Thursday, September 14, 2006

"It isn't easy being green."

Kermit the Frog, in his latest commercial says, "It isn't easy being green." Bridget A. Otto in the Thursday Homes & Gardens section of The Oregonian sympathizes:
Consumers like the idea that bamboo grows so quickly, thus being sustainable. But, ...some companies in China are pushing the bamboo bandwagon off a cliff by selling products made from plants harvested at three or four years. If left to grow 10 years, bamboo's density improves, giving it the characteristics that make it as durable as hardwoods for flooring....

So, if you have to replace that dented and scratched bamboo floor sooner, is your use of a sustainable product for naught?

If you buy furniture made from reclaimed wood, is it still green if it's been trucked here from North Carolina?

It's about balance, says Alisa Kane with Portland's Office of Sustainable Development.

"For me, it's making sure that what I was purchasing was durable, and the resources were respected and the people involved were respected," she says. "Ask the question: Where did it come from; why do I need it; will it last?

We know at Landfair Furniture + Design Gallery that being green is more than a color. One of our many encounters with "green" came in an interview with interior designer Marcie Harris in which she said:

My interpretation of Green Design is that designers and architects need to be educated about the 'lifecycle" of the products they specify. This is not only the recycling capability of products, but thinking about what it took to make the product in the first place. Obviously we can't evaluate everything - but if more pressure were put on manufacturers from designers and architects regarding "green design", I believe the industry would react accordingly. I have a client with a child that came down with environmental sickness after they moved into their new home. The off-gassing of VOC's from the various products (osb board, carpet glue etc.) was enough to keep her out of one whole year of high school. This was 8 years ago and things are improving - but it is still a huge concern.
Bev & Mike

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