The furniture finishing industry is somewhat renowned for its use of questionable chemicals and behind-the-curtain practices. At one point in time, craftsmen used natural finishes like oil and wax or shellac.
But somewhere along the line there was a movement towards more durable, highly engineered wood finishes.
While these advancements in technology created finishes that are more durable, easier to apply, and cheaper than the traditional alternatives, they have also added some concerns about environmental sustainability and toxicity.
Just check out the standard warning that the State of California requires on many of the most common finishes sold in the US today:
WARNING: This product is known to the State of California to cause birth defects and other reproductive issues.
This movement towards chemically engineered wood finishes has created enough concern among consumers that third party testing organizations have sprung up to evaluate the safety of these finishes. One of the most common standards for verifying the safety of wood finishes is GreenGuard Certification.
What is GreenGuard Certification?
GREENGUARD is a third-party testing organization run by Underwriters Laboratory (UL) that aims to reduce chemical and pollutant exposure in indoor environments by certifying products and materials that give off low chemical emissions. Its goal is to protect human health and improve quality of life by providing public resources for consumers to make educated decisions when it comes to what they are placing in their indoor spaces and the impact it can have on their health.
For people concerned about the potential health impacts of furniture and wood finishes, or for those with chemical sensitivities, GreenGuard Certification ensures a low level of VOCs and a smaller chemical footprint.
GREENGUARD certification is not only widely recognized in the United States, but it is also accepted by sustainable building programs and building codes worldwide.
What does it mean when something is GREENGUARD Certified?
GREENGUARD Certification helps identify healthier products for use in indoor spaces by providing a guarantee that a product or material will have minimal effect on the quality of air where it is used. If it is GREENGUARD certified, you are assured that it will release little to no chemical emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into indoor air. These chemical emissions are also commonly referred to as off-gassing.
What is GREENGUARD GOLD Certification?
GREENGUARD GOLD— previously known as the GREENGUARD Children & Schools Certification—enforces stricter air quality standards than the original GREENGUARD certification. It is an initiative to address the indoor air quality of where children spend the most time outside the home, such as daycares and schools. It’s referenced by both the Collaborative for High Performance Schools (CHPS) and the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Building Rating System.
Who makes GREENGUARD Certified Furniture?
Vermont Woods Studios is proud to carry GREENGUARD certified furniture from our craftsmen at Copeland Furniture and Lyndon Furniture. The lacquer finishes used by those workshops adhere to high standards for environmental sustainability and indoor air quality. We also offer furniture finished with linseed oil and tung oil from our other workshops. Learn more about our craftsmen and the different techniques employed by each workshop.
Looking for more GREENGUARD certified furniture? Try the UL SPOT Database—a free online tool for finding certified products for offices, hospitals, schools, homes, and more.
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