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.