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-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.

Modern-american-bedroom-furniture We've been writing about the fact that up to 90% of the wood furniture you see in America today is imported and furthermore, it is likely that the wood was harvested illegally from one of the world's rapidly disappearing rainforests.  Well, I guess others are beginning to write about that too and happily, we're seeing more and more customers asking about where our wood furniture comes from.

It's not just the environment and the fact that American made furniture is superior in terms of quality that customers are concerned with.  Another part of this equation is that Americans want to support sustainable communities and help provide American jobs.  Over the last 30 years, tens of thousands of jobs for highly skilled furniture makers have been moved overseas, as so called "American furniture companies" have moved their manufacturing operations to China, Vietnam and other third world countries.  In the process, many skilled workers (and their families) in North Carolina, Maine and Vermont have suffered job loss and their once-vibrant communities have turned into ghost towns.

At Vermont Woods Studios Furniture and other American furniture companies like Moosehead Furniture in Maine we're working to restore those high quality jobs and help maintain the tradition of fine handcrafted furniture in America.  You can help us by becoming a fan on facebook or following us on Twitter.  Thanks!

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-paperless We've been working on this for 5 years and now it's official:  Vermont Woods Studios Furniture has gone paperless. OK, we've never been a particularly big paper consumer in the first place and the project was really more about efficiency than anything.  But it feels good because it's another step in the direction of fulfilling our green mission of forest conservation.

So now all of our customer files are housed (and backed-up) electronically and we no longer provide paper catalogs.  Instead our products are all on our website now, except for a continuous stream of new products that are waiting for one of us to put them up.

We do still have a stash of beautiful hard copy brochures though, so give us a call if you like to have something in hand.

If you're interested in forest conservation, visit the ForestEthics.org website.  Today they published Green Grades 2010: A Report Card on the Paper Practices of the Office Supply Sector, an interesting report on how your favorite office supply stores are doing conservation-wise.  Check it out!

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.

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.

 

   

Sustainable-furniture-vt
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.

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.