Launch Slideshow

Timberlake. This ESP-certified firm sources 100% of its wood domestically and has a manufacturing platform that allows for the majority of deliveries to be within 500 miles. Recent introductions include deep dovetail sliding shelves and a Cushion Close option for doors. 800.967.9674. www.timberlake.com.

Sustainable Cabinetry

A selection of 16 kitchen and bath cabinets.

Sustainable Cabinetry

A selection of 16 kitchen and bath cabinets.

  • Holiday Kitchens. ESP-certified, the firm offers CARB 2-compliant no-added-urea-formaldehyde woods, wood with recycled content, and FSC-certified wood; glues and contact adhesives also are formaldehyde free. Alternatives to traditional wood include coconut palm and moso bamboo. A raw linseed oil finish is now available; the hand-rubbed, chemical-free option extracted from flax seed provides a smooth, shiny finish. 715.234.8111. www.holidaykitchens.com.

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    Holiday Kitchens. ESP-certified, the firm offers CARB 2-compliant no-added-urea-formaldehyde woods, wood with recycled content, and FSC-certified wood; glues and contact adhesives also are formaldehyde free. Alternatives to traditional wood include coconut palm and moso bamboo. A raw linseed oil finish is now available; the hand-rubbed, chemical-free option extracted from flax seed provides a smooth, shiny finish. 715.234.8111. www.holidaykitchens.com.

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    Holiday Kitchens. ESP-certified, the firm offers CARB 2-compliant no-added-urea-formaldehyde woods, wood with recycled content, and FSC-certified wood; glues and contact adhesives also are formaldehyde free. Alternatives to traditional wood include coconut palm and moso bamboo. A raw linseed oil finish is now available; the hand-rubbed, chemical-free option extracted from flax seed provides a smooth, shiny finish. 715.234.8111. www.holidaykitchens.com.

  • Kraftmaid. Products from this ISO 14001, ESP-certified company use at least 95% recycled-content, EPP-certified particleboard and MDF with 100% recovered or recycled wood fibers. The kitchen shown here features the Putnam door style in willow with cinnamon trim. 888.562.7744. www.kraftmaid.com.

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    Kraftmaid. Products from this ISO 14001, ESP-certified company use at least 95% recycled-content, EPP-certified particleboard and MDF with 100% recovered or recycled wood fibers. The kitchen shown here features the Putnam door style in willow with cinnamon trim. 888.562.7744. www.kraftmaid.com.

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    Kraftmaid. Products from this ISO 14001, ESP-certified company use at least 95% recycled-content, EPP-certified particleboard and MDF with 100% recovered or recycled wood fibers. The kitchen shown here features the Putnam door style in willow with cinnamon trim. 888.562.7744. www.kraftmaid.com.

  • Merillat. The company is ESP and ISO 14001 certified, and its cabinets are EPP certified. Classic series cabinets come in cherry, hickory, maple, oak, and laminate; it is shown here in the Avenue door style in maple in the new chiffon finish. 517.263.0771. www.merillat.com.

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    Merillat. The company is ESP and ISO 14001 certified, and its cabinets are EPP certified. Classic series cabinets come in cherry, hickory, maple, oak, and laminate; it is shown here in the Avenue door style in maple in the new chiffon finish. 517.263.0771. www.merillat.com.

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    Merillat. The company is ESP and ISO 14001 certified, and its cabinets are EPP certified. Classic series cabinets come in cherry, hickory, maple, oak, and laminate; it is shown here in the Avenue door style in maple in the new chiffon finish. 517.263.0771. www.merillat.com.

  • Neil Kelly. All of the manufacturers cabinets are available with no-added-urea-formaldehyde agriboard case and drawer materials; FSC-certified wood and veneers; and low-VOC glues, adhesives, and finishes. The 3/4-inch base, frameless Signature collection, shown here, comes in a range of classic styles. Species include ash, knotty pine, Lyptus, and FSC-certified cherry. 866.691.2717. www.neilkellycabinets.com.

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    Neil Kelly. All of the manufacturers cabinets are available with no-added-urea-formaldehyde agriboard case and drawer materials; FSC-certified wood and veneers; and low-VOC glues, adhesives, and finishes. The 3/4-inch base, frameless Signature collection, shown here, comes in a range of classic styles. Species include ash, knotty pine, Lyptus, and FSC-certified cherry. 866.691.2717. www.neilkellycabinets.com.

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    Neil Kelly. All of the manufacturers cabinets are available with no-added-urea-formaldehyde agriboard case and drawer materials; FSC-certified wood and veneers; and low-VOC glues, adhesives, and finishes. The 3/4-inch base, frameless Signature collection, shown here, comes in a range of classic styles. Species include ash, knotty pine, Lyptus, and FSC-certified cherry. 866.691.2717. www.neilkellycabinets.com.

  • Showplace Wood Products. The Renew system gives the kitchen a new look without replacing the original cabinet boxes. The cabinets get new doors and drawer headers, and a self-adhesive veneer covers existing face frames. Shown here are raised-panel maple doors in a Vintage finish. Among the lines other selections is Weyerhaeusers Lyptus, a rapidly renewable Brazilian hardwood. The manufacturer is ESP certified. 877.607.2200. www.showplacewood.com.

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    Showplace Wood Products. The Renew system gives the kitchen a new look without replacing the original cabinet boxes. The cabinets get new doors and drawer headers, and a self-adhesive veneer covers existing face frames. Shown here are raised-panel maple doors in a Vintage finish. Among the lines other selections is Weyerhaeusers Lyptus, a rapidly renewable Brazilian hardwood. The manufacturer is ESP certified. 877.607.2200. www.showplacewood.com.

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    Showplace Wood Products. The Renew system gives the kitchen a new look without replacing the original cabinet boxes. The cabinets get new doors and drawer headers, and a self-adhesive veneer covers existing face frames. Shown here are raised-panel maple doors in a Vintage finish. Among the lines other selections is Weyerhaeusers Lyptus, a rapidly renewable Brazilian hardwood. The manufacturer is ESP certified. 877.607.2200. www.showplacewood.com.

  • St. Charles Cabinetry. The companys frameless steel cabinetry is available in 23 powder-coated color finishes as well as brushed stainless steel. The cabinets are made with about 70% recycled content, says the firm, and are 98% recyclable; the powder coating prevents VOC off-gassing and does not emit VOCs during manufacturing. Available colors include black, white, biscuit, sea glass, pumpkin, plum, and chocolate. 662.451.1000. www.stcharlescabinets.com.

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    St. Charles Cabinetry. The companys frameless steel cabinetry is available in 23 powder-coated color finishes as well as brushed stainless steel. The cabinets are made with about 70% recycled content, says the firm, and are 98% recyclable; the powder coating prevents VOC off-gassing and does not emit VOCs during manufacturing. Available colors include black, white, biscuit, sea glass, pumpkin, plum, and chocolate. 662.451.1000. www.stcharlescabinets.com.

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    St. Charles Cabinetry. The companys frameless steel cabinetry is available in 23 powder-coated color finishes as well as brushed stainless steel. The cabinets are made with about 70% recycled content, says the firm, and are 98% recyclable; the powder coating prevents VOC off-gassing and does not emit VOCs during manufacturing. Available colors include black, white, biscuit, sea glass, pumpkin, plum, and chocolate. 662.451.1000. www.stcharlescabinets.com.

  • Studio Marler. ESP-certified Studio Marler cabinets are manufactured with Arreis panels, a NAUF MDF made with 100% recycled wood residuals, along with reconstituted, water-based veneers and a low-VOC ultraviolet finish. Options include FSC-certified solid wood doors, solid bamboo, or PureBond plywood. The frameless cabinets come in transitional, traditional, and modern styles. 510.318.1379. www.studiomarler.com.

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    Studio Marler. ESP-certified Studio Marler cabinets are manufactured with Arreis panels, a NAUF MDF made with 100% recycled wood residuals, along with reconstituted, water-based veneers and a low-VOC ultraviolet finish. Options include FSC-certified solid wood doors, solid bamboo, or PureBond plywood. The frameless cabinets come in transitional, traditional, and modern styles. 510.318.1379. www.studiomarler.com.

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    Studio Marler. ESP-certified Studio Marler cabinets are manufactured with Arreis panels, a NAUF MDF made with 100% recycled wood residuals, along with reconstituted, water-based veneers and a low-VOC ultraviolet finish. Options include FSC-certified solid wood doors, solid bamboo, or PureBond plywood. The frameless cabinets come in transitional, traditional, and modern styles. 510.318.1379. www.studiomarler.com.

  • Woodharbor. The ESP-certified companys CastPointe frameless cabinets are made with EPP-certified low-formaldehyde wood made from SCS-certified 100% recycled material. The cabinetry is available with a low-VOC, formaldehyde-free topcoat available in a range of spray stain and stain/glaze color combinations. 641.423.0444. www.woodharbor.com.

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    Woodharbor. The ESP-certified companys CastPointe frameless cabinets are made with EPP-certified low-formaldehyde wood made from SCS-certified 100% recycled material. The cabinetry is available with a low-VOC, formaldehyde-free topcoat available in a range of spray stain and stain/glaze color combinations. 641.423.0444. www.woodharbor.com.

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    Woodharbor. The ESP-certified companys CastPointe frameless cabinets are made with EPP-certified low-formaldehyde wood made from SCS-certified 100% recycled material. The cabinetry is available with a low-VOC, formaldehyde-free topcoat available in a range of spray stain and stain/glaze color combinations. 641.423.0444. www.woodharbor.com.

  • Timberlake. This ESP-certified firm sources 100% of its wood domestically and has a manufacturing platform that allows for the majority of deliveries to be within 500 miles. Recent introductions include deep dovetail sliding shelves and a Cushion Close option for doors. 800.967.9674. www.timberlake.com.

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    Timberlake. This ESP-certified firm sources 100% of its wood domestically and has a manufacturing platform that allows for the majority of deliveries to be within 500 miles. Recent introductions include deep dovetail sliding shelves and a Cushion Close option for doors. 800.967.9674. www.timberlake.com.

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    Timberlake. This ESP-certified firm sources 100% of its wood domestically and has a manufacturing platform that allows for the majority of deliveries to be within 500 miles. Recent introductions include deep dovetail sliding shelves and a Cushion Close option for doors. 800.967.9674. www.timberlake.com.

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    Cliff Spencer. This company uses mostly FSC-certified plywood to manufacture its custom cabinetry, and finishes it with low-VOC and water-based finishes. The kitchen shown here features a tung oil/beeswax finish on walnut and a water-based lacquer on white. 310.823.0112. www.cliffspencer.net.

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    Executive Cabinetry. The manufacturer offers the industry’s first Greenguard-certified wood cabinets. Meeting the standards are the company’s wood stains, all paints except the Sagamore Collection, all glazes, the Eco-Friendly cabinet line except for bamboo, Bellini Thermofoil, Bellini Voque Veneers, and the Impact Wood line. Eco-Friendly cabinets are made with 3/4-inch PureBond formaldehyde-free plywood. The company is ESP-certified. 800.654.6120. www.executivekitchens.com.

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    Kirei. These doors feature Kirei Board (center) and Kirei bamboo. Kirei Board is made with reclaimed sorghum straw—stalks that would have been discarded or burned—using no-added formaldehyde adhesives. Kirei bamboo, which also contains low- or no-added urea formaldehyde, is available with horizontal, vertical, or zebra grain styles in natural, carbonized (shown), or chocolate (shown in background) colors. In addition to cabinetry, both products can be crafted into millwork, furniture, and flooring. 619.236.9924. www.kireiusa.com.

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    Rich Maid Kabinetry. The company’s ESP-certified cabinets are made with no-added-formaldehyde plywood. The frameless cherry cabinets shown here are finished with a natural stain. A range of other woods, including Lyptus, is available. 800.295.2912. www.richmaidkabinetry.com.

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    Sonia. The ISO 14001-compliant company’s bath vanities are made with sustainable, marine-grade wood and finished with recycled metal hardware. Shown here is Play, a fun twist on the traditional boxy wall-mount vanity. It features an all-in-one top and comes in a range of colors. www.sonia-sa.com.

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    Wellborn. The company’s latest cabinet option is Media Life, an organizational system to integrate TV, photos, music, and DVDs; the package includes the cabinetry, an Apple computer, docking stations, cables, remotes, keyboard, speakers, and software. The cabinetry is available in all of the manufacturer’s door styles and finishes for seamless integration with the rest of the room. The company is ESP certified. www.wellborn.com.

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    Smith & Fong. These cabinets were crafted from Plyboo amber edge-grain bamboo plywood; a natural tone also is available. The rapidly renewable material can be cut and sanded with traditional tools, and it accepts stains and finishes. Any standard Plyboo plywood can be specified FSC certified, and the vast majority of the company’s plywood is formaldehyde-free. 866.835.9859. www.plyboo.net.

A product is only as sustainable as the sum of its parts. In the case of cabinetry, there are quite a few parts to add up.

When selecting cabinetry for a green-built home, dedicated research is required to break the products down and evaluate the origins of the wood used to make the raw materials, the resins that bind them, the chemical content of the glues used to adhere the parts together, and the VOC levels of finishes.

Raw Materials

The base components of most wood cabinetry today are made with hardwood plywood, MDF, or particleboard. While these materials are more resource efficient than solid wood, manufacturing them historically has involved formaldehyde-laden resins; the high formaldehyde content off-gassing from some man-made materials creates health concerns, according to the Healthy House Institute, especially for people with chemical sensitivities.

Several major manufacturers of composite wood panels, including Timber Products and Columbia Forest Products, have already been working with resin manufacturers and refining their manufacturing processes to create no-added-formaldehyde (NAF) or no-added-urea-formaldehyde (NAUF) products. Columbia’s PureBond NAUF plywood, for example, utilizes a soy-based adhesive.

“The formaldehyde levels of [composite] products have come down dramatically over the past 10 years,” says Dick Titus, executive vice president of the Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturers Association (KCMA).

Helping the push are the most recent emissions requirements from the California Air Resources Board (CARB); once phase two of the rules begin in 2012, they will be the strictest regulations in the world. Though the laws are specific to the Golden State, most panel manufacturers and cabinet companies are changing over their stock across the country. There is also speculation that similar emissions regulations may be adopted at the federal level.

In addition to CARB compliance, some composite panels may carry the Composite Panel Association’s Environmentally Preferable Product (EPP) certification, which verifies formaldehyde emissions lower than government regulations and the use of recycled and/or recovered wood fiber.

Indeed, along with formaldehyde, consider the resource origins of the wood panels for recycled content (some certified by Scientific Certification Systems) and/or for sustainable harvesting as verified by the Forest Stewardship Council or the Sustainable Forestry Initiative, among others. Certified products may carry a slight price premium.