Kitchen & Bath Design News recently posed this question to dealers and designers in the kitchen and bath industry: What are the keys to creating a green kitchen or bath? Following are some of their responses:
“I think the push toward green means being very thoughtful about how you handle products that you are working with. That said, communication with your clients is critical so that you give them all the options.
One of the things I stress is partnering with companies that have a sustainable approach to product sourcing. I have shifted my focus to seeking out alternative materials for countertops, mainly because granite is not an easily renewable resource. That is a concern.
In our area, there is also a great incentive to recycle. Our waste management company greatly encourages it and even gives discounts on the hauling service from a job site if we are willing to separate things and make it easy for them to recycle.
While it can be difficult to do well, we work with our contractors to remove existing kitchen cabinetry so that it can be used for programs such as Habitat for Humanity, or even local service programs, such as for a hospice or mental health facilities. We also do this with appliances.”
Ultimately though, as designers, it is our responsibility to stay abreast of the possible options available to us and educate consumers about the trade-offs in terms of budget.”
Elma Gardner, CMKBD
“Even when design firms seek to address the growing interest in green products, perhaps by adding a showroom vignette featuring a sustainable and renewable resource such as bamboo, the firm should consider how environmentally friendly it really is when the carbon footprint is taken into account.
Therefore, companies need to weigh the pros and cons of where the product came from and the carbon footprint before making a recommendation. That said, it is also important to have awareness of the environmental concerns specific to the project location. I recommend using locally fabricated products and creatively reusing or repurposing items or donating them to a recycled building products facility or charity.”
Amie Crawford, designer
The Cozy Kitchens Group
Kitty Hawk, NC
“Some of the keys to green design include understanding what your client’s expectations are when it comes to what green means to them, and what products are important to them. For instance, they may be interested in using cabinetry that has low formaldehyde or formaldehyde-free boxes because of off-gassing.