At Fiddlehead Designs, we’ve been focused exclusively on environmentally sustainable, ‘green’ cabinetry from the beginning. What makes a set of cabinets sustainable? We believe a cabinetry project’s sustainability is based on three elements – quality construction with sustainable materials, a protective and safe finish, and the ecological footprint of the woodworking shop.
Cabinetry shops and their clients now have a long list of options when it comes to environmentally sustainable materials. In particular, the bodies of your cabinets should be built with formaldehyde-free plywood. Another attractive option for the hidden parts of your cabinets is the new brand of particle board – a waterproof, structurally sound formaldehyde-free particle board made of 100% recycled wood fibers. The new high-quality cabinet hardware will give flawless performance for decades, so your new cabinets can too. We use only high-quality hardware such as the nearly bulletproof (and very easily adjusted) door hinges from Blum, and Blum’s exciting slow-closing undermount drawer slides. When selecting the solid wood used in your new cabinetry, we can order lumber certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) to be sustainably harvested. And when you’re choosing your countertop, there are several new natural options including bamboo and the new, dense paper-based products made with FSC-certified and/or recycled paper. We are experienced fabricators of all the main paper-based countertops.
Your new cabinetry needs to be protected against moisture, dirt, and everyday life. Nice furniture can survive with a natural oil finish (we use Tried and True’s completely non-toxic finishes), but kitchen, bath, and other built-in cabinetry requires something more protective. Finish manufacturers now provide low- or no-VOC (volatile organic compound) water-based spray finishes that are much safer for all involved, including the environment, the person doing the spraying, and your family once the cabinetry’s installed in your home. Low-VOC paints are also available as your cabinetry’s sprayed finish. Don’t be fooled by these new finishes’ safer chemistry – they’re just as protective of your furniture and cabinetry as the older, more toxic finishes. Just without the “toxic.”
And finally, be sure to choose a cabinetry business that is committed to reducing its ecological footprint. At Fiddlehead Designs, we purchase our materials and manage our waste to ensure as much is recycled as possible. All cardboard, paper, plastic, and metal waste ends up in the appropriate bin at the local recycling station. Wood shavings from the machines are donated to a local organic farm for use in the stables, and clean wood scraps are burned for heat in our employees’ home woodstoves. Local products and suppliers are preferred whenever possible. And over 75% of our electricity is generated on-site by the photovoltaic solar panels on our shop roof.
Surprisingly, environmentally sustainable cabinetry is one of those areas where it doesn’t cost more to be “green.” It just takes commitment, research, and experience.