Sustainability

When it comes to furniture and cabinetry, there is no single standard to assure a product is “green” or is made in a sustainable fashion. In fact, there are many, often conflicting, aspects that may impact whether the production of a product has a negative impact on our environment. At greenwood bay woodworking studio, we consider the following to all be factors, and strive to bring you the best selection of beautiful products, while being as earth-friendly as we know how.

Sustainability.

Lets face it: wood products use trees. As we’ve witnessed the destruction of rainforests, people have become increasingly aware that we must find a way to better satisfy our need for wood. Fortunately there are a number of practical ways to satisfy our need for wood and still protect the long term viability of our forests. See the side bar “sustainable wood sources” for more information.

At greenwood bay, we use a variety of sources from sustainably-managed forest timber to antique wood that has been reclaimed from barns and old houses, to wood that comes from “urban forest” trees that otherwise would have ended up in a landfill.

Carbon footprint.

Sustainable wood is great. But often it must be transported miles, or even thousands of miles, to be milled. Similarly, when products are manufactured overseas, this adds even more to the carbon footprint.

In addition, local purchases support the local economy and local jobs.

At greenwood bay, all of our products are made right here in Houston, and much of our wood comes from local sources.

Environmental impact.

In recent decades, most wood finishes and stains were made from petroleum-based products. The refining and production process created numerous negative environmental impacts.

At greenwood bay, we use natural and plant-based oils and waxes that provide superior appearance and performance.

Indoor air quality.

Harmful chemicals used in finishes, glues and adhesives are not only present at the sites where these products are made: they continue to off-gas for extended periods of time after the product is in your home. These gasses (volatile organic compounds or “VOC’s”) can be health hazards or can cause allergic reactions for many people. Most commercial furniture and cabinets are made with hi VOC finishes and adhesives.

At greenwood bay, we use natural and low VOC finishes. All of our sheet goods are made with no formaldehyde added adhesives to help protect you from damaging gasses.

Durability.

Products that are made to last longer use fewer resources, and are a better value over the long run. This is because they don’t need to be replaced as often. In addition, while better-built products save long-term resources, you get the benefit and enjoyment associated with quality products.

Our products are handcrafted one at a time, using traditional hand crafted joinery techniques; never plastic or other poor quality fasteners.

Sustainable wood sources:

  1. Reclaimed wood. By re-purposing wood, we reduce the need for new tree harvesting. This also often diverts “waste” from landfills.
  2. “Certified” wood. Various organizations have developed certification processes designed to assure that trees are grown and harvested in a way that promotes sustainability. Often this involves a commitment to not use chemical fertilizers, and an audited program that assures forests are managed in a responsible manner. These certifications are especially relevent for lumber coming from developing countries or the rain forest where once-lush forests have been devastated by improper clear-cutting activities. FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) and SFI (Sustainable Forestry Initiative) are two of the major certification programs.
  3. North American hardwoods from managed forests. While these may not have any special certifications, this plantation-grown wood can help satisfy our increasing demand for commercial timber.
  4. “Urban Forest” wood. So many trees grown right in our own cities and towns are beautiful species of wood including oak, maple, pecan, walnut and others. When these trees are removed due to storm damage, new construction or other purposes, some mini mills, such as Houston’s TruTimber are diverting them from landfills and turning them into beautiful wood. As an added bonus, since this wood is local, there is almost no “carbon footprint” associated with shipping the trees to their final destination. The live edge Ash table is an example of urban forest wood.
  5. Sink wood. Many years ago, as trees were floated down the river to a mill to be made into lumber, a few sank. Many remained there for decades until now. Under water, and with low oxygen, these trees were preserved and now some are being reclaimed, dried and turned into beautiful wood.