Going Green for Real in Kitchen or Bathroom Remodeling
Most people would applaud and approve anything that will let them “go green,” especially when it comes to kitchen or bathroom remodeling. They like the idea of protecting the environment and/or keeping their carbon footprint as small as possible.
Unfortunately, “green” has become a buzzword that does not necessarily mean it is friendly to the environment. Many companies directly and indirectly involved in housing and remodeling industries are taking advantage of socially conscious consumers by claiming they have sustainable products and services. This may run the gamut of low toxic content, energy efficiency, or recycled materials. However, rigorous testing has revealed they are playing fast and loose with these claims.
In most cases, these are not outright lies. They may be overstatements, misstatements, or omissions. The idea is to “green wash” products to grab consumer attention with such phrases as “Eco-friendly” without qualifying it. For example, a product may be biodegradable, which is technically Eco-friendly, but the raw materials and/or process used to make it were not. It’s a slippery slope, but many companies are expert at keeping their balance.
In some cases, the claims are outright deceptive. These companies do not even attempt to provide some basis for their claims, but simply claim it in order to cash in on the social conscience of consumers.
If you are sincere in doing your part in protecting the environment in going green for your kitchen or bathroom remodeling, you need to make the effort to avoid green-washed products. You can do this by arming yourself with some useful information. Here are some common ways companies seek to mislead or deceive you in your efforts to go green.
Check the label
The easiest way to find out if a green product is actually green is to check the label. Look for the stamps of approval from reputable certifying bodies such as EnergyStar, WaterSense, or Cradle to Cradle. These organizations conduct rigorous testing and investigations to verify any claims of sustainability and environmental friendliness before giving certification.
— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) May 27, 2015
If you see a label with certification you recognize, you can be sure the claims are real. If you are not familiar with the certifying body, look it up to see if they are reputable.
Of course, not all truly green products have reputable certification. The verification process is long and expensive, so some companies may be in the process of certification, or have not sought certification at all. This does not mean they are not eco-friendly or sustainable. It simply means you have to look a little harder to find out.
Do online research
The great thing about having the Internet is that you can do quite a bit of digging around without much effort. You can check the manufacturer’s website to find out from what and how a product is made. You can also call the company directly and ask some questions. Recycled materials are always a good sign, but you should still find out how big a part it plays in the composition of the product, and where it comes from. If the product is supposed to be energy efficient, get some technical information regarding this and find out what they mean in that sense.
You can also go on forums and review sites to find out what other people are saying about the product. If you find lots of positive reviews about it, there is a good chance it does what it claims.
Read the fine print
Some companies are sneaky about the fine print. They may have products that are technically Eco-friendly in one way, but not in another. This is a trade off, and they are very careful to draw attention away from it without actually leaving them out.
For example, a product may use recycled wood, but also contain toxic chemicals in the adhesives or resins they use. The manufacturer may also use large amounts of fossil fuels in production.
In some instances, the problem is in the location and/or the packaging. Acquiring products from other countries mean long-haul shipping, which leaves a larger carbon footprint than local goods. They may also require more extensive packaging, which may or may not be Eco-friendly.
All of these are trade offs in the name of going green. You need to look at the whole picture rather than focusing on the product only, as this will have an overall impact on the environment.
Take it with a pinch of salt
Sometimes we can get distracted by the way some claims are made so that it appears that the company is going above and beyond to be green, when in fact they are simply complying with existing regulations. This includes lead, CFC, and asbestos, which have been banned in consumer products for years. Claiming their product is asbestos-free is nothing to get excited about; they have to be or face sanction.
When contemplating a green kitchen or bathroom remodeling, you need to make sure you avoid green washing tactics. You can have a certain measure of assurance if you contract with a reliable contractor. All you have to do is specify green products, and they will do your due diligence for you.
GBC Kitchen and Bath is just the company you need for any remodeling project. We sell only the best products from the top manufacturers and suppliers in the country and have a proven track record in completing kitchen and bathroom renovations on time and on budget.
When you contact us for your planned remodel, the first thing we will do is give you a free design consultation and quote, so you are already ahead without spending a dime. We can promise the best customer service, expert fabrication and installation, and speedy execution of any project so that you stay on budget and the project stays on deadline. You will never get that from big box stores.
We guarantee the quality of our products, and you can see it for yourself in our showrooms in Rockville Maryland and Alexandria, Virginia. We service the DC, Virginia, and Maryland areas, specifically Alexandria, Arlington, Washington, Tyson, Vienna, Falls Church, Fairfax, Springfield, Burke, Bethesda, and Rockville.
Contact us today to get a free quote for your bathroom and kitchen remodeling needs.