The new buzzword in building industry is “Green”. This term has multiple meanings.
Green is most often used to denote products that save water or use less energy, earning LEEDS (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) points for new buildings.
Plumbing manufacturers offer HET (High Efficiency Toilet) Water Sense toilets which flush with 20% less water than the standard 1.6gpf toilets. Currently, standard shower heads in America are designed to deliver 2.5 gallons per minute. The “Green” version shower head saves water by
providing 1.75 gallons per minute flow rate. According to Kohler Company the average household
can conserve up to 7,700 gallons per year for each water conserving shower head in use, 16, 500 gallons per year for each HET and 14,700 gallons per year with water conserving aerators on lavatory and kitchen faucets. When all are added together, this represents significant saving of water and money.
The term “Green” is also used to indicate if the product can be recycled, is made from renewable materials, has production certified for resource management, or is manufactured close to source of raw materials product with limited transportation to the end user.
Metals such as stainless steel, cast iron, and aluminum all can be recycled at the end of product’s usable life. Kohler, Elkay, and Julien have scrap metal recovery programs onsite for their factory production. Recycled glass is used to make glass tiles and in concrete countertops imbedded with glass chunks. Dupont Corian Terra Collection has recycled content certified by Scientific Certification Systems. Enviro Bath makes solid cast metal sinks and faucets of 100% recycled metals.
Two sources of renewable materials are cork and bamboo. Cork is used for floor tiles which offer warmth, color and resiliency. Bamboo is used for countertops, sinks, and flooring. Though few certifications exist at this time, woods used in all wood vanities may be harvested in a sustainable way.
Two wood vanity producers, Omega Cabinetry and Woodpro are certified by the KCMA (Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturer Association) in the Environmental Stewardship Program. This certification verifies that their plants recycle wastes and seeks to actively reduce landfill waste. Woodpro’s website says, “Woodpro recycles finish solvents, cardboard, and other wastes. We use lumber optimization technology to reduce lumber waste. We use inter-office email and both sides of paper to reduce paper use. Despite producing tons of wood waste from machine operations, Woodpro has not taken a load of wood waste to a landfill in more than 11 years. Wood waste is used by Woodpro to generate steam energy that heats Woodpro’s buildings and finish ovens.” Woodpro also started using low formaldehyde plywood in July of 2009.
While almost all product lines contain some components from international sources, vanities made in the USA of oak, alder, cherry and maple are as close to the source of raw materials as one can find. Most of Kohler Company’s vitreous China products, faucets, and cast iron tubs are made in USA. Porcelain tiles by Level, Ragno, and Iris are made in USA.
If you would like to learn more, please visit our Showroom and speak to one of knowledgeable and friendly Sales Associates.