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Going Green with Cabinets

In an attempt to “go green” with our kitchen remodel, what are your thoughts on cabinets and what makes a cabinet green?

Cabinets can certainly make a huge design statement in a home and surprisingly cabinets have an impact on your indoor air quality. As they say, only the “nose knows”. If you can detect and sense an odor with your cabinets, it is very likely “off gassing” is occurring and you are smelling toxins. It is important to purchase cabinets that lessen and reduce the use of toxic resins and toxic stains. Cabinet manufacturers have come a long way in reducing indoor pollutants in their products and they are more environmentally responsible then they were in the mid to late 1990’s. There is a cabinet certification through the Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturers Association (KCMA) called (ESP) Environmental Stewardship Program. There are several cabinet manufacturers that are using the ESP guidelines, which help to increase sustainability. There is a caveat to this and that is not all cabinets are KCMA certified. The ESP awards cabinet manufactures points for certification and the manufacturer must achieve a minimum of 80 points out of 105. The point scale is Air Quality 30 points Product Resource Management 30 points Process Resource Management 20 points Environmental Stewardship 15 points Community Relations 10 points Air Quality means that the product is finished in a domestic environment and the finishes used to do emit hazardous air pollutants greater than allowed by the local manufacturing plant. Community Relations means not receiving and citations from federal, state or local environmental agency for 12 months prior. Product Management is directed at where the wood is harvested from and Process Management is how the wood species is finished. Keep in mind the ESP certification does not guarantee that a particular product brand will meet your sustainability requirements and there are many cabinet manufactures that make green cabinets without pursuing this certification. 

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