Hi everyone! Saxon Henry here. For my guest-post, I’m going to turn an old adage on its ear. Though there is great truth in the caveat “while the cat’s away the mouse will play,” my homage to Paul’s terrific blog is a bit more like “while the cat’s at play, the mouse doesn’t stray,” as I’d like to mention the importance of sustainability in the kitchen. With 41.5 percent of a home’s energy consumption centralized in the kitchen (according to the U.S. Department of Energy), going beyond Energy Star appliances, compact florescent and LED light sources, and water-conserving faucets is becoming increasingly necessary if we want to be truly “green.”
Cabinetry companies with eco-friendly features like non-toxic paints and lacquers, and heavy metal-free compositions for fewer emissions are more plentiful than they have been in the past. A great example is ALNO, whose cabinetry was used in the Healthy Child, Healthy World green home in Austin, Texas.
Another segment of the Kitchen & Bath market that is making a commitment to green practices and materials is the tile industry. Ceramic Tiles of Italy’s contingent of manufacturers was early on the scene with state-of-the-art facilities that allow for sustainable production. Products of the organization’s companies have received some important certifications, from the prestigious European Union’s Environmental Management Program (EMAS) and ISO 14001, which mandates guidelines dictating limitations on pollution and energy consumption during the manufacturing process.
Examples of the certified products are Casalgrande Padana's Granitoker and Pietre Native collections, which received both certifications; the company’s Marte tile, which received an EMAS; and Caesar's More, Feel, and Glam collections, which received the ISO 14001 certification.
One of the best examples of stateside companies making a dynamic commitment to sustainability is Trend USA. The company’s entire Trend Q Collection has just received Greenguard certification for Schools and Children, which represents the strictest standards for low VOC emissions. Trend Q has actually received one of the lowest emission rates in the industry with a total VOC emission of 0.012 mg/m3. The collection of 49 colors contains up to 72% post consumer recycled content, which is integrated with glass from recycled beer, gin, and water bottles, copper infused Aventurina, and mother of pearl. Trend’s FEEL collection, which comes in 12 colors and a variety of patterns, has a minimum of 80% post-consumer recycled glass.
Brazilian manufacturer Eliane has brought EcoStone to the U.S. The porcelain tile contains 60-percent post-industrial recycled raw material, and is manufactured with a sustainable process that reuses 90 percent of the water, and nets energy savings of up to 50 percent each cycle. EcoStone won the 2009 Fritz Muller Award for being the first ecological porcelain from Brazil. I featured the company on Design Commotion this month, as Eliane’s CEO Edson Gaidzinski will accept the award on August 31.
Summer’s end is approaching fast and we’ll all soon be spending more time in the kitchen. Wouldn’t we breathe a little easier if every material used in constructing our environments were considered so seriously? In case this post feels a bit preachy, I’d like to point out that there’s no need to sacrifice beauty and style when going green, as the images I’ve posted here illustrate.