It’s Easier Than Ever Being Green

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For years, the most relevant colors for kitchen and bath design firms have been black and red. Anyone who owns a business in this market knows that. It’s elementary, really: You strive to operate your business in the black and try just as hard to avoid red ink on your company’s profit-and-loss statement.

However, there’s a new color that’s becoming increasingly relevant to kitchen and bath professionals these days.

That color is green.

“Green” design, as you may have noticed, is garnering a lot of attention in the housing market, as an increasing amount of emphasis is being given to the benefits of designing and building in a safe, energy-efficient, sustainable, resource-responsible way.

In the past three months alone, Kitchen & Bath Design News has reported several significant developments related to green design. Among them:

  • News that no less than 27 cabinet companies have already been certified under the KCMA’s new Environmental Stewardship Program, which allows cabinet manufacturers and industry suppliers to voluntarily demonstrate their commitment to sound environmental practices, including air quality control, product and process resource management, environmental stewardship and community relations.
  • News that two key associations in the housing and code development community – the National Association of Home Builders and the International Code Council – will collaborate in an effort to bring uniformity to sustainable building practices through national standards for green home building.
  • News about a new study from the American Institute of Architects which found that, in order to address rapidly escalating home-energy costs, home-owners are reacting with a sharp increase in their preference for energy-efficient management systems and products – and are requesting that those products be incorporated into new and remodeled homes.

Kitchen and bath professionals, as well as product manufacturers, should be getting the message by now: Green design is here to stay as an important reality, a major imperative and a golden opportunity for the housing and kitchen/bath design communities.

There’s little question that even more attention will be paid to green design in the future. Similarly, there’s little question that industry standards will grow increasingly stringent when it comes to designing residential spaces that focus on homeowner safety, sustainability and minimal environmental impact.

Motivated by fears over bioterrorism and genetically-engineered foods, safety will surely be an increasing concern to kitchen consumers. Amid headlines about global warming and unstable energy prices, resource-responsible design will surely gain ground. As green design becomes mainstream, there will also no doubt be a continuing flood of information about the concepts and products involved in creating eco-friendly spaces.

Specifying energy-efficient appliances, water-saving faucets and energy-saving lighting fixtures will be an important component of intelligent kitchen and bath design. So will the application of sanitary work surfaces, water filtration systems, sound-absorbing materials, “green” cabinets, energy-control options and adequate ventilation. Similarly, kitchen and bath designers will increasingly be called upon to emphasize the reuse of materials through the design of convenient and efficient recycling centers.

The time to arm yourselves with information about green design is now. The time to position your company as a leader in this specialty is now, as well.

There’s an old Frank Sinatra song that says it’s not easy being green. Luckily, for kitchen and bath design professionals, it’s easier than ever now, given the resources that are being made available.

It’s also more important than ever, given the state of the planet and the need for all of us to do our small part to help preserve it.

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