We build responsibly as stewards of our environment. Its not easy, but it's the right thing to do and something we have been committed to for over 20 years. It's an extension of our holistic approach to business. And we believe our business is about more than just cabinets and profits. We have refined our values to include a larger sense of purpose for our company and its effect on the world we live in.
Listed below are highlights of materials and processes
incorporated into our holistic eco-sensitive manufacturing
First of all, we carry the Environmental Stewardship Program seal of certification administered by the Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturers Association (KCMA). You can view our official KCMA Environmental Stewardship Certificate here. This certification is your assurance that we are dedicated to making sure more than just your cabinets last. ESP recently earned approval from the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) accredited certification organization. And the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) now references ESP as their benchmark for cabinet standards. Our cabinetry meets or exceeds stringent manufacturing criteria in the following categories:
- Control of air quality and emission levels
- Use of certified and sustainable materials
- Energy efficient manufacturing processes
- Waste and recycle management
- Social stewardship
In the area of sustainable material usage and resource management
Our standard particle board used for our cabinet case construction meets the Composite Panel Association (CPA) Environmentally Preferable Product (EPP) specification CPA 2-06 for low formaldehyde levels. The level must be no greater than 0.18 per million parts of air. This is extremely low, and satisfies the stringent 2010 California Air Resource Board Phase II requirements for low formaldehyde emissions.
The same particle board core material also meets the same EPP specification for being manufactured with 100% fiber that's recycled, recovered or both. This is recycled wood, and it's put to good use. This material is also harvested and milled within 500 miles of our factory, reducing transportation and fuel consumption.
Our new EcoCore box option provides the best solution for environmental sustainability and air quality in a cabinet interior. This industrial grade pine core particle board contains no urea formaldehyde, therefore exceeding all air quality and emission standards. It is Composite Panel Association (CPA) certified as an Environmentally Preferred Product (EPP) meaning it is 100% recycled or reclaimed wood fiber content. Surfaces are covered with thermo-fused Maple wood grain melamine, creating a great looking cabinet interior that is durable, easy to maintain, and healthy for you and our environment.
Being eco sensitive isn't just about the materials, it's also aboutmanufacturing processes, conservation processes, and air quality
Waste management is a huge part of our responsible, holistic approach. In 2007 we recycled over 60 tons of cardboard scrap, 940 tons of wood waste, and 1,095 tons of sawdust; all materials that didn't end up in landfills. Over 5,200 gallons of solvent were recycled from our wood finishing products last year, and in doing so, our system converted that into reusable, clean solvent.
Another aspect of our commitment to waste reduction is our panel cutting machinery optimization software. It improves our panel yields by 15% over conventional processes, which means less waste.
Energy conservation is achieved by using the latest wood working machine technology. Using the newest machinery increases productivity and capacity with less energy. And our dust collection system not only provides a clean air environment, it also uses a computer controlled, variable frequency drive system that is programmed to run at the necessary capacity level that saves a considerable amount of electricity. And while it may seem like a small issue, we've even adapted our lighting to an efficiency level that earns us an energy rebate check.
Our state-of-the-art computerized flat-line spray system used for applying the clear top coats reduces emissions by over 30%. And it incorporates a reclaim system that captures overspray, which is then used for a sealer coat. No waste.
We use Sherwin-Williams clear, catalyzed conversion varnish top coating. It has no measurable level of formaldehyde or hazardous air pollutants (HAPs), and extremely low levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Use of this top coat combined with our Cefla automated application system contributes to our exceptional air quality standards.
And a very important aspect of being green often overlooked is social responsibility
As a responsible builder of fine cabinetry, we have become stewards of our community, locally and beyond. We participate, physically and financially, in local outreach programs such as Habitat for Humanity and Vine Maple Place. We help build young lives with involvement in the Eagles Wings Youth Camp in Latvia. Through our association with Agros International, we sponsor and regularly send work teams to La Esperanza, a remote village in El Salvador; where we are helping build hope into the lives of families.
We view green manufacturing not as just the management and protection of our natural resources, but also the investment in the people of our company, the local community, and the world beyond.
ESP: Environmental Stewardship Program is administered by the KCMA and provides cabinet manufacturers with a tangible way of measuring and showing their commitment to environmental sustainability. www.kcma.org/certifications/environmental-stewardship
Formaldehyde: The chemical compound Methanal (H2CO). Urea formaldehyde is an important chemical used widely by industry to manufacture building materials and numerous household products. It is also a by-product of combustion and certain other natural processes. Humans, plants and animals produce it as a normal part of living. Formaldehyde levels in building materials have been lowered by more than 80% since the 1980's. Formaldehyde is measured in parts per million of air. Levels of 00.2 ppm and less are considered very low and 'non-threatening' to human health. It's important to note that wood products touted as “formaldehyde-free” do, in fact, contain and emit trace amounts of formaldehyde. When cabinetry, furniture, trim or paneling is painted, stained, laminated or otherwise coated – as most materials are – they emit almost no measurable level of formaldehyde. www.ecobind.com
FSC: The Forest Stewardship Council was created to develop principles, criteria and standards relating to forest management and sustainability. www.fscus.org
HAPs: Hazardous Air Pollutants are air-borne chemical compounds which in higher concentration levels could cause adverse effects to the environment and ultimately human health.
Holistic: From the Greek word 'holos', meaning all, total; the whole is more than the sum of individual parts or components.
KCMA: Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturers Association is a national trade association representing and servicing cabinet manufacturers in the areas of quality standards, research, and education. www.kcma.org
LEED: Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design provides a rating system for measuring 'green' performance levels in commercial and residential building projects. www.usgbc.org/LEED See product specifications for LEED certification points available.
SFI: The Sustainable Forest Initiative is an independently directed program incorporating third party certification focused on protecting economical, environmental, and social needs of our forests and communities. www.aboutsfi.org
Sustainability: In the context of forestry refers to the environmentally conscious processes and procedures for planting, managing, and harvesting timber as directed by forestry certification programs such as SFI and FSC.
VOCs: Volatile Organic Compounds are chemical compounds containing carbon that vaporize or 'off-gas' from a variety of natural and artificial products including various household items such as cleaning chemicals, carpets, and solvents.
Wood: This natural building material source is neither scarce nor finite. No energy is used to generate wood. Hardwoods and softwoods are 'produced' naturally with power from the sun and irrigation from the rain.
The US has about 25% more forest than 45 years ago due to sustainable forestry practices put in place nearly a century ago. Total hardwood (trees that lose their leaves are considered hardwoods) growth rate surpasses harvest by 70%. More than 7 million private individuals and families own 73% of all hardwood forestland in the US; most of which is in the eastern half of the US. The volume of hardwood has increased 90% since 1950 due to collective forest stewardship practices. Each year, more than 1.7 billion trees are planted in the US, more than 5 trees for every person.
Wood has a higher strength to weight ratio than steel, and can be recycled over and over. And wood takes relatively little energy to produce into a finished building material; unlike materials such as steel, concrete, or even brick which require high energy usage and results in carbon and other chemical output. A steel stud for example takes more than 21 times the energy to produce. Trees release oxygen, and in turn collect and store carbon forever, even when milled into lumber.
All parts of a tree are used, and even the waste material from board production is reclaimed and used for building materials such as particle board or MDF. Wood is a great sustainable construction material.