s style? Consumers who want to make a responsible choice don’t have to sacrifice style. There are many earth-friendly cabinetry options that let discerning homeowners create a truly original look and to feel good doing so. Homeowners should select a cabinet style that reflects the overall design of a space such as mid-century modern, craftsman, transitional or eclectic.