I have been meaning to blog about Crystal Cabinet Works' efforts to create environmentally responsible cabinets in a factory setting for some time.
Crystal, based in Princeton, MN, USA, has been working on creating water-based formulas for its catalyzed varnish finishes since I was a Crystal dealer in the mid-90's. They long ago achieved that goal, and many other cabinet manufacturers have followed suit. But, to my knowledge, Crystal was the leader in this effort.
They also, at the same time, were a leader in Minnesota in cutting their negative impact on the local environment and on their employees' health.
Last year Crystal led again with their offering of Green Core by Crystal:
Crystal’s Green-Core products are made with materials that have a reduced effect on human health and the environment and are a perfect option for the environmentally- and health-conscious consumer. When you choose Green-Core by Crystal, you get the added environmental benefits and the finest custom cabinetry with a tradition of handcrafted quality for 60 years.
Green-Core Boxwork (special request)
Renewable wood fiber and no added urea-formaldehyde resins are combined in Green-Core by Crystal. Low-emitting Green-Core boxwork meets or exceeds the performance requirements of competing products and is available by special request:
Green-Core: A 100% recycled exterior grade particleboard available in Crystal, Quest, or Inset box constructions.
Green-Core Plus: A plywood made with a patented soy-based resin available in Crystal Plus, Quest Plus or Inset Plus box constructions.
When ordering, specify Green-Core, Green-Core Inset or Green-Core Plus along with the appropriate cabinet lines. Special pricing and extended lead times may apply.
Green-Core Doors (special request)
Crystal’s wood veneer door styles available with a substrate of no added urea-formaldehyde 100% Recycled Green-Core MDF:
(door styles)Redondo, Springfield and Manhattan
Crystal’s laminate door styles available with a substrate of no added urea-formaldehyde 100% Recycled Green-Core Particleboard:
(door styles)Albany, Chesterfield, Esprit, Glenview, Lansdale, Plateau, Prescott, Westhaven
Green Building Points
Using Green-Core materials in your kitchen may help qualify your project for points under the recycled content and low-emitting materials sections of prominent green building third party verification systems:
LEED — Green-Core cabinetry qualifies as Environmentally Preferable Products in the revised LEED for homes.
Green Home Guidelines
GreenPoint Rated [Bay Area California]
Wood Specie: Consider choosing LYPTUS®4, a premium-grade hardwood that is grown in South America on highly productive plantations. LYPTUS® is mixed with indigenous trees to preserve and sustain native ecosystems. It has a short renewal cycle and can be harvested in just 14-16 years compared to 50-70 years for North American hardwoods. LYPTUS® ranges in color from red to brown, resembling mahogany, and
is available from Crystal in an array of beautiful dark stains.
Another option is BAMBOO, a rapidly-renewable plant-based product. Bamboo, a fast growing grass, is strong, durable and finishes beautifully with many of the same characteristics as wood. Bamboo may qualify for green building points due to its rapid renewability. Bamboo doors can be manufactured with low-emitting Green-Core substrate.
Finish: Consider choosing a less material-intensive natural finish to complement the natural characteristics inherent in your wood doors and drawer fronts.
There are a few smaller plants and local shops attempting to provide cabinet products for those consumers who are sensitive to formaldehyde off-gassing, or just those who want to be better stewards of our earth. But Crystal is the one major American cabinet manufacturer who is again leading the way to sustainability in what was once a pretty unhealthy product.
I commend Jeff Hammer, Crystal's long-time President, and his staff for their efforts in this regard. It's a great product and getting better all the time.
Also, Linda Clark of Floorcraft in Burlingame, my favorite Crystal Dealer, tells me that they have put a large display of Crystal's Green Cabinets in their San Francisco showroom at 470 Bayshore Boulevard. Call first to see when Linda might be working there. You'll like her a lot.