HomePortfolio Blogs

Archive for March, 2010

Thursday, March 25th, 2010

The Wonderful World of Wool Felt

Written by

So how many of you remember working with wool felt when you were a kid?  The bright colors, the shapes carefully cut out with those dull scissors, and all the glue stuck to your hand as you tried to gently apply just one more piece to your grade school master work?

KokoCo autumn collection

Well, wool felt has come a long way baby! (more…)

Thursday, March 11th, 2010

What Does FSC Certified Really Mean?

Written by

When you first decide to dive into the world of sustainable design, the type and number of certifications and systems you need to learn can seem overwhelming.  And then there are all those acronyms – LEED, ANSI, FSC, SFI, USGBC, MSDS, VOC, HAP, IAQ, SCS, ICMYC.  OK, that last one was mine.  It stands for “It Can Make You Crazy”.  Anyway, some of these are certifications, and others represent standards or organizations.  When it comes to certifications like FSC though, how do you know whether it’s important or not?

FSC logo on log

Essentially there are three types of certifications.  “First party” certifications are the type a manufacturer gives to themselves.  I refer to these as window dressing, because they may look nice, but they mean absolutely nothing if you want to know what’s inside.  The next level is “second party”.  These are where an industry trade group gets together to create a certification for some aspect of their product type, and then self-polices to make sure the standard is met.  While some of these are useful for determining the environmental and social ramifications of a purchase, they are only as good or as stringent as the trade group feels like making them.

The final type of certification, and by far the most useful and relevant, is “third party”.  This is where the rubber meets the road.  Third party certifiers are neither manufacturers, nor trade groups.  Instead they are independent entities, with specifically defined standards, and independent testing or procedures.  Because they are not associated with the manufacturers or material sources they certify, there is little opportunity for bias or greenwashing.


One of the best examples of a third party certifier is the Forest Stewardship Council.  Founded in 1992 in response to the UN Conference on Sustainable Development, the FSC has since managed to certify over 105 million hectares (almost 260 million acres) of sustainably managed forest around the world.  Becoming certified is a difficult process, requiring a great deal of documentation, inspection and effort.  But the result is that once a company becomes certified, they can truly claim to be sustainable. (more…)

Thursday, March 4th, 2010

The Beauty of Recycled Glass

Written by

Every year in the United States we generate over 26 billion pounds of glass, which works out to about 85 pounds per person.  Somebody must be drinking a whole lot of Grape Nehi!

Luckily, glass is an almost perfectly sustainable material.  It is manufactured primarily from sand, one of our most easily obtainable and abundant resources. It emits no harmful chemicals, doesn’t absorb toxins and can be used in many different applications.  Best of all is that in most forms it can be easily and endlessly recycled.  The energy used to produce products from recycled glass is also generally lower than that used to create new glass.

In the end though, it is the beauty of recycled glass that makes it such an ideal material.

The jewel like qualities of multi-colored glass really shine in this countertop by Vetrazzo.  A leader in sustainability, Vetrazzo not only offers a beautiful alternative to granite, but they do so in an amazing array of colors, with a product that is 70% recycled glass! (more…)