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.

This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

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.

This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

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!

This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

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!

 

This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.

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.

This blog is written by your friends at Vermont Woods Studios. Check out our Vermont made furniture and home decor online and visit our showroom and art gallery at Stonehurst, the newly restored 1800s farmhouse nestled in the foothills of the Green Mountains.