In Vermont the seasons are still tied to production of wood furniture. Winter provides the best opportunity for careful logging because frozen ground is less susceptible to damage. And Spring begins a new cycle for forest stewardship planning– a process that ensures availability of wood for future generations. At Vermont Woods Studios that process is led by Lynn Levine (our professional forester) who helps manage the 100 acre woodland that Stonehurst sits upon. A woodland we’re using to help people understand where their furniture comes from: trees that are sustainably harvested.
What is Sustainable, Eco Friendly Furniture?
I just googled “sustainable eco friendly furniture” and came up with everything from IKEA (who was recently suspended from the Forest Stewardship Council FSC for illegally clear cutting 600 year old trees in Russia) to Pottery Barn (well known for greenwashing campaigns like their eco chic collection). At Vermont Woods Studios we’ve written a lot about sustainable furniture and how it’s defined. Because we sell mainly wooden furniture we focus on responsible sourcing, green certification of wood, advantages of local and American made furniture, and the importance of recycled and handmade furniture. For examples of a wider variety of eco friendly furniture, check out the latest green furniture articles on Inhabitat.
Why Buy Sustainable Furniture?
“Every dollar you spend or don’t spend is a vote you cast for the world you want.” – L.N. Smith
A couple other reasons that come to mind include:
better health for your family (no exposure to the flammables, lead and toxic coatings that are often present in furniture)
less investment in furniture over the long run (sustainable furniture is built to last a lifetime so no replacements are necessary) and
support for local communities that produce sustainable furniture
Have some reasons of your own? Let us know on Facebook or in the comments section below.
Big thanks to Anthony A. Chiaravallo, Founder & CEO of Conscious Connection Magazine for featuring Vermont Woods Studios sustainable, eco friendly furniture this week. Conscious Connection is widely regarded as the leading cultural creative magazine. It spotlights a “global community of thought leaders, entrepreneurs and visionaries advocating for global peace, personal transformation and eco-creative living”.
Kelsey and Anthony have been collaborating on CC’s Creative Home Living Series that focuses on incorporation of sustainably and locally sourced products into the home. We join green living expert Susan Inglis of the Sustainable Furnishings Council SFC, earth conscious designer Barry Dixon and many others in Anthony’s series on green home design.
Making its debut in 2002 and then biannually since 2005 is the US Department of Energy’s Solar Decathlon. This competition challenges 20 collegiate teams to design, build, and operate solar powered, energy efficient homes that are cost effective, functional, and attractive. The winning team will have successfully blended affordability, consumer appeal and design excellence with optimal energy production and maximum efficiency. The fifth event will take place Sept. 23–Oct. 2, 2011 at the National Mall’s West Potomac Park in Washington, D.C. and is open to the public, free of charge.
Customers and fans of Vermont Woods Studios are aware of our environmental and social mission and our community of eco friendly furniture makers that are dedicated not only to beauty and quality in our craft, but also to the preservation of our natural environment. So you can imagine our excitement to be a part of the project and support the Vermont Solar Decathlon team by contributing a bed!
You see Vermont’s own Middlebury College is participating in the Solar Decathlon so when one of the schools team members reached out to us for a furniture donation we were thrilled to to no end to be part of such an important “Green Mission” event. This is such a great way to raise awareness about solar energy and sustainable lifestyles. Middlebury SD team member Casey Peterson had contacted us during the team’s research for interior furnishings. Part of the team’s mission is trying to source as much of the building materials and furnishings from Vermont as possible (including harvesting timber from the Middlebury College grounds). And according to Casey what really resonated with the Middlebury design team was not only the quality of work at Vermont Woods Studios but the sustainable production processes used by our workshops. The team chose our Cherry Moon Dovetail Platform Bed to be the centerpiece of the Master Bedroom and we couldn’t agree more with their choice.
The Middlebury team is now putting the finishing touches to the home and at some point will have to disassemble it and transport it down to the National Malls West Potomac Park in Washington DC. During the event, thousands of people will be guided through the 20 homes on display, and the houses will be judged on categories like energy use and home entertainment. And while no team really loses in this competition you know who we are rooting for!
Are you wondering what happens to these Solar Decathlon houses after the competition? Since the first event in 2002, 72 houses have competed in the Solar Decathlon. These houses are now located throughout the United States and around the world and continue to serve numerous education, conservation and community-oriented functions.
There is a wealth of information about this great event and its history at the US Department of Energy website. And if you are rooting for or would like to learn more about the Middlebury team they have put together a great site that chronicles their project and gives insight to the team and their mission. Go Team Middlebury!