Thursday, December 6, 2007

How Green is Green?

Time to play blogger catch-up! We have been extremely busy the last few weeks. I came away from the GreenBuild Conference with a lot of new insights regarding the criteria for Green Construction. Here are two key observations.

Thoughts from the USGBC's GreenBuild Conference and Expo held here in Chicago November 7-9, 2007. I have to say that GreenBuild is the most energetic trade show, convention, expo I have ever attended. At “only” 25,000 attendees it is on the smaller side of the scale for a national show, but man oh man, there was energy in the house at McCormick Place West! Make no mistake about it - Green is here to stay. Somewhere in the near future we will drop the adjective “Green”, as it will become the “norm” for the built environment.

Green Construction is a Journey, not a Destination. It is hitting the proverbial moving target. As soon as you think you get there, there is no longer there. Shades of green are constantly shifting. It is much like “growing up” – back in high school my Dad was the dumbest man alive; 20 years and four kids later, he now may very well be the wisest. The more we learn the more we realize how dumb we are; the greener we get the more we realize how light green we are. Thus, Green Construction will be a journey, not a destination.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Key "Greenness" Issue

David Linzer, CKD addresses key “Greenness” issue in October KB&B and succinctly encapsulates my personal opinion of the KCMA's ESP designation as merely a marketing tool and not a truly green indicator.

“Many companies have adopted environmentally responsible business practices that, in their mind, make them green. However, running a business responsibly and producing green products are two different things.”
David Linzer, CKD

For Kitchen Village, this distinction played a huge part in the decision-making process during our search for an affordable Green cabinet line to represent. While there are dozens of cabinet manufacturers touting their KCMA “Environmental Stewardship Program” (ESP) credentials as making them Green, does it? Or, does it merely reflect, as David Linzer states, “their capacity to adopt environmentally responsible business practices?”

I would submit that, in reality, many of the ESP-credentialed manufacture’s have not so much “adopted” environmentally responsible practices, as simply “purchased”, for the princely sum of $250, the ability to spin their existing practices in a new, quasi-green light. In my opinion, the ESP program has some merit, but for the most part the environmental impact bar is not raised very high.

A cursory look at the requirements as laid out in the KCMA’s ESP Brochure reveals that almost any cabinet plant in the USA should be able to self-certify, pony up the $250, and “help set a new standard in sustainability.”

The Program requires the manufacturer to achieve 80 points in five key areas:

Air Quality, Resource Management-Product, Resource Management-Process, Environmental Stewardship, and Community Relations.

I. AIR QUALITY – 75% of the Particle Board, MDF, and Plywood the manufacturer used for the cabinetry must meet CPA and ANSI standards for Formaldehyde emissions.

My thoughts: First, 75% - what about the other 25%? Second, is it even possible in our lawsuit and health conscience society to source materials that do not meet the CPA and ANSI standards? Seems like a slam-dunk for 30 points to me.

II. RESOURCE MANAGEMENT—PRODUCT – 75% of the Particle Board and MDF must meet CPA specifications for recycled/recovered fiber content. Manufacturer to have written plan to educate suppliers on their preference for certified hardwood lumber. Hardwoods purchased are certified through a recognized sustainable forestry program.

My thoughts: Aren’t Particle Board and MDFiber Board by nature composed of recovered fibers? An annual written plan stating a “preference” for certified lumber just does not seem nearly as strong as a Purchase Order stating a “requirement” for certified lumber would. Seems like part II is another slam-dunk for at least 30 points. Wow! already three quarters of the way to our 80 point requirement.

III. RESOURCE MANAGEMENT—PROCESS – Recycle, Reduce Waste, Alternate Energy, and Conserve Energy.

My thoughts: The Recycling and Reduction of Waste requirements as laid out seem to me to be “no brainers” and most likely are existing required practices by local waste management. Alternate energy is a great concept! With the lowest possible points to be awarded. My last employer had a written energy conservation policy. It was a Post-it note by the door reminding us to turn off the lights! Written, conserves energy, good for 5 points! Part III should be good for at least 20 points! BAM! We are there- over the 80 point bar. Write a check and let’s get ESP certified!

I will leave the research on the last two categories to your own humorous interpretation.

We have chosen to represent the Koch GREEN Cabinet series in the Chicago market because the end product, not just the process, is truly green. That is the distinction I seek to make with this blog.

See my previous post on “Why Koch IS Green” here.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

I should have been a Contractor!

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The conspicuous consumption aspect may fly in the face of some of my greener friends, but, hey, let's get past that and enjoy the humor! The yacht is named "Change Order" and the dinghy is "Original Contract". Is that a hoot or what!

(Click on the picture and a larer version should open.)

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Kitchen Village granted Green Cabinet contract on PAR Craft project.

PAR Craft, Ltd of Arlington Heights, Illinois placed their recent contract for Green Cabinets on the Altman Residence remodeling project with Kitchen Village. Paul Rogner, owner of PAR Craft, a design build firm based in the Chicago suburbs, has a strong requirement that his work meet or exceed the NAHB’s Model Green Home Building Guidelines.
As stated at the NAHB web site, "The exploding market for sustainable, environmentally friendly and recycled building products, along with the greater availability of educational opportunities for builders, has accelerated green building’s acceptance rate. By the end of 2007, more than half of NAHB’s members, who build more than 80 percent of the homes in this country, will be incorporating green practices into the development, design and construction of new homes."

Rogner's involvement with implementing the Green Home Building Guidelines goes beyond the 9-to-5 business commitment. He serves on the HBAGC's (Home Builders Association of Greater Chicago) Regional Green Building Committee, working with other Chicago premier builders to implement these national guidelines on the local level. And bring it down to the local level he does as evidenced in his emphasis with Kitchen Village's award-winning designer, Jim McDonaugh, CKD that we provide Green Cabinets for the Altman residence in Palatine. The Koch Green Cabinet series was selected mainly due to its affordable Wheat Board Construction, wide variety of door styles, and Low VOC finishes.

WheatBoard is an engineered panel manufactured from sustainable, annually renewable agricultural fibers (wheat straw) and a formaldehyde-free, emissions-free synthetic resin.

WheatBoard is:
Environmentally Friendly
– Premium Wheat is the particleboard of choice for architects and manufacturing engineers whom design truly “green” buildings and/or products. Because Premium Wheat is made ”tree free” with annually renewable agricultural fibers, users are capable of producing sustainable components and finished products.

Emission Free – Premium Wheat is ideal for interior applications where air quality is of concern. Because Premium Wheat utilizes emissions-free synthetic resins, in place of traditional resins containing formaldehyde, this board produces no Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC’s).

High Performance – Premium Wheat exceeds all ANSI A208.1-1999 requirements for M-3 particleboard. Better Modulus of Elasticity, Surface Hardness, Modulus of Rupture, Internal Bond, Face and Edge Screw Holding, Thickness Tolerance and Moisture Resistance, are features users realize.

Lighter Weight - Premium Wheat is often lighter weight than other engineered particleboards and MDF. The result is a high performance panel that is easier to handle and reduces transportation costs.

Processing – Premium Wheat is handled and processed in a similar manner as other particleboards and MDF. Because Premium Wheat is a high performance product, it will readily accept all common hardware and fastening applications.

For additional information on PAR Craft Ltd and the Altman project go here. For additional information on Wheat Board go here.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Making Creativity Fun! (R)

"Making Creativity Fun" is not just the registered trade line for the infamous Etch-A-Sketch, it is Job One for us at Kitchen Village! One of the key elements in the award winning cabinet designs from the folks at Kitchen Village is that it looks good! So good, you just know they had fun creating it!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Kitchen Village Contractor Sales Division Presentation

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Green can be affordable and mainstream!

From Cherokee Investment Partners the largest private equity fund in the world that specializes in the acquisition, remediation and sustainable re-development of contaminated real estate, or "brownfields."

Project Introduces Unique Eco-Friendly Cabinets to Mainstream

...“Our research team scoured the industry and concluded that Koch is the only manufacturer in America that successfully produces high quality, environmentally friendly cabinetry that is traditionally styled to meet the demand of the average homeowner,” said Cherokee Senior Director Jonathan Philips. “Koch and Potters Mill epitomize the concept of ‘mainstream green.’ The cabinets have an attractive and traditional, raised panel finish yet they still are constructed with renewable materials and in a way to provide beautiful finishes without toxic offgassing.”...

Full Press Release Text here

Monday, September 17, 2007

Dagan Park Estates of Palatine featured in 2007 Fall Festival of Homes!

Dagan Park Estates - Chicago Tribune 2007 Festival of Homes featured Custom Townhomes in Palatine - utilizes Arlington Heights based Kitchen Village staff and products for superior customer service and designs. Kitchen Village Contractor Sales manager, David Summer, has been working closely with Dagan Builders on their 23 unit Custom Townhome project in Palatine.

David Summer says, "The Dagan Park Estates project is offering Koch cabinetry with solid wood, raised panel doors in full-overlay styling as their standard, not an upgrade! An on-site selection center showcases the Koch product in a complete kitchen display along with alternate species and door selections shown in the island and a vanity display. Two of the six townhomes currently under construction will also be used as models to show additional Koch cabinetry door-style, stain finish, and design layout options. These are truly "Custom" Townhomes - custom is not just a label at Dagan Park Estates."

"I can vouch that David's work on behalf of Kitchen Village in servicing our clients is unmatched. His innovative designs and professional guidance set my clients at ease from the very first appointment. David and Kitchen Village actually make my job easier!" says Lori Balog, townhome sales manager for Dagan Park Estates.

Jerry Balog, President of Dagan Builders, adds, "We're extremely pleased with the effort David has put forth in making sure our project flows as smoothly as possible. From his design work with the clients, to coordination with our site managers for delivery, to responding to questions from the carpentry crew he has been on top of it all. Heck, I think I've even seen him stop by on a Saturday!"

For additional information on Koch Cabinetry and Kitchen Village email David Summer. Dagan Park Estates web site and contact information is available here.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Kitchen Village selected supplier for Chicago premier Green Home development project - Solar Verde.

Kitchen Village Contractor Sales division won the cabinet contract for the esteemed Solar Verde Green Home project located in South Chicago. Kitchen Village will be providing Koch GREEN cabinetry with Beech Door and Drawer fronts for the 20 unit development currently underway with expected completion in 2008.

Solar Verde is a Net Zero Energy Green Home and Community. Koch's GREEN series cabinet are a natural fit for the Green criteria Schmidt and Associates have dictated for the project. Koch's wheat board construction is formaldehyde free and the finishes are also low VOC for improved personal comfort and safety of the end user providing a healthier indoor environment. Furthermore, the wheatboard casework is a superb application of sustainable and rapidly renewable construction components. The wheatboard utilizes the waste and chaff leftover from wheat harvesting - an annually renewable source traditionally left to rot.

For additional information on Kitchen Village go here.
For additional information on Koch GREEN Cabinetry you can email me.
For additional information on the Solar Verde development go here.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Mainstream GreenHome uses Koch GREEN Cabinets!

The GreenHome is the first home in the nation known to be built in a typical subdivision under the National Association of Home Builders' (NAHB) Model Green Home Building Guidelines and is just one of three green homes in the nation known to meet such guidelines (As of August 2006). The Mainstream GreenHome is intended to help reverse the negative stigma sometimes associated with green building and show that environmentally-focused construction is compatible with conventional building and better living.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Kitchen Village is now Green!

Kitchen Village now offers GREEN cabinetry! Our Koch Cabinets brand now offers a formaldehyde-free, sustainable source construction. Utilizing rapidly renewable wheatboard for the case construction and certified managed forests' Beech hardwood for doors and drawer fronts the Koch product follows all specifications as set forth by Leed Certification!

Why we’re GREEN!

Wheat Board Box – Instead of using particle board to construct our cabinets a wheat board core is used.

Formaldehyde Free – All of the wood products and wheat board used are formaldehyde free.

Non VOC Adhesives - The adhesives used are non VOC (volatile organic compounds) adhesives and are formaldehyde free.

Low VOC Finish – The finish used is low VOC and formaldehyde free.

Certified Hardwood – Rustic and clear German beech are PEFC certified.

Wood Species – Other wood species available include: red oak, hickory, rustic hickory, maple, cherry, knotty alder, clear alder, and ash. While these species are not FSC or PEFC certified, they are drawn from domestic forests utilizing sound forestry practices.

Leed Certified – All specifications set forth by Leed Certification are followed.