Vermont-green-homeThere's still time to register for the best Green Build conference in Vermont, Better Buildings by Design, to be held at the Sheraton Conference Center in Burlington VT on Feb 8-9, 2012. 

At Vermont Woods Studios Fine Furniture much of our work is with green architects, builders and home owners as they approach the final stages of their construction projects.  We're always excited to see our natural, eco-friendly furniture installed in green homes that reflect the same environmental passions we've built our business on.

 

If you're thinking of building or renovating, you're sure to enjoy (and learn a lot at) this convivial gathering of green designers, builders, vendors, realtors and consultants.  Here's 3 reasons why:

  1. This is the Northeast's premier sustainable design and construction conference, featuring interactive learning about building, durability, efficiency, and value.  It hosts over 1000 attendees, 35 workshops and 50 exhibitors.
  2. If you're planning on building or retrofitting a green home or business in Vermont this is the best place to find out who's who in the zoo of local regional green home builders, service providers and consultants in the areas of thermal imaging, heat pumps, thermal biomass, performance monitoring, hydrothermal modeling, whole house monitoring, high performance hot water systems, solid state lighting or LEDs, deep energy retrofits, energy codes and more.
  3. Here you can find the best scoop on Self-Reliance, the 100% solar-powered home that took fourth place in the 2011 U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon in Washington, D.C. The Middlebury College green team of college students and faculty will explain how they looked to the past to reinvent the residential building of Vermont鈥檚 future, discussing everything from sustainable materials and modern technology to the economic realities of building a solar home.

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.

Vermont-furniture-staffWe finally managed to get everybody on our staff together for a photo in our office-showroom at Vermont Woods Studios Fine Furniture.  Well, most of us anyway.  The student interns (aka our children) were all attending high school and college at the time.  But tthey are an important part of our success so hopefully we'll be able to take another snapshot during Christmas vacation and update you then.  For now, your Sustainable Furniture Team consists of:

First row from left:  Rebecca, Peggy, Manjula, Shannon

Second row from left:  Douglas, Ken, Dennis

We'd like to thank Carey Earle, Chief Idea Farmer at Green Apple Marketing for her help and creativity in penning our new About Us page.  For the most part, everything she wrote is really true 馃槈

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.

Our customers usually come to Vermont Woods Studios with a pretty clear understanding of the benefits of natural, organic, eco-friendly furniture.  They're looking to help protect the environment.  They want to know that the wood used in their furniture has been sustainably harvested from forests that are going to be healthy and intact for many more generations.  Customers are also looking to protect their families from toxic substances in furniture finishes that could off-gas and cause respiratory problems.

But did you know that choosing natural, eco-furniture also reduces your carbon footprint and helps reduce global warming?  It's true. Scientists attribute about 20% of global warming to deforestation, particularly that of tropical rainforests, such as the Amazon.

If you're buying imported wood furniture, chances are it was made from illegally harvested wood that was clear cut from the rainforest.  Because there is such widespread counterfeiting of logging documents, consumers are often unwittingly contributing to global warming and the eventual loss of iconic tree species such as mahogany and teak when purchasing imported furniture. 

 

Natural-eco-furnitureVermont Woods Studios uses only sustainably harvested American wood in the crafting of our furniture.  Much of it comes from our own Green Mountain Forest.  We support the Forest Stewardship Council, the Nature Conservancy and other non-profits working to preserve the rainforest and stop global warming.  When you purchase organic wood furniture from our store you can rest assured that both your furniture and the forest from where it originates will be around for generations to come.

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.

Middlebury-solar-decathalon-results The 2011 Solar Decathalon final judging results are in and Vermont's own Middlebury College Team came in Fourth overall in a world-class line up of contestants. 

Congratulations from all of us at Vermont Woods Studios!

The team cam in FIRST place in the areas of Communications, Home Entertainment, and Market Appeal.  Learn more about the brilliant, hardworking students who made it happen.

The sustainable, energy-efficient home Middlebury students designed and built was filled with Vermont made furniture and accessories, including the Cherry Moon Dovetail Bed we donated.  Great job guys!

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 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鈥檚 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鈥檚 been said that there isn鈥檛 one individual item or sustainable material, but a handful that share sustainable characteristics, including recyclables.
 
Furniture can also include the following:
 
路      Paint

路      Paint Strippers

路      Stain

路      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:
 
路      Durability–   The longer the piece of furniture, the more sustainable it becomes.

路      How it鈥檚 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鈥檚 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 鈥 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) 鈥 More or less, RWF is a recycled piece of furniture.
 
Non-Toxic Finishes 鈥 Keep your air clean and help protect your children from health issues.
 
Buy locally 鈥 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鈥檙e 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.