Vermont Woods Studios Handmade Furniture

eco friendly

Planting Trees Makes Vermont Furniture More Sustainable

February 15th, 2012 by Peggy Farabaugh

 

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Naturally, as wood furniture makers, we at Vermont Woods Studios Fine Furniture have to be concerned about forest conservation.  It's the foundation of our company's viability.

Although our Green Mountain Forests in Vermont are healthy and sustainable we know that, from a global perspective deforestation is the Number 1 environmental problem on our planet today.  Deforestation is a huge contributor to global warming, climate change, air pollution (carbon and other emissions from slash and burn practices), habitat loss, biodiversity loss, pollution of marine habitats (due to run-off from pesticides and fertilizers used to transform diverse forests into mono-cultured plantations) and more.

So at Vermont Woods Studios, we are working with The Nature Conservancy in support of their Plant A Billion Trees project.  We plant one tree for every order we fulfill and we support many non-profits dedicated to forest conservation.

We appreciate your concern for the environment.  When you buy wood furniture from us, you can rest assured that the forest where your furniture began it's life, will still be around for generations to come.  As will your furniture!

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Fine Wood Furniture, Sustainability and Rainforest Conservation

January 6th, 2012 by Peggy Farabaugh

Sustainable-furnitureKendall posted a new webpage the other day on the link between your furniture, rainforest conservation and a greener, more sustainable world. It's why we do what we do at Vermont Woods Studios Fine Wood Furniture.

 

Sometimes I feel like a nutcase– living in Vermont and talking about rainforest conservation all the time.  But I can't help it.  It's one of the Top 3 environmental problems of our time, yet few people seem to know about it.

 

Check out these rainforest facts and let me know if you too see this as a matter of great urgency.

 

Rainforest-conservation-furniture

  1. 1.5 acres of rainforest are lost every second (that equates to 50 million acres a year: an area the size of England, Wales and Scotland combined)

  2. 54 of the world's 193 countries have lost 90 percent or more of their forest cover. Rainforests that once covered 14% of the earth's land surface now cover a mere 6% and experts estimate that the last remaining rainforests could be consumed in less than 40 years.
  3. Nearly half of the world's species of plants, animals and microorganisms will be destroyed or severely threatened over the next 25 years due to rainforest deforestation.
  4. We are losing approximately 137 plant, animal and insect species every single day due to rainforest deforestation. That equates to 50,000 species a year.
  5. As the rainforest species disappear, so do many possible cures for life-threatening diseases. Currently, 121 prescription drugs sold worldwide come from plant-derived sources. While 25% of Western pharmaceuticals are derived from rainforest ingredients, less that 1% of these tropical trees and plants have been tested by scientists.
  6. Most rainforests are cleared by chainsaws, bulldozers and fires for its timber value and then are followed by farming and ranching operations
  7. There were an estimated ten million Indians living in the Amazonian Rainforest five centuries ago. Today there are less than 200,000.
  8. In Brazil alone, European colonists have destroyed more than 90 indigenous tribes since the 1900's. With them have gone centuries of accumulated knowledge of the medicinal value of rainforest species. As their homelands continue to be destroyed by deforestation, rainforest peoples are also disappearing.
  9. In Indonesia, the current aggressive rate of logging could eradicate native forests within only 10 years. Unlike our temperate forests in Vermont for example, rainforests do not regenerate after they are destroyed. Once gone, they are gone forever and along with them the wonderful diversity of plants and wildlife that inhabit them.

If you've managed to read this far, you rock! Leave a comment below or check in with us now and then on Facebook to see what we're doing to to help replant the rainforest with our Plant a Billion Trees project.  Join us and together we can make a difference!

 

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Kringle Candle: A Benchmark for Vermont Made Furniture

October 13th, 2011 by Peggy Farabaugh

Kringle-candle-restaurantWe were coming home from Greenfield MA on Sunday after Riley's basketball game and decided to travel home along Route 5, through Bernardston.  I was surprised to see how much progress they've made on the new Kringle Candle Company– where the old Harley Davidson shop used to be. 

 

 

It is beautiful!  We had been through the candle shop last year but now there are several additional shops across the street– it's like a little village. 

 

 

Kringle-outdoor-seating-1The old farmhouse that sits south of the Harley shop has been transformed into an elegant Farm Table Restaurant that extends to outdoor eating areas filled with Polywood Euro Furniture and decorated with colorful Fall mums and pumpkins.

 

In their brochures they note that Mike and Mick Kittredge founded the company on green principles: 

  • The restaurant serves all local organic foods
  • The candle containers are designed for re-use
  • Product packaging is environmentally friendly and recycled when possible

 

 

Kringle-landscaping-2That's where there is some commonality between the Kringle Candle Company and Vermont Woods Studios– in our shared green philosophy.  Our vision for our new location (be it Skyline or elsewhere) is one that honors our natural world and serves to raise awareness about the green causes we have always been passionate about:  forest conservation and wildlife protection.  I think Kringle Candle is an appropriate benchmark for us.  We could learn a lot from these folks.

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Understanding What Goes into Green Furniture

August 30th, 2011 by Peggy Farabaugh

Sustainable-furniture By Guest Blogger:  Erik Braunitzer
 
Furniture makers like Vermont Woods Studios Furniture are doing their part to improve their carbon footprint. Extensive documentation on their website or even a quick phone conversation with Rebecca or Shannon puts families at ease knowing the company is serious about their environmental, health and safety mission

But simply seeing furniture in a store with a green stamp of certification label isn't always helpful when you're not familiar with the background of the stamp. So it’s important that we realize just how green furniture is made, along with the environmentally friendly materials that are used.
 
Furniture companies using wood and recycled materials generally have the smallest carbon footprint.  Other materials would include concrete, plastic, aluminum, brick, glass, fiberglass and more. Now it’s been said that there isn’t one individual item or sustainable material, but a handful that share sustainable characteristics, including recyclables.
 
Furniture can also include the following:
 
·      Paint

·      Paint Strippers

·      Stain

·      Particle Board

 
Many of these substances are classified as volatile chemicals. Furniture made with these volatile chemicals can result in offgassing, which is evaporation at normal atmospheric pressure. Offgassing can be reduced or eliminated altogether by using stains, finishes or paints that are non toxic such as those made by Vermont Natural Coatings and AFM Safecoat.
 
Transportation is another part of the carbon footprint for furniture, as wood and other materials have to be extracted from the environment, shipped to distributors, transported to furniture makers, then sent off to the retail store and customers. The sustainability of a particular piece of furniture is dependent upon a couple of factors including:
 
·      Durability–   The longer the piece of furniture, the more sustainable it becomes.

·      How it’s useful–   Multifunctional furniture saves money and yields greater sustainability.

Learning where to buy this type of furniture can be quite a daunting task, as it’s not always portrayed clearly exactly what materials are used, and the percentage of each. In order to fully lead a responsible lifestyle, we should understand just how to look for green furniture. Here are a few tips:
 
Look for Sustainably Harvested Wood – Translates to the sustainability of ecosystems and natural forests.

Avoid Tropical Woods Like Mahogany and Teak -  these woods are often illegally clearcut from the world's rapidly disappearing rainforests.

Ensure FSC Certification – for tropical woods, if no substitution can be made

Reclaimed Wood Furniture (RWF) – More or less, RWF is a recycled piece of furniture.
 
Non-Toxic Finishes – Keep your air clean and help protect your children from health issues.
 
Buy locally – Locally purchased items are always more sustainable as transportation costs are cut.
 
Clearly, Furniture making using sustainable materials is very important to the health of the overall environment. Similarly, it reduces waste and influences the vintage market. By following a few simple rules and clearly understanding how green furniture is made, you can make a difference in improving your carbon footprint. Next time you’re in the market for a table or chair, be sure to inquire about sustainable practices before purchasing.
 
Courtesy of Douglas Elliman Real Estate, New York Luxury Rentals.

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Eco Friendly Organic Furniture: Why North American Hardwood Is The Best Raw Material

August 5th, 2011 by Peggy Farabaugh

Eco-furniture-hardwood What's the most organic, eco-friendly raw material for furniture?  I guess there are different opinions on this but you have to admit that wood is naturally green.  It's sustainable, biodegradable and renewable.

The National Hardwood Lumber Association (NHLA) puts out a brochure periodically that reports statistics for the American hardwood industry.  Are we harvesting our hardwoods sustainably in the USA? 

According to NHLA the hardwood inventory in the USA has grown by 98% during the past 5 decades.  I'd say that's pretty sustainable.

Here's another cool fact NHLA cites: Wood represents 47 percent of all raw materials used in the United States but the energy used to produce wood products (including furniture) accounts for just 4 percent of the energy used to make all manufactured materials.  Wow!  It makes sense though when you consider all the hard-core industrial processing that's required to make a piece of metal or plastic furniture, right?

At Vermont Woods Studios Furniture we specialize in organic, eco-friendly solid hardwood furniture that's made from local and regionally harvested wood.  To help keep our forests healthy and sustainable, we're excited to be supporting the Vermont Council on Rural Development and their ambitious Vermont Working Landscape Partnership Program as part of our forest conservation mission

I just have to throw in one last random but amazing reason why wood is the greenest raw material for furniture-making:  the EPA estimates that each year our American forests remove the greenhouse gases emitted by 139,000,000 cars!  You gotta love wood.

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Vermont Eco-Friendly Furniture Story Syndicated by Creators.com

March 31st, 2011 by Peggy Farabaugh

Eco-friendly-furniture A few months ago a syndicated columnist, Anica Wong of Creators.com gave us a call at Vermont Woods Studios Furniture to ask, "What's so eco-friendly about your furniture?"  It's a great question especially since there is so much green-washing out there.  It seems that every furniture brand and furniture store is now hitting the "organic, sustainable furniture" theme in their advertisements, regardless of their environmental policies.

So anyway I told Anica that Vermont Woods Studios is not a furniture company that suddenly "went green".  Actually we're a bunch of trehuggers that partnered with some of Vermont's best fine furniture makers to create a company that delivers handcrafted, Vermont-made, eco-friendly furniture to customers all across the USA.  She then asked all about our story and wrote a nice article that is being syndicated in several newspapers like this one, The Calgary Herald.  Check it out.  And many thanks to Anica for including us in her story!

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Vermont Eco Furniture Featured Nationally on The Weather Channel

November 22nd, 2010 by Peggy Farabaugh

Eco-sustainable-furniture I always cringe when seeing myself in a video but Manjula has insisted we post this one on the Vermont Woods Studios Fine Furniture homepage.  It's a segment we did for The Weather Channel during the summer and it's about the link between your furniture and the environment– and the weather of course.  Specifically it talks about the rainforest, how it's disappearing at a rate of 1 football field/second and the fact that it's being clear-cut to supply timber for cheap furniture imports.

If you're someone who drives an eco-friendly fuel efficient car, you may be interested to know that your choice of furniture has a bigger impact on the environment than your car choice.  That's because deforestation is repsonsible for a greater contribution to air pollution and global warming than the entire transportation sector.

Take a minute to watch our nationally broadcast video segment about American made furniture crafted from sustainably harvested wood and let us know what you think.  We'll look forward to hearing from you!

 

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Forest Conservation: More Than Trees At Stake

October 10th, 2010 by Peggy Farabaugh

Rainforest Conservation

Forest conservation is one of the two missions that Vermont Woods Studios is built on.   We are trying to help raise awareness about the importance of sustainable use of the world's forests, particularly the rainforests.  Sustainable use means that when we harvest trees we do so in such a way that the forest regenerates in a healthy fashion.  We want the forest to have the same richness and biodiversity in 100 years as it does today.  And in the case of forests that have already been damaged (most of them) we want to help restore the original character and biodiversity of the forest.

Did you know that 1.5 acres (about 1 football field) of rainforest are being lost every second due in part, to illegal harvesting of timber for the imported wood furniture and flooring industries?  This clear-cutting of the world's rainforests is responsible for a greater portion of global warming than the entire transportation sector!

But as we lose the rainforests we're not only exacerbating global warming, we're also losing all of the amazing diversity of life that has evolved there for millions of years.  Scientists estimate we're losing over 130 species per day due to rainforest destruction.  All the great apes and great cats are at the forefront of this issue with each of these species being critically endangered.  You can make a difference in the future of these species by the choices you make in the furniture store–look for American made furniture built with sustainably harvested American wood.

Read more about our rainforest conservation efforts.

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Sustainable Furniture

October 1st, 2010 by Peggy Farabaugh

Sustainable-furniture
At Vermont Woods Studios we're privileged to work with some of the world's finest craftsmen.  Some of these furniture makers have had a tradition of fine craftsmanship handed down to them through many generations of Vermonters while others have emigrated to our state, attracted by the natural beauty and the close community of artisans living here.

 

   

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One of the passions we all share is a love of the outdoors and a connection to the forest:  the source of our wood.  Vermont furniture makers care immensely about where their wood comes from as this affects not only the look and quality of a piece but also the sense of "karma" that every handmade piece has.  The sustainability of our forests is an important issue to us.

I read this note about forest conservation from friend and sustainable furniture maker Dave Allard recently and wanted to share it:

Solid-wood-furniture

In 2008, the US Forest Service reported that the volume of American
hardwoods is 90 percent larger than it was just 50 years ago and nearly
twice as much hardwood grows as is harvested every year. When managed
responsibly hardwood forests are at the least carbon neutral.

American hardwoods are abundant and self-regenerating. For centuries
they have been providing beauty, warmth and functional value for floors,
furniture, moldings, millwork and cabinetry.

Conservation weighs heavily on our minds.  We
have always purchased the finest hardwoods from local, and reputable
sustainable resources. This allows us to virtually hand pick our lumber,
save on the use of large trucks that emit pollutants, thus limiting our
carbon footprint and waste factor overall. We were ‘Green’ before it
was cool.

I agree.  Vermont is not only the fine furniture capitol of America it is also the sustainable furniture capitol of our country.

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What We’re Doing…The Best Furniture, Service, Price, and Overall Experience

February 15th, 2008 by Peggy Farabaugh

Hurwitz_dining_table Of course these have to be the foundation of our efforts for without these basics our time and yours would be wasted. We’re not aiming for “superior”, at Vermont Woods Studios we’ll settle for nothing less than the best. We don’t want you to just be happy with your purchase, we want you to become raving fans! We need you to refer your friends and family to us and come back to us the next time you need furniture, so you will see that we are obsessed with making sure everything is just right. Check out our Testimonials page and see what I mean.

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