How does Litchfield Cabinetry build a green cabinet?
By purchasing lumber that is FSC certified you are ensuring that this material has been regulated by a system that prohibits the use of hazardous pesticides, prohibits cultivation of genetically modified trees, and avoids illegally harvested wood that is in violation of traditional and civil rights; from conservation areas; and from the conversion of natural forests or from genetically altered trees. Our supplier, Hood Distribution (link to www.hooddistribution.com), provides us with a Chain of Custody certificate ensuring the credibility of these products. Plywood that is formaldehyde-free is also used in the construction of cabinetry. This plywood is compliant with the US Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED).
It is also important to consider the green effects of cabinetry finish. Litchfield Cabinetry uses a lacquer based finished that is HAPS (hazardous air pollutants) free and emit low VOCs (volatile organic compound). Thus helping the environment and health of our employees and each other.
Traditionally constructed buildings are comparatively wasteful, consuming (% of world usage):
WHY BUILD GREEN?
There are many financial, environmental, and social reasons for building GREEN. Annually, GREEN buildings save an average of:
• 40% of water consumption
• 30% of energy usage
• 50%-75% in construction and demolition waste
• $58 billion in employee sick time
• $180 billion in increased worker productivity
The benefits of GREEN building contribute to the protection of our ecosystem, by improving air quality and conserving natural resources. GREEN constructed buildings are not only less strenuous on the environment, but they are also durable, comfortable, and increase resale value, making them excellent investments.
• 36% of energy use
• 65% of electricity consumption
• 30% of greenhouse gas emissions
• 30% of raw materials use
• 30% of waste output
Thanks to the increasing availability of GREEN educational tools, GREEN building is becoming culturally embraced and experiencing substantial growth. At the end of 2007,
builders responsible for 80% of the nation's construction had incorporated GREEN practices into their building projects.
Guidelines, governed by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), and Leadership in Energy & Environmental Development (LEED), governed by the U.S. Green Building Council, are the two major, nationally recognized GREEN building programs responsible for guiding and educating builders on GREEN practices.
The Leadership in Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System
was developed by the U.S. Green Building Council in 1998. LEED establishes
standards and benchmarks for environmentally sustainable construction. The
technical criteria used to establish these benchmarks are developed by LEED
committees, and are reviewed for approval by the member organizations that
currently encompass the U.S. Green Building Council. By having member
organizations actively participate in the endorsement of LEED criteria, LEED
remains a public-forum, open to change and improvement.
The LEED Green Building Rating System was created to accomplish the following:
• Establish a common standard of measurement for GREEN building
• Promote integrated, whole-building design practices
• Recognize environmental leadership in the building industry
• Stimulate GREEN competition
• Raise consumer awareness of GREEN building benefits
• Transform the building industry
Since its inception, LEED has grown from a small-scale criterion on GREEN
building into a more complete, six-tiered system of standards encompassing all
areas of the development and construction process. These standards include:
(1) Sustainable Sites
(2) Water Efficiency
(3) Energy and Atmosphere
(4) Materials and Resources
(5) Indoor Environmental Quality
(6) Innovation and Design Process
LEED certification is granted when the builder or architect submits an application to the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), documenting their compliance with the LEED rating system. The LEED Green Building Rating system is made up of points. Similar to the Model Green Home Building Guidelines, LEED certification is granted in award levels, determined by the total number of accumulated points. These award levels include:
The LEED Green Building Rating System does not award points to any individual product. Instead, the cumulative environmental benefits of multiple products used in a given project, collectively contribute to earning LEED points. Currently, LEED criteria only recognizes wood certified through the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) governing body.
LEED building projects are investments that promote healthier living and working environments by conserving natural resources, reducing waste and energy consumption, and optimizing efficiency. In comparison to conventional building, the costs involved in GREEN construction are higher. However, federal grants and tax incentives are available for LEED building projects.
Currently LEED is focused on commercial building and multi-family, low income housing. The LEED Residential Construction Standards are being developed and anticipate completion in 2009.