KCMA Backs CARB Standard

The Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturers Association (KCMA) announced its support for S.1660, legislation introduced in the U.S. Senate to adopt as a national standard the California Air Resources Board (CARB) controls on formaldehyde emissions from particleboard, hardwood plywood and medium density fiberboard panels.

Several other industry groups, the Sierra Club, steel workers union, and assorted housing organizations also support the bill. KCMA also supports efforts in Congress calling for the National Academy of Sciences to review the health effects of formaldehyde as they relate to domestically manufactured cabinets.

For years, many KCMA members have treated the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) workplace formaldehyde labeling level of 0.1 ppm as a de facto standard for cabinets even though the OSHA standard applies only to worker exposure and is lower than the formaldehyde composite wood levels allowed by HUD.

The KCMA’s Environmental Stewardship Program (ESP) began recognizing CARB compliant materials eight months ago. There now are over 150 certified companies and brands in the program which are listed on the www.GreenCabinetSource.org Web site.


Kohler and Lowe’s Named WaterSense Partners

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently named Kohler Co. of Kohler, Wis., WaterSense manufacturer partner of the year, and Lowe’s Companies, Inc. of Mooresville, N.C., was named WaterSense retailer partner of the year.

Cobb County Water System worked with Kohler, Lowe’s and other WaterSense partners to promote the state of Georgia’s first sales tax holiday on WaterSense labeled products.

Kohler earned the WaterSense label on 40 percent of its faucets and 25 percent of its toilets. They used mobile restrooms to showcase these products at events nationwide.

Lowe’s, one of the largest home improvement retailers in North America, trained more than 200,000 employees to promote WaterSense to customers at 1,650 stores.

Energy Efficiency

HVAC Makers Ink Agreement

Leading manufacturers of residential central air conditioners, furnaces and heat pumps recently signed a voluntary agreement with energy-efficiency advocacy organizations supporting new federal standards for those products. The agreement calls for regional efficiency standards to replace a quarter century of national standards, and it also recommends more stringent building code provisions for new construction.

The signatories agreed to submit their agreement jointly as a legislative proposal to Congress for inclusion in the energy legislation currently under consideration. The groups will also recommend that the Department of Energy promulgate a rule adopting the agreed-upon regions and efficiency standards.

Executives of the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI), the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE), the Alliance to Save Energy (Alliance), the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Northeast Energy Efficiency Partnerships (NEEP), the Appliance Standards Awareness Project (ASAP), the California Energy Commission (CEC), the Northwest Power and Conservation Council (NWPCC), and more than a dozen individual furnace and air conditioner manufacturers signed the agreement.

Social Responsibility

Whirlpool One of Top Companies

Whirlpool Corp. was named one of the top 50 U.S. companies for Social Responsibility by the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship and Reputation Institute. Based on a recent survey of U.S. consumers conducted by the Reputation Institute, Whirlpool earned a rating of 72.24, ranking it 23rd on the 2009 Boston College Corporate Social Responsibility Index (CSRI). The company ranked 32nd on the 2008 list.

Whirlpool and its employees also support several nonprofit organizations, including Habitat for Humanity International, Cook for the Cure, presented by KitchenAid, Instituto Consulado da Mulher (ICM), and the Boys and Girls Club. In 10 years of partnership with Habitat for Humanity International, Whirlpool has donated more than 100,000 ranges and Energy Star qualified refrigerators to new Habitat homes built in North America and activated more than 6,000 employee volunteers. Cook for the Cure, presented by KitchenAid, has raised more than $7 million globally to support the fight against breast cancer. The ICM program has positively impacted the lives of more than 25,000 low-income women living in Brazil. Whirlpool employees also donate hundreds of hours annually to the Boys and Girls Club.