By now we all know we have to take action to make our home a greener environment, but most of us don’t know where to start.
1. Green Kitchen and Bathroom Cabinets –
No we don’t mean your cabinets have to be the color green. But they should be free of toxins. Harsh chemicals and in particular, formaldehyde, have been know to cause a large variety of illnesses, including asthma, seizures, and even cancer. Look for cabinetry that is free of formaldehyde, uses low- or no- VOC (volatile organic compounds) paint, and is made from sustainable wood resources. We have our own line of custom, formaldehyde free cabinets made from 100% sustainable wood sources?
2. Stop drinking bottled water –
We know that clean water is good for our health, but buying bottled water is actually very bad for the environment. Bottled water takes an enormous amount of energy, not just to produce, but to get the product to the consumer. The cost of transporting the 3.4 billion gallons of bottled water to Americans is staggering. It’s nowonder that gas prices have sky rocketed. By purchasing bottled water you not only pay for it at the checkout counter, but you also pay for it at the pump and at home as energy bills keep rising. To top things off, research indicates that bottled water is often no healthier or safter to drink than tap water. Reverse osmosis systems, such as the one from Everpure® provide the highest level of filtration. Look for a system that has been issued the highest ratings from NSF International.
3. Conserver water –
The bathroom is the number one source of wasted water in the home, but now the advancement in toilet technology is astonishing. With dual flush systems such as the ones by TOTO® and Caroma®, as seen on Oprah and The View, you can conserve water by selecting a little flush or a big flush.
4. Buy handmade –
It might seem obvious, but we often overlook the amount of energy that is required to make products. By purchasing handmade products like the tiles from Eli’s Tiles for your kitchen or bathroom, you not only get a one of a kind product, but you are also protecting the environment.
5. Buy recycled products –
Products made from recycled materials are a great way to show how eco-savvy you are and prevent extra waste from ending up in our landfills. Recycled aluminum sinks are an excellent way to spruce up your bathroom and do something good for the environment. If you can’t find a product made from recycled materials, then choose products that can be recycled such as fixtures from Mina that are made from 100% stainless steel.
There is no clear cut definition of what sustainability is. The World Commission (Bruntland 1987) has broadly defined sustainability as “development that meets needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” Luckily, when it comes to wood and forestry, there is a clear definition:
“the capacity of forests, ranging from stands to ecoregions, to maintain their health, productivity, diversity, and overall integrity, in the long run, in the context of human activity and use.”
What does that mean? It means trees should not be cut down faster than what is necessary to keep the earth safe and habitable for humans.
In general, wood is a more eco-friendly choice. Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the leading gas contributing to the greenhouse effect. Trees “breathe” CO2. They store the carbon-C and release the oxygen-O2. Most cubic meters of wood have about 0.8 to 0.9 tonnes of CO2.
1 tonne CO2 = 556,000 litres or 556 cubic meters (about the volume of a 3 bedroom house)
On average, 1.1 tonnes CO2 emissions would be produced for each cubic meter of a manufactured material such as plastics or other materials that aren’t eco-friendly. So by selecting wood over a less eco-friendly product you are essentially saving 2 tonnes of CO2 from being released into the atmosphere.
In addition, if you select wood from a sustainable source that wood is being replaced by new growth.
Bamboo – Grown on immense plantations in China, Vietnam, other Asian countries and is over 1/8 of the forests in India. Bamboo is fast-growing and is ready to harvest in 4-6 years! Due to its fast rate of growth, it utilizes much less fertilizers and pesticides. Technically it’s grass and not wood, but is more durable than many hardwoods due to its pore structure – it’s the same as wood. Its light in color like ash or maple.
Cane – Like bamboo, it is a grass, but is stronger and more flexible. It is indigenous to the Phillipines and like bamboo it is also 100% sustainable.
Mango – Chances are you’ve eaten a mango, afterall it is the world’s #1 fruit! Mango trees provide fruit for 15 years, after that, they stop. So the wood is harvested and new trees are planted.
Maple – It is a relatively fast growing tree; growing 18” or more per year.
Lyptus – Lyptus hardwood products are an excellent option when selecting an exotic species grown to sustainable forest certification standards. Offering all of the benefits expected of a tropical hardwood, Lyptus hardwood is ideal for cabinetry, millwork, furniture and flooring applications.
Obviously, buying wood from endangered species is not a good idea. Luckily, in the US it is prohibited so your chances are very slim.
Stay away from slow growing trees such as Oak, Redwood, Beech and Colorado Spruce. However, these are great trees to select when landscaping your home! Medium growth rate trees such as red oak, birch and red-bud have medium growth rates and should be okay when purchased from sustainable resources.
The Forest Stewardship Council is an international not-for-profit organization that has created a set of standards that finds solutions for existing bad forestry practices and promotes responsible management of the world’s forests. By purchasing products with their label, you are supporting environmentally responsible management of the world’s forests.Forest certification systems are being implemented around the world. The five largest systems operating in North America are the FSC, SFI, ATFS, CSA, and PEFC.
For more information, about formaldehyde-free cabinets made from sustainable wood, contact Bradco Kitchens & Baths at (323) 936-3457 or visit their showroom at 6011 West Pico Blvd, LA 90036 (at the corner of Pico and Crescent Heights.