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California cabinets: what green really means

by Aretha Grant

When looking to remodel your home or kitchen in California, you're sure to bump up against the terms "green" and "eco-friendly" quite a bit. The words "green" and "California" have gone hand-in-hand for decades now, but in recent years "green-washing" has gotten out of hand--especially in the world of California cabinets. Here is a check list of things that will help ensure that the cabinets you are purchasing are, in fact, green.

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Green cheat sheet for California cabinets

  • LEED certified: This acronym stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, and it's a certification conferred by the U.S. Green Building Council. If your cabinets are LEED certified, it means that the product has gone through a rigorous third-party examination in various green design categories, including resource sustainability and indoor environmental quality. LEED Certification can be attained on four levels: Certified, Silver, Gold and Platinum.
  • ESP certified: The Environmental Stewardship Program was developed by the Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturer's Association in 2006 to help consumers identify products that are truly environmentally friendly. Its increasingly stringent criteria address consumer concerns from sustainable resources to end-product emissions.
  • Zero-waste: This is a term used to describe a cabinet's production process, and can only be applied if the manufacturer was able to recycle 100 percent of the byproducts, such as wood or sawdust, instead of adding the leftovers to a landfill.

If you are invested in limiting your carbon footprint and committed to decreasing irritating emissions in your home, it is important to be thoughtful during each step of your remodeling process. Try to buy your California cabinets from a local manufacturer who has at least one of the above qualifications. You might have to pay a bit more than you would for old-fashioned mass-market cabinetry, but Mother Earth--and your family--will thank you.

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