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How do you determine how "green" a cabinet is?

Jonathan Cabinet Representative VA, United States 2 Ratings 1 Discussions 0 Group posts

Posted by: Jonathan Cabinet Representative // Sustainable American manufacturing proponent

When looking at purchasing cabinetry for you home or business, what do you look for? I look for domestically manufactured cabinets where the materials are also domestically sourced. No added formaldehyde should be a consideration as well as waterborne finishes. Are they a member of the KCMA?

Are they an FSC certified company (for sustainable forestry practices)? Have their products been tested by a third party to assure carb2 compliance and back up their claims?

I'm proud to represent Executive Cabinetry who is the only Greenguard Gold Certified cabinet maker. I am frustrated when I see other companies calling their products "green" without anything much to back them up other than using bamboo (imported) and hardwood which is sustainable despite what some believe. How do you decide?

Allison Friedman Weston, MA, united-states 0 Ratings 99 Discussions 131 Group posts

Allison Friedman // Rate It Green Admin

I have lyptus cabinets and they look great. I hope they are green, as I chose the only eco option available at the time. But one of the problems in evaluating sustainability is that consumers and commercial end users alike often don't know the right questions to ask. Sometimes those selling products aren't even sure about environmental and health considerations, as they might only know what companies choose to share with them. How do we know if we are working with a green product or company when a proper analysis would include process points from resource extraction through use and to the end of life? For example, we hear that bamboo and lyptus are green, so we might feel great about a decision to purchase. But then I learned that when demand for products like these increase, farmers will sometimes clear cut to make room for more of the popular crop. Not so green. Do I have good lyptus?

And then we have to ask about what is green and what is healthy? And we need both. Fortunately, it seems in the last two years that the green building and healthy building movements have started to find some real common ground. We don't want to buy a more sustainable product only to learn that we missed a factor and now have less healthy air!

Certifications can help, but the world of certifications can be confusing too. Sometimes a certification only covers one claim or product attribute. Or it looks more at one factor- like environment and not also health? There is nothing wrong with this per se, unless the consumer is mislead as a result. I am really excited about all I am hearing about the transparency movement, but I am also concerned about how we are to manage and understand all the potential data. For both building professionals and consumers. We need to be able to evaluate as efficiently as possible: Is a product green? Is it part of a healthy environment? Is this product great to work with and durable? All of these are important to a confident sustainable purchasing process.

Jonathan Cabinet Representative Midlothian, VA, united-states 2 Ratings 1 Discussions 0 Group posts

Jonathan Cabinet Representative // Sustainable American manufacturing proponent

Definitely agree Allison. As you mentioned products can be promoted as green when only one aspect (like fast growth cycle with bamboo) is truly green. By the time bamboo is manufactured using lots of energy in its' production (much more than hardwoods require) and copious amounts of glue (the majority with added formaldehyde in it for strength), and then shipped by rail or truck to the ports, shipped overseas, and then shipped from the port to the distributor and finally to the's hardly the greenest option. If bamboo farming and production were done domestically, many of those issues would go away and the sustainable attributes (fast growth, durability, and carbon sequestration)

Executive offers Bamboo as part of its' offerings, so there is no bias there. Here's some more information on the comparison of bamboo vs hardwoods (but from a biased source in this case)

On: 06/05/2015 Allison Friedman wrote:

I have lyptus cabinets and they look great. I hope they are green, as I chose the only eco option available at the time. But one of the problems in evaluating sustainability is that consumers and commercial end users alike often don't know the righ…

BBRDeb Boston, MA, united-states 0 Ratings 0 Discussions 0 Group posts


Boston Building Resources has a webpage that lists the different factors to consider, including wood for the boxes and the doors, how far the cabinets are transported, and glues/finishes used.

Matt Hoots Atlanta, GA, united-states 4 Ratings 13 Discussions 7 Group posts

Matt Hoots // SawHorse Design + Build

I guess you to look at the needs of the end user. If they are chemical sensitive, then you are looking to avoid adding VOC's to their environment. If there are seeking a green certification for their space, then the more points you can bring to the table the better. I believe it is key to promote the benefits of your product based on what the consumer values. If there are things that you value and the consumer does not, you can still do it, just sell based on the needs of your target market. Most of my clients don't know they are getting a green house because I made it standard practice.


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