Green Kitchens - Little By Little

Last Monday and Tuesday, I attended a series of workshops, presented by Quality Custom Cabinetry, whose custom cabinetry I use in many of my kitchens. They make a wonderful product Not only that, the entire (and I mean entire) culture of this company is something special. They will go to the very fringes of their ability to accommodate their designers. And, they will do so happily and willingly. I really love this company, and have been carrying their products since 1997.

I'm not so sure Quality would want me to shout this from the rooftops, but, I learned that they employ a Chaplain full time to attend to the needs of all of their employees, in the factory and the office building, complete with his own cubicle.  He is there to be called on as needed. Quite impressive, I thought.

One of the workshops (to Quality's credit) was on green kitchen design and thinking green, as is being implemented by Quality in their products. They referred us to and we went around the room and talked about how we are making changes to green thinking in our homes and businesses, a good start to the workshop, and here were some of what people are doing (I'm in there too!)

  • recycling
  • changing light bulbs to flourescents
  • turning lights off
  • saving energy other ways in the home
  • composing
  • recycling
  • carpooling
  • walking or biking to work
  • learning about green issues
  • talking to clients about green products
It is interesting to note that 15% of homes now include green specifications. To me, that's a WOW! In the residential kitchen and bath realm, demand for green products has yet to take hold. We are seeing designs becoming more "natural" in styling, with more interest in texture, natural products, clean lines, clearly a change from recent years. I always ask my clients if they are interested in green design and green products for the kitchen and bath, and have a prominent (green text) section on my main website about green kitchen design. I do not see mainstream thinking yet, in terms of green kitchen and bath design, at least not in my geographical area. But, it's coming, I know that.

Quality Custom Cabinetry is seriously, and always, looking at finding better ways to produce a green product. Much of their plywood is now Pure Bond, formaldehyde free. Quality is the first company to partner with Columbia Forest Products. Quality's finishes on their cabinetry are still solvent based, although the VOCs are continuously dropping, as they find new ways to make a more environmentally friendly finish. They only use FSC certified wood materials as well, guaranteeing that the wood comes from a certified well managed forest, which comes at a premium cost.

I was impressed and surprised at the continuous research being done to create, if not a completely green product at this point, then, a product which incorporates ever increasing green attributes. And, in my world, it's admirable, and I'm glad to see this very strong interest.

When I later took a tour of the factory (see the slide show here) I saw stacks and stacks of Pure Bond plywood, which was nice to see it in a big way.

One more interesting tidbit: The speaker at the green workshop noted that it is sort of a paradox that, living alongside a large Amish community for these many years, with their strong beliefs and a self sustaining and conserving lifestyle, Quality recognizes that perhaps their Amish neighbors have more valuable insight on living responsibly than previously thought...
 Enjoy the slide show of the factory, the people working there (so many women!) AND, I cannot close without showing you my pictures of the Quality trucks and vans (one of each in these images) which has a kitchen I designed a few years back, emblazoned (I must use that word) on the sides! I was not thinking of this, when our tour crossed over, via the parking lot, from the factory to the tour of the office building and WOW, there they were!