New cabinets were built at a nearby shop, eliminating the need to transport manufactured cabinets cross country. Door faces are made of Lyptus, a brand name for a fast-growing eucalyptus hardwood raised on managed Brazilian plantations. The trees are planted in reclaimed rain-forest areas, and the plantations meet Brazil’s national sustainable forestry standards. "It is not an exotic wood from virgin rain forests, but a managed-growth wood," David explains. Cabinet interiors are built using non-formaldehyde plywood.
Countertops are IceStone, a product manufactured in Brooklyn, New York, containing 75 percent recycled glass and 25 percent concrete. Tints are added to color the material. Although David prefers using locally made materials to avoid fuel-consuming transportation, in this case he decided IceStone’s virtues outweighed the negative impact of cross-country shipping.
"IceStone represents, for me, a company that aims to encompass everything I teach my students in sustainable design: a truly eco material that does not compromise on design, produced by a company with high standards of ethics and social responsibility," David says. "I take my students to tour the factory every semester.’’ The material comes in a broad range of colors and is comparable in cost to mid- to high-end granite, he says.
Translucent backsplash tiles are made with recycled glass too. Because recycled glass tiles tend to be more costly than those made of virgin materials, David limited their use to a strip under the windows, along one side of the refrigerator, and around the cooktop. Stainless steel covers the backsplash behind the cooktop, coordinating with the stainless-steel built-in ovens, refrigerator, and other (energy-efficient, of course) appliances.
To view another kitchen in our GreenSpace series, click here.