Green Selling

So what is green cabinetry?

It is not just the use of no-added formaldehyde materials or certified woods. Although those are steps in the right direction, green cabinetry products result from a holistic approach to all manufacturing and material sourcing processes. BCC products are certified under the ESP program. This assures end users they have received cabinetry built under strict adherence to the use of sustainable materials and processes that are eco-friendly.

Click here to download our printer-friendly Green Speak Cheat Sheet.

Is ESP credible?

  • ESP is referenced in National Association of Home Builders ANSI approved building standards.
  • Architectural Testing recognizes ESP as the environmental benchmark for cabinetry.
  • Certification is renewed annually and manufacturers have to substantiate the requirements through documentation.
  • Program requirements are frequently reviewed as new advances are made. The program is becoming more restrictive.

How do I explain green cabinetry to my customer?

First of all, you have to know the green basics.
  • Understand the different certification programs and how they are a component of green.
  • Understand the ESP certification and how it is a holistic approach.
  • Know the truth about formaldehyde and how it has virtually become a non-issue with our cabinetry.
  • Understand CARB emission standards for formaldehyde.
  • Understand the facts about woods and how wood is one of our best renewable resources.

Next, ask your client what their expectations are and determine their level of knowledge. What most consumers hear or read is the use of FSC woods and no formaldehyde products. This is true, but green goes beyond just the materials; it's the processes and materials.
Then, support your explanation with printed green related brochures that we provide. Another tool is the use of the Pacific Crest Story DVD (also available to view online). Give this disc or link to a potential client to view at home. They will learn the character of our company.

Some facts regarding green and our industry:

  • Our forest and our trees are renewable natural resources. Woodproducts come from a resource that grows and matures and is being replanted for future generations mostly in privately owned forests.
  • Every year, six additional trees are planted for every one that is harvested.
  • In 1991, over 1.7 billion trees were planted in the U.S. That averages four and one-half million each day. Or more than six trees for every man, woman, and child in America.
  • While trees are renewable, each tone of iron ore, coal, and limestone used are gone forever.
  • Wood is recyclable, biodegradable, and durable sometimes lasting for centuries. When it is no longer needed, it can be returned to the Earth.
  • "Using more wood, not less, is one of the best ways to address climate change." Dr. Patrick Moore, Co-founder of Greenpeace.
  • Trees remove carbon from the air and wood products store carbon long term.
  • Wood can generate clean energy.
  • Wood reduces the need to burn fossil fuels to produce steel, concrete, and plastic.
  • A steel stud requires 21 times as much energy to produce and releases 15 times the sulfur dioxide as a wood two by four.

Some facts regarding formaldehyde:

  • Formaldehyde occurs naturally. It's all around us.
  • All wood species and wood products contain and emit small amounts of formaldehyde.
  • Formaldehyde is normally present at low levels in both outdoor and indoor air, well below levels that might affect human health.
  • Formaldehyde does not accumulate in the environment or within people.
  • Low emissions = less than 0.18 parts per million. This is the CARB 2010 standard for particle board.
  • Our industry is moving away from resins containing any formaldehyde.

Green Terminology

Some of the more common terms / acronyms associated with green and cabinetry are explained below.
These programs relate to cabinetry manufacturing and some of the materials used to build green cabinetry.

ESP (Environmental Stewardship Program) A certification program launched by the Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturers Association (KCMA) setting measurement standards and criteria to encourage enviro-sensitive cabinet industry policies and practices. Cabinet manufacturers must meet strict criteria in 5 categories to gain this certification. They are air quality, product resouce management, process resource management, environmental stewardship, and community relations. Some of the components of the program include certifications such as SFI, CARB, and EPP.

CPA (Composite Panel Association) CPA represents composite (particle board or MDF medium density fiber board) panel manufacturers and is committed to improving enviro-sensitive panel products for the cabinet and furniture industry. CPA developed the EPP program to set standards for environmentally responsible components.

EPP (Environmentally Preferred Products) These products are certified to use 100% recycled or recovered wood fiber and require formaldehyde content to be equal to or lower than the stringent CARB 2009 air quality standards, currently at 0.18 parts per million, extremely low. EPP web site.

LEED (Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design) A certified rating program that was developed by the US Built Green Council to define commercial and residential green building standards. It utilizes a point system with four levels of possible certifications; the highest being platinum. Products utilized on a project seeking LEED certification contribute to points within different categories. Cabinetry can contribute points in the categories of Materials & Resources and Environmental Quality.

The two prominent forest certification programs recognized in the United States are FSC and SFI. Both these programs establish measurable requirements by which entire forest eco-systems must be measured. Both utilize third party verification audits and maintain the ultimate goal of a healthy renewable resource. Hardwoods carrying these certifications assure the lumber came from forests that were certified under the strict program regulations for sustainable forestry.

(Forest Stewardship Council) FSC originated out of the need for protection of forests in 3rd world countries. Its emphasis is on environmental and social economic impacts of forestry. A chain of custody certification process is utilized to ensure that all processes, from the landowner to the final fabrication point, meet certain criteria. There are 89 million acres of FSC certified forests in North America. Readily available hardwoods for cabinetry use are Cherry, Maple, and Red Oak. FSC is the oldest and most recognized wood certification program. It is also the only wood certification program recognized by the LEEDs Green Built certification program. FSC certified wood typically adds costs to the finished product.

SFI (Sustainable Forest Initiative) SFI is a sustainable forest certification program for North America. It has a heavy emphasis on forest management. There are more certified acres of SFI woods than any other program. There are 146 million acres in North America. This includes cabinet grade hardwoods such as Cherry, Maple, Red Oak, Alder, and many others. Although SFI lags behind FSC in public awareness, the program is sound and focused on the issue of maintaining our best renewable resource, timber. SFI is a certification program component of the ESP program. SFI certified hardwoods do not typically add costs.

Air quality is a major component of any green certification program. In the cabinet industry, this relates to formaldehyde emissions, adhesives, and wood finish products.

CARB (California Air Resource Board) A department of the California Environmental Protection Agency adopted the strictest air quality standards in the country for formaldehyde emissions. Wood products, such as particle board, MDF, and plywood must meet these standards to be sold in California. Most cabinet manufacturers adapted to these regulations. Legislation is already underway for all states to adapt to CARB standards for air quality. This is a major certification component of the ESP program. Formaldehyde emission levels below 0.20 parts per million are considered extremely low. Current CARB 2009 emission levels for particle board are 0.18; plywood is at 0.08. View Bellmont Cabinet Company's CARB Phase II Compliance Statement.

VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) VOCs are natural or synthetic chemical compounds containing carbon that vaporizes or off-gasses from a variety of natural and artificial products. This includes various household items such as cleaning chemicals, paints, stains, carpets, and many other items. Our nose detects VOCs as smells. The odor or strength of odor of VOCs does not correspond to health consequences. In the wood product industry, low levels of VOC off-gassing (less than 350 grams per liter) is important. This standard meets LEED certification requirements.

HAP (Hazardous Air Pollutants) Toxic chemicals released into the air. There is a specific list of HAP chemical compounds. Wood finishes and coatings should contain negligible or non-reportable levels of HAPs to be considered green.

FORMALDEHYDE This chemical is prevalent in all materials, is a by-product of combustion, and even exists naturally in our atmosphere. Humans, plants, and animals produce it as a normal part of living. Different forms of formaldehyde are used for different purposes. Urea formaldehyde is the most common version relating to the cabinet industry, and is a component of adhesives used for manufacturing plywood and particle board. Since the 1980's levels of formaldehyde utilized in adhesives have been reduced by over 80%. Air quality programs such as CARB have lowered the limits of formaldehyde emission levels. Levels of less than 0.20 parts per million are considered extremely 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 small amounts of formaldehye. The appropriate term is no-added formaldehyde (NAF) or no-added urea formaldehyde (NAUF).

A very important term for understanding true environmentally sensitive programs is holistic.

Holistic From the Greek word 'holos' meaning all, total, and the whole is more than the sum of individual parts. Effective environmental programs are holistic, encompassing all components and processes that ultimately effect the environment. The ESP program is a great example of holistic green manufacturing processes, encompassing all the different elements of eco-sensitivity.????Sustainable Meeting the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generatios to meet their needs. Sustainable isn't just long lasting. Green processes that are utilized to maintain levels of natural resources for future generations are said to be sustainable.

Green Specifications

What makes Bellmont cabinets green?
It begins with a commitment to making sure more than just the cabinets last. Environmental responsibility is one of our core values, and has been for many years. Bellmont Cabinet Company carries the ESP certification (see the Green Terminology page) meaning our processes and materials adhere to strict standards set by this comprehensive green cabinet program. Beyond the materials used are the unseen processes that reduce energy, improve air quality, and manage waste.
Some examples:
  • Our automated flat line finishing system with curing oven reduces coating material used. Overspray is reclaimed and utilized as sealer coats on wood drawers.
  • Our wood grinders turn material that would normally end up in landfills into useful ground up particles used in various applications.
  • Our solvent distiller turns contaminated solvents into fresh clean solvent that can be re-used, drastically reducing chemical waste.
  • Our state of the art dust collection system maintains a clean work environment. All captured material is utilized by others.

Energy efficient lighting and new high tech machinery reduce energy costs.
The new pack size carton machine creates custom sized cardboard wrap for each cabinet, thereby reducing waste. Any leftover cardboard is recycled, again.
Case panel material waste is minimized by using panel yield optimization software in our computerized panel saws.
We are reducing paper usage with the implementation of an electronic data management system, replacing files of papers with electronic files.??Another component of being green is social responsibility. Bellmont Cabinet Company is active in serving the local community and beyond.

Green cabinet construction:
  • Standard particle baord case construction use CPA-EPP certified particle board meaning 100% recycled fiber content and formaldehyde emissions that meet CARB 2010 standards. A high percentage of fiber content comes from softwood timber that is SFI certified.
  • Optional EcoCore (Bellmont only) particle board is both 100% recycled fiber content that has no-added urea formaldehyde. EcoCore also contains FSC mixed content fiber, meaning a 5th of the wood fiber comes from FSC certified timber.
  • Optional Bellmont plywood case construction uses SFI certified wood material, emits no HAPs or VOCs, and is a no-added formaldehyde product.

All glue used in the dowel and glue joinery as well as other assembly processes is formaldehyde free.
Over 70% of the standard hardwoods used for doors and drawer components are SFI certified.
The durable Sherwin Williams coatings applied to wood doors have non-reportable levels of HAPs and formaldehyde emissions, and extremely low VOCs.

What about LEED certification?
LEED certification pertains to the full commercial or residential building project. LEED certification, of which there are 4 levels, is achieved by the overall accumulation of points. Points are given within multiple categories in a LEED certified project; added together, and then submitted for a specific level of certification. Cabinetry is only one of many components contributing to LEED certification.

Can cabinets be LEED certified?
No. Cabinets are not LEED certified, nor are other materials used on LEED projects. Materials and processes used for construction contribute to LEED certification through the accumulation of points in different credit categories. in cabinetry, the number of points is dependent upon recycled and/or no-added formaldehyde case construction materials, the use of FSC certified woods for wood doors, location of project in relation to PCI plant, and other credit categories. Products contributing to LEED points often cost more, so decisions have to be made based on overall budget and level of LEED certification trying to be achieved. Cabinetry typically can contribute between 1 and 6 points toward a LEED certified project.??LEED categories relating to cabinetry:

Materials and Resources
  • Recycled content particle board for instance.
  • Local / regional materials job site in relation to manufacturing location.
  • Rapidly renewable materials bamboo doors for instance.
  • Certified wood FSC certified woods only recognized at this time.

Indoor Environmental Quality

  • Low emitting materials paint, wood finishes, our no-added formaldehyde particle board or plywood case construction options.
  • Low admitting materials adhesives and sealants.

Contact your Bellmont Cabinet Company Rep to address LEED certified projects to determine the best selection of case materials and door materials that will contribute the most points.